Renting a Car, from Life in the USA: The Complete Guide for Immigrants and Americans

Life in the USA is a complete guide to American life for immigrants and Americans. All materials on this site Copyright © Elliot Essman 2014. All rights reserved.    Home    Back    Next

Life in the USA
Transportation
The Automobile

Renting a Car
Renting a car is a fairly straightforward procedure, but it is virtually impossible to do without a major credit card. Prices and deals vary from company to company and region to region. Weekly rates are often more economical than daily rates. A number of Internet sites now make it easy to compare prices for automobile rentals. In many cases, these sites allow you to save money when you purchase a rental car at the same time as a hotel room, an airline flight, or both.

When you rent a car, you will need your credit card and your valid driver’s license. Most rental companies try to get you to agree to pay a small daily amount to cover “collision damage waiver” so you will not be responsible if the car is damaged. This might be $8 or $10 a day, but that will be three times what the real insurance costs the company if you divide the annual amount by 365. The rental companies make money on these charges. Your credit card might include this insurance coverage if you charge the car rental on their card, allowing you to say “no” and save these extra charges. Your own private automobile insurance may also cover you.

Another cost to watch for in renting a car is gasoline. If you accept the rental car company’s option to leave the car empty, you will actually be paying more per gallon of gasoline than if you purchased it on your own. This option is convenient, of course, since you will not need to fill the tank up immediately before returning the car.

Another factor is mileage cost. In the extremely competitive world of rental cars, many companies offer unlimited mileage, but you need to make sure.



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