Renting a car - tips and tricks - READ FIRST POST FOR CUMULATIVE TIPS
Please share your tips/tricks. I'll add the best to this post to have a consolidated list.
TO KEEP THIS THREAD AS CONCISE AND USEFUL AS POSSIBLE, PLEASE DON'T ASK FOR ADVICE ON A SPECIFIC RENTAL. READ THE TIPS AND APPLY THEM. IF YOU NEED ADVICE ON A PARTICULAR SITUATION. PLEASE START A NEW THREAD. THANK YOU FOR YOUR CO-OPERATION.
PRICE SHOPPING TIPS
- If you are renting from an airport, use Orbitz to find which rental agencies are at terminal and off terminal (I use Orbitz because Consumer Reports said it gave the best rates but that was a while ago). Note that off terminal rates are usually cheaper so decide whether you want convenient or cheaper. Or maybe you can get both! You may be able to get the cheaper rate by renting off-terminal but actually return it to the terminal without any additional cost.
- After you've done some initial looking and find a rate that could be acceptable and can be cancelled, book it. Then go shopping until you find a rate you're really happy with. You can book something new and cancel your previous booking as often as you like. Just make sure you don't book a rate that can't be cancelled.
- Register your rental at www.autoslash.com. It will automatically monitor your rental and look for lower rentals. golfer 29 also advises that when you get an email that a lower cost rental is available, go to the rental companies website to see if something even lower is available. Thanks to golfer29
- Check out the websites of rental agencies directly. They OFTEN have rates that are better than you will see on the Expedia's and Orbitz type of websites.
- Try out discount codes. There are a few threads in Hot Deals that have discount codes that can get you great deals.
- Check out rates on Hotwire. Not sure if you can guarantee a rental in terminal, but you can be sure it will be a quality rental agency.
- Consider Name your own price on Priceline. But first go to BetterBidding.com to find out the rates others have won. You can be very surprised at how cheap rates get. Often cheaper than you would consider bidding.
- Look for discount codes on Fatwallet. Oftentimes, they have links to Mastercard/Visa coupons that have saves us at least 50%. Thanks to jacksorbetta
- Keep those pesky credit card inserts with rental car coupons. Usually have long expiry dates, and can be stacked with current promos. Thanks to jacksorbetta
- Book early. 30 advance booking can have substantial savings, no deposit required, and upgrades or free nights. Thanks to jacksorbetta
- kramerz80 recommends http://www.carrentalsavers.com/
You should make sure you're covered for liability AND collision/damage insurance.
- Note that CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) and LDW (Loss Damage Waiver) are the same thing: they cover damage the the car but not liability
- Usually liability can/will be covered through your home auto insurance policy. Make sure it is.
- Collision can be covered by your credit card. Make sure it is. If you are relying on this make sure you understand all the terms of YOUR card BEFORE you rent. Terms do vary by credit card. For example, my card requires a police report if your damage is over $1,000 (which isn't much) and you have to report it within 48 hours.
- If collision isn't covered by your credit card, goodzyk says you may be able to add it to your home auto insurance policy for an annual fee of about $50
- If you are relying on your credit card insurance and/or your home auto insurance make sure it applies in the country you are travelling to. They may only apply to certain countries or exclude certain countries.
- Here is a link to car rental insurance jargon
Rental companies monitor the arrival/departure time of cars very closely. This means that if you are looking for a car at 2pm and there aren't many cars available, you may see a high price. But if more cars are coming in at 3pm the price may be much lower. So you may want to vary your pickup time when you are doing searches.
It is always a good idea to include your air travel information for two reasons:
- If your flight is scheduled to arrive near their closing time and arrives late they will wait for you.
- If you don't pick up your car at the time you said you would, they could cancel your reservation. Then when you do show up they will book a new rental for you at horribly high rates. If you have your air travel info entered this won't happen. This actually happened to the guy I was talking to and his new rate was $180/day. Fortunately he noticed and they fixed it back to his booked rate.
- Hotwire rentals are apparently held for 24 hours (thanks shann)
NEVER TRIED THIS ONE BUT I recall reading it in another RFD thread to get a larger car/minivan rental cheaper: Rent a small car via Priceline. Call a local office for that rental car company and say you'd like to upgrade your rental. They will/may only charge you the differential between the rates. You can always do this at the point of pickup (you know how they often ask you if you'd like to upgrade for just $X a day) but if you aren't a risk taker you might be able to do it before you go.
Some car rental threads in Hot Deals:
HERTZ Car Rental Discount Code & Coupons(50% OFF/Free #1 Gold/$40 off)
Avis SUV rental: Intermediate: $159/week, $22/weekend day. Standard: $169/$25
Budget rental: Car (as low as)$17/weekend day, $119/week. SUV (as low as)$22/$139