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Here Are The Latest Car Rental Protocols During A Pandemic

If you need to rent a car, whether it’s to haul something large from a store, or for a road trip, here are some tips to ensure you stay safe amidst a pandemic

A woman wears a mask while driving a car

You may be wondering if it’s safe to rent a car at this time, and what precautions you should take. The coronavirus is predominantly spread by respiratory particles, so the risk from touching surfaces is low if the vehicle has been properly cleaned and if passengers avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes. Indeed, the greatest risk is likely from sitting next to an infected passenger, so avoid unnecessary trips with anyone outside of your household.

Cleaning protocols

Choose low-touch transactions where possible, such as online check-in at the car rental agency, to reduce or eliminate in-person interactions. For your peace of mind, bring along disinfectant wipes for commonly handled areas, such as door handles, the steering wheel and gear shift, and use an aerosol disinfectant spray on the seats.

While the car may have been thoroughly disinfected before you pick it up, you’ll be grateful for those wipes and sprays when you stop as gas stations, rest stops and restaurants. Use hand sanitizer (with at least 60 per cent alcohol, according to the CDC) after touching gas pumps and parking meters, and pay with a credit or debit card where possible.

Vehicle ventilation

If you’re concerned about aerosols suspended in the air, you can improve ventilation in the vehicle by driving with the windows open or opening the air vents (if it’s not -40°C, of course) to keep fresh air circulating—or wear a mask.

Car rental protocols

Most car rental agencies rolled out rigorous cleaning and disinfecting protocols at the start of the pandemic, which include sanitizing vehicles after each rental. Enterprise Holdings, for example, has a Complete Clean Pledge for its vehicles and branch locations (customers will see a notification inside their rented vehicle confirming it has been thoroughly cleaned).

Curbside rentals

Enterprise is also offering curbside rentals, as well as delivery at some locations, to minimize foot traffic in branches, and is moving toward more permanent low- and no-touch experiences for customers, such as “show your pass and go.

Before you book, check the car rental agency’s cancellation policy for pre-paid rentals. If you decide to cancel your trip at the last minute, make sure you’re covered with a no-fee cancellation policy.

Get more with CAA

CAA Members receive exclusive pricing when they book a vehicle with Enterprise by calling 1-844-557-1699 or going online. Plus they can earn up to 10 CAA Dollars®, as well as free unlimited mileage and a free infant or child safety seat.