There are many reasons why you would need to rent a car, and not all of them involve vacation travel. Regardless of why you have to rent a car, one thing you will notice when looking at car rentals is the disclaimer ‘or similar’. This seldom includes any form of explanation, so you’ll be forgiven for wondering what the term means, and what you can expect when picking up your car rental.
What Does ‘or similar’ Mean When Renting a car?
Car rental companies offer cars across a range of categories, such mini, compact, standard, luxury, and even vans and trucks. Within each category you can expect them to have a number of different makes and models, but all with very similar specifications. While you think you are booking a Toyota Corolla with automatic transmission and power steering, what you are actually booking is an automatic sedan that can accommodate up to 4 people, and has power steering. The ‘or similar’ disclaimer generally means that the car rental company will provide you with a car that at least matches the specifications you saw when booking. It won’t always be the same make or model, but all other specifications should be the same, or better.
Why do car Rental Companies do This?
Car rental companies source their vehicles from a number of different manufacturers. It would be difficult for them to know in advance which make or model would be in demand, so it is easier to categorise them according to size, features, and specifications. These include the number of doors a car has, whether it has an automatic or manual transmission, what fuel the car uses, and whether or not it includes air conditioning.
The availability of a particular make and model is not only influenced by demand, but also by cleaning, servicing, repairing, and even replacing cars periodically. In practice car rental companies do their best to provide you with the car you thought you were booking, but when they can’t, you will always be allocated a vehicle from the same class, with the same – or better – features and specifications.
What if you have Specific Needs?
Some car rental companies may offer a facility to guarantee a specific make and model, but this isn’t common, and usually costs more. However, most car rental companies will do their best to accommodate you if you have specific needs, but you would need to advise them of this in advance. Contact their customer service department before you make a booking, and discuss your needs with them. They will then tell you on whether or not they can accommodate you, and what steps you need to follow next.
Whatever the reasons are for you looking into new and used car rentals, the process isn’t difficult at all, especially when you know what to expect when seeing the ‘or similar’ disclaimer. And when you have specific needs, it is always better to discuss these in advance to avoid being disappointed, or stuck without a vehicle when you actually need it.