I have never rented a car before and need help determining how to find a deal. I have seen things like $56 a day including tax. What does this actually include. Do I just have to pay for the gas or are there other fees. Do you have personal experience with a more affordable company? Is it cheaper if you rent at certain times? I have not been home in 5 years and am trying to find a way to finagle it.
Read the fine lines of what those rates include. Typically they do not include coverages.
How long are you going to be at home?
Check outside the airport, but you would need a major credit card verses a debit card. Some people are not aware that even though their debit card with Visa/Matercard logo is NOT a credit card. It is just a debit card.
Coverage are "insurances", are perday charges and expensive. There are pros and cons to buying them. Short term rentals if you are in an accident you can just walk away. The longer term might not make since. Check your major credit card and regular car insurance to see if they will cover you.
I've never rented a car, but I'd also carefully read all the fine print to make sure there aren't restrictions on how many miles you drive. I know when renting a moving truck (uhaul) you pay a flat rate for "in city" but if you go over the allotted mileage you pay a certain amount per mile... I don't know if rental cars work that way or not. Just something to think about.
I have always found Enterprise to be the cheapest.
Also, check your credit card that you will be using to see if it will provide insurance for rental cars and if so, which?
Remeber the loss damage waiver and the other insurance - together they will add $25 or so a day. I always look at the quotes online and double it to get the total including tax.
Leila, mama to Eleanor (10/08) and Emmett (4/10)
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When I didn't have a car (for a couple of years) I rented from Enterprise for trips to visit family. They were the most reasonable company (allowed me to cross borders w/out issue: other companies had some complicated thing), good prices, free mileage (maybe 200 miles @ no extra cost). They also have a pick up service, they will pick you up at your home or work and bring you to the rental company.
Call and get the details. Price per day, mileage, insurance. Ask about extra services they offer. When you rent a car, you want to return the car with the same amount of gas that was in the car at the beginning of your journey. Its less expensive for you to fill it up yourself, then the fee they will charge you for refilling. When you get a car, you do a walk around with the attendant and make note of any existing damage (dents, scratches, etc) so when you return the car and it is checked, all is documented.
In general, renting on the weekend will be much cheaper than renting during the week. Renting "off airport" will be much cheaper than renting AT the airport. Fees do not include gas - you pay for what you use. If you get the car with half a tank of gas in it, you should return it that way. Fees do not include insurance. What happens if you get in a wreck and it's your fault? In general Insurance from the rental company will be most expensive. Insurance somewhere else (through your CC or some kind of online thing) may be cheaper. You definitely want some kind of insurance.
Many Enterprise offices will work with you if you don't have a major CC - like only a debit card or cash. Call ahead and talk to them or just stroll into an office to collect some information. If it's not busy (like Monday morning or Friday afternoon) they should have some time to walk you through how everything works. Weekend specials are usually something like noon on Friday or later and due back by 8 am on Monday or something like that.
Renting is most expensive in the summer when kids are out of school and families rents vehicles for trips. Every once in awhile a city has a big event (balloon race or convention) and then rates shoot up. If you can plan the trip, work with the rental company to make sure it isn't during a time when their demand (and rates) will be sky high.