Several car rental companies heatedly compete with each other for
business and leisure car rental customers in the USA and popular overseas
destinations. As a matter of fact, more than 1.6 million vehicles
now make up the rental fleet.
The rental car business has developed into a $15 billion dollar industry,
and standard car rental rates continue to rise. So how do we ensure
that we get the best deal possible when renting a car? Look for
special packages and deals on weekend rentals, off-season vacation
rentals, and category upgrades. Also consider your make and model
preferences and mileage requirements when renting a vehicle. Auto
rental companies with convenient on-airport locations will often charge
higher rates than smaller companies with off-airport locations, so
consider this price versus convenience trade-off when you reserve
a car. As a courtesy, most car rental firms offer free local maps
and driving directions to their customers. Some companies will even
deliver a rental car to your home or office.
To negotiate the best price on your rental vehicle, avoid calling the
company's 800 number, which sends you to its national reservation
system. While the national reservation system can see inventory
and quote rates, they are not able to negotiate a better deal. To
negotiate the best deal possible, interact at the local level.
When renting a car, be sure you have a valid, current driver's license
and ask your auto insurance company what coverage your insurance policy
provides for rental cars. Purchase optional insurance coverage
from the rental car agency if necessary. Additional car rental
restrictions or fees may apply if you are under 25 years old. Most
companies also charge fees if the car is returned late or with less fuel
than the rental agreement specifies.
Finally, make sure you don't pay for things you don't need. While
the car rental agent may make it seem like additional insurance and other
protection services are needed, in many cases these things are already
covered by your own automobile insurance or, to some extent, by the credit
card used for the rental. It's a good idea to talk to your auto
insurance agent before buying any of these extras.
Browse the international and regional auto rental firms and reservation
services listed below, so you can make an informed car rental choice when
reserving a vehicle for your business or vacation travel.