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Written by Guest Author on December 16, 2021 Share on

Guide to Rental Cars on Road Trips

Sometimes there are vacations where renting a car is necessary. The airport you landed at maybe an hour or so away from your destination, or you’ll need a car regularly during this specific trip. Your trip may be spent on the road with only a rental car as you drive from one location to another cross country. What’s so great about rental cars is that they can be rented in one state and dropped off in another. Of course, you may be wondering if these kinds of excursions are budget-friendly. This post answers all your questions about road trips and rental cars when it comes to costs and advantages.

The Cost of a Rental Car

Let’s talk about the general costs of renting a car because there are things you should know before stepping up to the rental counter:

  • Car size – The bigger the car, the more it will cost to rent. Car rental companies often break their vehicles down into classes, with economy being the most budget-friendly -hence the name. The cost to rent vehicles in the luxury class will be much higher.
  • Rental period – Rental companies charge by the day the car is in your possession. Some companies may put a cap on the number of days for a discounted rate.
  • Booked in advance – There are discounts granted to those that book their rentals ahead of time and arrive at the scheduled time.
  • Dropping off the rental at a different location – While dropping off the rental car at another of the company’s locations is super convenient, it may cost an additional fee. Drivers that return the car to its original location aren’t charged additional fees.
  • Skipping on the prepaid gas – If you’re doing a road trip, it’s best to estimate gas costs and fill the tank yourself with no prepaid plan from the rental company. This is an unnecessary premium for a lot of renters.

Where to Rent Cars

While you probably have places in mind to go to for your rental car needs, this section lists where to go:

  • Not airports – The airport may have been the first place you had in mind. But did you know airport rent-a-car locations charge additional tax? There may even be additional fees.
  • Suburban locations – City rent-a-car locations usually have higher rates than those in suburban neighborhoods. Some of their rates go for half the amount bigger locations do.
  • Dealerships – Dealerships, even the ones close to your home, allow car rentals. You may also have more variety when looking at cars at a dealership. Some even offer benefits like unlimited mileage and roadside assistance which rental companies will never do.

Why You Should Rent a Car For a Road Trip

Let’s look at some of the benefits of renting a vehicle:

  • Your car isn’t racking up miles – Avoiding pricey repairs and general wear and tear are two of the most convincing reasons to rent a car. The costs of renting a vehicle for a road trip may be great at first, but the savings over time will be worth it. If you lease your automobile and have mileage limitations, this is especially important.
  • Drive different and unique cars – If you normally drive a vehicle that can only accommodate small children, it may be necessary to use a larger automobile than you would for everyday driving. Or, maybe you want to try out a more luxurious car with higher performance for a limited time. Rental cars give you that chance.
  • Find a car for certain weather conditions – You can rent a car that corresponds to the weather of your destination or trip. For example, if you’re driving in the winter, you can find a car with snow tires.
  • Can drive cross-country – Take advantage of the unlimited mileage some rental companies offer with a cross-country trip.
  • It can be cheaper than flying – As mentioned before, some rental companies will cut their customers a deal when they rent their cars for a long period of time. In every instance, renting can be cheaper than plane tickets.

Is Insurance For Rental Cars Necessary?

Rental companies offer their own insurance to customers in the form of a collision damage waiver with a daily cost of around $35. This waives the majority of damages except for tires and negligence. But if you’re making a long trip, then it can get pricey.

However, if you have full auto coverage on your personal car, it can carry over to the rental vehicle. This grants you protections, like comprehensive and collision coverage. If you only have liability insurance, you can purchase more coverage from the rental car company. You never want to be on the line for rental car repairs as they are usually newer models with modern, expensive parts.

Your credit card can also be used as insurance for the rental car. There’s usually a program you can enroll in with your card provider. They will either provide primary or secondary coverage, depending on the company. Ask your provider today if you are entitled to any rental car insurance. The only stipulations are that there may be certain areas where their coverage doesn’t apply.