Advice on $29/day rental car
August 28, 2006 8:54 PM   Subscribe

Rental Cars: Who gives the most bang for my buck at $29/day insurance rental car coverage?

My car got banged up and the other guy is reimbursing me for a $29/day rental car while the repairs go on. Being pretty foreign to this whole rental car thing, do I just pick one of the big-name rental places at random, or is there more of an art to it?

I've heard they provide some sort of deal or something for insurance claims. Is that true? If so, what sort of deal, and what do I need to say? Is that moot given that I have to pay for this directly, and get reimbursed later?

Am I going to have problems being 23 (<25 y.o.)? In Los Angeles?
posted by sdis to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
Oh yeah, I need to get it around 11am on Wednesday. Is the short notice going to make this more difficult?
posted by sdis at 8:55 PM on August 28, 2006

first of all yes, you will have to pay extra because you are under 25. in LA, you should expect $10/day. they might also require you to get the full insurance coverage. bring your own insurance papers with you and call them before you show up so you are absolutely certain you are covered. depending on the location, you might have to argue a bit.

secondly, do not go to the airports. all locations will screw you if you just walk in but LAX, long beach, burbank locations will charge you higher rates. try calling the torrance location of dollar or a neighborhood enterprise location and ask if they have a shop rate. tell them what's going on and see if they can beat anything you found online. dollar is pretty decent if you return the car an hour or two later than expected, enterprise varies by location. hertz et all will charge you a full extra day if you are a single minute late. make sure the tank is full or they will charge you an outrageous rate to top it off.

thirdly - try the usual online sites. travelocity, expedia, orbitz. priceline doesn't really offer discounts on rental cars.

if you have $29 to spend, expect to take a hit. this will barely cover your costs and only if you are lucky. you will end up with a dodge neon or something like that. expect hand-crank windows if you go to enterprise. dollar might be a bit better here. if you go to a small location and they don't have your car, you might get lucky and end up with an intermediate size car.

you will need a credit card and you should look into weekly rates. the coming weekend being a holiday (if I am not mistaken) will make this a lot worse though. a lot of places will be out of cars.

last but not least: avoid budget. I have heard horrible stories about them in LA.

sorry you have to go through this. I know how LA is when you're ride is down.
posted by krautland at 9:10 PM on August 28, 2006

short notice should not be too much of a problem. if you do make a reservation online though print it out and bring it with you. compare the numbers before signing!
posted by krautland at 9:11 PM on August 28, 2006

Find out if the shop that's fixing your car has a relationship with a rental place. When we had our car in the body shop after an accident, they got us a rental car that was priced right at the reimbursement rate. All we had to do was sign the papers.

If that fails, call your insurance co/the other person's insurance co (depending on who's paying) and get them to work out the rental situation for you. But keep a close eye on the total amount of time you're allowed to keep the car - we ended up a few hundred out of pocket on that one due to a misunderstanding.
posted by cabingirl at 9:21 PM on August 28, 2006

look for a local rental shop: rent a wreck or whatever. I've gotten cars for $10/day from those places.
posted by fshgrl at 9:31 PM on August 28, 2006

When I was in this situation, my insurance company sent me to Enterprise, who rented me a Mazda3 for $29 / day. It was a special insurance rate or some such.
posted by smackfu at 9:45 PM on August 28, 2006

Can I get a parent to make out the rental for me, or is that illegal? Alternatively, may that be a problem for reimbursement?
posted by sdis at 9:58 PM on August 28, 2006

the point is the driver. if you are on the rental contract as a driver, they will charge you extra. if you are not on it and get into a collision, the rental place insurance won't cover it. I am not sure about your own. dicey territory, don't do it.

smackfu might be onto something - call the insurance companies involved. both!
posted by krautland at 10:04 PM on August 28, 2006

Contact your insurance company. Many (most?) policies cover your rental when your own car is in the shop being repaired. If yours doesn't then check your credit card to see what coverage they provide. The policies from the rental companies are usually a huge rip off and are to be avoided if you have other coverage.
posted by caddis at 12:28 AM on August 29, 2006

Yeah, what's up with the insurance company not taking care of this for you? When I had my accident, the insurance company told me where to go to pick up the rental car they arranged for me. When I returned it, I just handed them the keys and it was all billed to Geico, the insured's... well... insurance. I believe the rental company was Enterprise, and it seemed like they did almost exclusively insurance company rentals at the location, in Atwater Village on the eastside of Los Angeles.
posted by incessant at 1:17 AM on August 29, 2006

When I got into an accident, my rental was also direct billed to the other person's (who caused the accident) insurance. They arranged it; I just waited for the Enterprise guy to come get me so I could pick up the car, and the fact that I'm under 25 was never mentioned.

If you can't get it billed through your/their insurance, try to get any sort of corporate rate or book through your corporate travel office (if you have one). That might eliminate the "not old enough" penalty, too; it's never an issue when I travel for work or use the corporate rate from my apartment management company.
posted by ThatSomething at 7:12 AM on August 29, 2006

"priceline doesn't really offer discounts on rental cars. "

Actually, you can name your price, and I have often found the name your prices on Priceline to be much lower than other available prices. Around here (Chicago), I have definitely gotten cars for around that price (maybe more like $32 before taxes), but that's not for the cheapest car, either. So you might want to give that a try if you need to hit that pricepoint and the other options don't work out. You really need to try around $25 or lower to stay under $29 total, so that might not be that realistic, but you should be able to get within $5 a day or so.

Second all the other recommendations, though.
posted by jcwagner at 8:48 AM on August 29, 2006

snap, you are right, there actually is a name your own price feature on priceline even for rental cars. I always missed that. thanks, I learned something.
posted by krautland at 9:31 AM on August 29, 2006

Can I get a parent to make out the rental for me, or is that illegal?

Illegal is less the concern than what happens if you have an accident and you're not an authorized driver on that vehicle.

ThatSomething has a good suggestion with the corporate rate. When I worked for a company that had a corporate rate deal it included the damage waiver, which is what they typically force you to buy if you're under 25.
posted by phearlez at 2:15 PM on August 29, 2006

From your initial post, I assume that the at fault party's insurance is picking up the tab to repair your vehicle, and that you've filed directly through them (instead of filing via your own company). If that's the case, you might want to call the insurance company and ask if they direct bill with a rental car company (my company has a contract with Enterprise). If so, your best bet is to let them set it up for you - much less hassle all the way around, and your age may not be an issue (with Enterprise, if you're 21+, you're fine in most cases).

If your own insurance company works directly with a rental car company, you might still qualify for a reduced rate if you're paying out of pocket initially. Just ask the rental car company yourself, or call your insurance company to see if they do work with a specific company.

Your own insurance should transfer, so make sure of this before you purchase the rental car company's Collision Damage Waiver. If your own policy doesn't transfer (if you didn't carry Collision on your own policy, for instance), the adverse carrier may cover the Collision Damage Waiver. Also, keep in mind that the other company will probably not pay for gas or mileage.

Even if none of the above applies, call Enterprise. They routinely offer discounts and don't seem to have a problem working with the under 25 set.
posted by mewithoutyou at 7:25 PM on August 29, 2006

« Older Looking for a book called 'Night Flyer' or some...   |   Name That Moviefilter (again) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.