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How To Cut Your Car Rental Bill Print E-mail
(6 votes, average 4.67 out of 5)
Travel - Getting There
Written by the frugal nomad   
Thursday, 15 October 2009 14:13
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How To Cut Your Car Rental Bill
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Geographic Differences
Off Airport for a Deal
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I spent ten years as a road warrior going from one consulting job to another. All in all, I probably signed over a hundred car rental agreements. There’s probably no single industry that has such huge variances in prices for the same essential product or service. The tab for car rentals vary wildly depending on how you book it, which rental agency you’re dealing with, how long you’re renting it for, whether you’re buying insurance, whether you’re driving it one way or dropping it off where you picked it up, whether you have an AARP or an AAA membership or some kind of coupon or special offer code. And, of course, there’s always the supply and demand factor - which can vary by season or by the day of the week. Even the pick-up and drop-off times might make a huge difference in what you pay. Any kind of special event like a Super Bowl will send rates soaring. On top of that, the city you happen to be travelling to will radically effect your daily rental rates.

So you have to work all the angles to get the best deal possible. If there is one consumer product or service that mandates comparison shopping - it has to be car rentals.

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glenn  - try renting away from the airport |2010-10-18 04:28:34
Car rentals at the airport add various airport fees. For long stays (we vacation in Fort Lauderdale for 10 days every year)it often pays to take a taxi to a nearby car rental site off the airport premises.
LeanLifeCoach  - |2009-11-09 22:04:47
12 year warrior here...Last year I rented a car (personal trip) with Amex and did not get extra insurance. Of course I had a wreck that was my fault. Amex covered cost of damage to rental. My insurance covered other car. I had to pay for loss of use to rental agency. 10 days at full rates... ouch!!!

However, still not convinced insurance is worth cost. I rent almost every week for work. Over 12 years of work rentals with no accidents.

If I had always paid for insurance it would have cost much more than 10 days loss of use.
gman  - credit card insurance..... beware |2009-10-25 13:00:39
just be careful that you dont rent a truck either Uhaul or through a car rental agency! most of the time they do not cover truck or van rentals only cars. Some even exclude premuim rentals such as convertables or Prius unless they upgrade you for free......
Omiewon  - Great point using certain credit cards |2009-10-20 22:07:59
I have the insurance coverage also when using a Platinum MasterCard. This is for damage to the vehicle. That coupled with your normal insurance should cover you. One of the first cars I ever rented was broken into when we parked it on the street -- $1,100 worth of damage and every penny of it was paid for by the credit card insurance. So not only was I a "dead beat" by paying my bill in full every month, but I was costing them on the rental insurance too!
Some of the rental agencies will try to pressure you to take their insurance. This was really prevalent in the 90s but some of the states went after the car rental companies. I recently had UHaul give me a hard time and verify my insurance coverage over the phone. Never had that happen in 10 years but I guess they are looking for revenues anywhere they can find it.
Yasmin104  - Car Rental Advice |2009-10-20 11:18:57
Great advice.

As an Expat living outside US, whenever I am home I charge my car rental to my AMEX card. That way I have insurance coverage by AMEX without paying the extra charge.

Probably similar deal with other Cards.
thirdculturekid  - Who knew? |2009-10-19 21:57:18
Wow. This article was a real eye-opener for me. I'll definitely do more shopping around and read the fine print on the insurance before I rent a car. Thanks so much!
lakeview  - Great summary of what I have experienced |2009-10-19 19:47:32
Great synopsis. Its best to decline most of the add-ons that can really cost you. Also, the smallest vehicle idea is spot on. They frequently overbook them, and you get a bigger vehicle at the lower price. Its really best to use one of the travel site to search mutiple companies. Happy travels.
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