A car rental or car hire company, rents cars for short periods of time, generally ranging from a few hours to a few weeks, for a fee.
They usually have numerous local branches, which allow you to return a vehicle to a different location. They are primarily located near airports or busy city areas and most have a website allowing online reservations.
Whether you're planning a road trip or need to rent a car when you land in your destination, there is no reason to pay outrageous daily rates for your rental. There are plenty of deals to be had this year, and knowing the right tips can help you score the best of the best. Plus, gas prices are pretty unpredictable this year, so it's even more important for travelers try to save as much as they can on the rental to help offset what's happening at the pump.
How to save on car rentals:
**Reserve now, and shop opaque later. One of our favorite tips to get the best deal on car rentals is to find a great retail rate now and reserve it. However, as you get closer to your travel date be sure to check sites like Hotwire.com to see if any last-minute, discounted rates have become available. If there are better options, you can always cancel your original reservation (which is free to do) and book the discounted rate. Like hotels and airlines, car rental agencies often have plenty of cars left unsold and offer them to sites like Hotwire.com to sell at incredibly low prices – as little as $11.95 a day.
**Consider smaller agencies that have more flexibility with pricing. By searching on car aggregator sites like Car Rentals.com! you not only see the prices of the bigger agencies, but you also get results from smaller companies such as Fox, USave and PaylessCar.com.
Sometimes these agencies can net you some big savings because they have to be more competitive with prices to draw business away from the big guys. However, with a smaller fleet of cars, these deals can disappear quickly, especially during high-demand times.
**Check out off-airport rental locations. Airport fees and taxes in some locations can really drive up the final price of your car rental, so it's best to shop both on and off-airport locations in order to see where the low prices really are after you total up the costs.
Scroll below to see the latest Car Rental Specials
Car rental companies are usually frequented by travellers who are out of town but they can be used if you have had an accident and your car is out of action. The companies have a wide selection of vehicles ranging from small cars to big family size, ready to fit the whole gang in.
Car rentals are subject to many conditions which vary from one brand to another. The vehicle must be returned in a good condition and must not exceed a maximum driven distance, otherwise extra fees may be incurred. Additionally, some companies set a minimum age for the vehicle driver, which in some cases is as high as 25, even in countries where the minimum legal age to hold a driver's license is much lower. In all cases a valid, current driver's license is required in order to rent a vehicle. These days a lot of the cars have GPS technology and you can also rent Hybrid vehicles.
The vast majority of car rental companies require the use of a credit card to make it easier for them to trace a person should they attempt to steal a car, or to charge additional fees at will if a defect is later found with the car.
It is typical when renting a car, to be offered various forms of extra insurance and/or damage waivers as an optional extra at additional cost. There are several types of coverage:
**Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) – sometimes also referred to as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - covers the costs of damage to the rental vehicle in the event of an accident. In some countries the purchase of LDW covers all costs after an "excess" fee has been paid (e.g. all costs are covered after the first $500). Often a "Super" insurance product may be available which makes this excess amount zero. Note that LDW/CDW coverage is not insurance and does not offer the same coverage as a damage insurance policy.
**Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) – a product often sold in the USA which provides coverage in the event of an accident causing bodily injury or property damage to someone other than the renter and passengers.
**Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) – covers medical costs and accidental death for the renter and passengers in the event of an accident during the rental.
**Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) – insures against risk of loss or damage to the personal belongings of the renter (and sometimes the members of the renter's family while traveling with the renter) during the period of the rental.
**Excess Insurance – When a car is hired in the UK, Ireland, Europe, Africa, New Zealand, Australia and most of the Middle and Far East, CDW, Theft and Third Party Liability are generally included in the car rental price. There is almost always an Excess (also referred to as Super CDW, Non Waiver or Deductible) on the CDW and Theft portions of the rental. The Excess can range from about $500 to $1,600 and is the portion of the loss that that the renter is responsible for, regardless of which supplemental insurance / waiver products have been purchased. Excess insurance is a secondary insurance (only in place with the CDW and SLI cover) and provides coverage to the renter for the excess amount. The majority of car-rental companies in Europe will sell this cover as a 'top-up' insurance to cover the excess on their standard damage and theft insurance. Hirers should be aware that not only can this work out quite expensive, it is likely to exclude cover for damage to the windscreen, bodywork, roof, tyres or undercarriage leaving the hirer of the vehicle liable to pay out if damaged. There is however, another insurance alternative that can reduce these risks and costs.
Specialist excess protection insurance from a number of other insurers can offer excess protection, much broader coverage and may include cover for those areas often excluded. In the event that the vehicle is damaged or stolen, the rental company will charge your credit card for the excess amount and you then claim for reimbursement on your vehicle hire excess protection policy.
If you are looking for a rental car while you are on Vacation, I have put together a list of just some of the car rental companies out there. It should make your job of searching a bit easier, instead of having to go from website to website. Also below, are current specials available at some of the companies. They will help stretch your vacation budget a bit more. Just click on a banner or text link for more information.
Some of the above content is courtesy of Wikipedia and Hotwire.com.