When most people think rental cars, transportation during a vacation or business trip probably comes to mind. However, there are many occasions when someone may decide to use a rental car for daily affairs or a special road trip, such as:
- Avoiding penalties on a leased vehicle. Aside from vacationing, you can use a rental car any time that you don't want to put high mileage on your own vehicle. That makes a rental especially useful for people who are currently leasing their vehicles. A leased vehicle typically has a very limited mileage of no more than 15,000 miles a year. Some people can accumulate this type of mileage in just a few months if they travel a lot. So, putting those miles on a rental actually saves them money as they’ll spend less on penalties incurred by driving a leased vehicle.
- Making an incredible first impression. Another use for a rental car may be to impress a date or family members at a special event.
- Needing short-term transportation between two vehicles. You may also want to rent a vehicle when you are between vehicles. Whether your car is in the shop, down for the count, or was just totaled in an accident, it makes sense to rent a vehicle because you can patiently sort through your options before jumping into a big commitment on a new vehicle.
How to Reserve a Rental Car
You have plenty of options available to you when it comes to reserving rentals. They include:
- Online or through an app. It is best to reserve your vehicle online using websites or apps for unmatched convenience. If you need to cancel or alter the reservation in any manner, you can instantly. Usually, you just need to simply provide contact info, a payment method, and choose a vehicle. Then, you’ll have to choose the pick-up and drop-off locations and times. It is always better to reserve ahead of time—this guarantees availability and typically locks in better rates.
- In-person reservations. You can also stop in at any franchise location and rent the vehicle, on the spot, to take that day or to reserve for another day by providing the same info.
Standard Rental Rates
You can rent a brand-new vehicle at exceptionally low rates; this is especially true if you have your own insurance coverage. If you rent a vehicle and buy the daily insurance, it may cost four dollars or more a day but it is well worth it if you are taking your vehicle in inclement weather or dirt roads. Of course, some locations and times of the year increase the prices for a rental car. It is all supply and demand economics, after all.
Prices also increase with the expense and size of the vehicle. This is because the rental agency has to calculate the depreciation that each vehicle incurs if they expect to make a profit. The vehicles are resold to dealerships and individuals after they have reached a full-service life and are no longer brand-new. This can be in just 12 months of use. Don’t worry, though; because rental companies refresh their inventory frequently, renters receive a high-quality experience.
Major Rental Agencies
Hertz, Thrifty, Budget, Avis, Enterprise, National, Alamo, and Sixt are some of the largest rental companies. Renting from them allows the possibility of taking a one-way rental and drop-off for an additional fee. Enterprise owns Alamo, National, and the Enterprise franchises, making them the largest rental company.
How to Find Rental Car Discounts
Saving money on rentals might be easier than many would think. Some rental car agencies offer programs for frequent drivers. By accumulating points, you can eventually put them towards a free rental. In other cases, you can find coupons online for rental car agencies or in various free circulars that are found at rest stops along the highways. There are even times when you can negotiate a deal with the car rental agency if you let them pick the vehicle. Never be afraid to ask for a discount, either; you might be surprised at how accommodating some rental agencies can be.