Three month car rental?
November 14, 2006 4:46 PM   Subscribe

The problem: I need a car for three months in Los Angeles. Extenuating circumstances: I am a horrible driver and am almost guaranteed to mess up the car at some point. Solution?

I have looked at long term rentals from car rental agencies, but the cheapest in Los Angeles are in the $600 a month range, and I'm looking for closer to $400 a month since I plan to get added-on insurance which is pricey.

I don't want to buy a car since I will only be using it for 3 months before returning to NYC, and I don't want to have to sell it again. Also there's the whole vehicle registration and insurance pain. I'd consider doing a 3 month lease but have no experience in this matter. Has anyone else had experiences with sites like

FWIW, I don't care if the car's ugly/ancient, in fact that would be a plus since I wouldn't feel as badly when I inevitably get into a fender bender. I drive like a 14 year old since I live in NYC, have never owned a car, and have little chance to practice.

Which brings me to the second part of my question: what kind of temporary insurance should I get to cover my future bang ups?
posted by np312 to Travel & Transportation around Los Angeles, CA (8 answers total)
Try the car rental place called "Rent-A-Heap"
posted by JayRwv at 4:53 PM on November 14, 2006

I would urge you to not consider a wreck as an inevitable. Practice in parking lots or take a driver education course if you must, but getting on the road having already decided you're getting in a wreck is pretty irresponsible.

Is public transportation out of the question? Or perhaps a bicycle? Cycling is a fantastic way to get around - gas prices are never an issue, tons of shortcuts are available to you, and every single commute is a vigorous workout!
posted by EatTheWeek at 5:17 PM on November 14, 2006

JayRwv-- Rent-a-Wreck
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:45 PM on November 14, 2006

Best answer: Buy a $500 car. Registering it and insuring it for 3 mos. will be less than $250 if it's smoggable and all the lights turn on, then scrap it or give it away when you're done. Why overpay for a rental? Seems like a hassle to me.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:57 PM on November 14, 2006

I second Rent-a-Wreck; not pretty cars, but you'll get what you say you want.

Oh, and why overpay for a rental and insurance when you can pay that same money to a driving school and come out the other side less of a hazard to everyone around you? The notion that you're totally OK with being an awful driver is disturbing to say the least; you're about to go to LA and shepherd two tons of steel, plastic, and glass around, with a self-professed total lack of skill, and your awfulness at driving is as likely to hurt an actual human as it is to hurt whatever car someone rents you. Not to sound too preachy, but accept driving as a responsible adult, not the fourteen year-old you profess to drive like, and try to do what you can to keep the road safe.
posted by delfuego at 6:44 PM on November 14, 2006

Best answer: When I was in LA last summer, trapped in Bel-Air without wheels behind a private golf course and a narrow, winding, cliff-hugging exit from the canyon that was too dangerous to bike or even walk, I looked at my options. I discovered Flexcar, which is the west-coast version of Zipcar. But Flexcar only has like 20 cars in the entire LA area, which really really sucks. If you are near a pickup/drop-off node, you can rent a car whenever you want it. It's good for random trips and excursions, but not for daily commuting.

I also looked into scooters like the Kymco People 150, powerful enough to flow through LA traffic if you don't need to get on the interstate, and much cheaper than a car. My friend uses one for her daily commute from Ocean Park to UCLA, and it gets 80mpg.

I never rented a car, but I was just thinking of alternatives, in case that didn't pan out for you. Good luck!
posted by billtron at 6:50 PM on November 14, 2006

As a part-time Los Angeles resident, I'd like to nth the suggestion that you not treat accidents as inevitable. Taking a driving course can do wonders. Alternately, depending on where you will be within Los Angeles for those 3 months, you may be able to take public transportation.

Flexcar and Zipcar run your license through the DMV databases to make sure you don't have a screwy driving record, so that's probably out. I'd go with taking a driving course, buying a sub-$500 junker out of the Auto Trader, and insuring it for the 3 months you need it, if you can't get by with public transportation.

In any case, even if you get the crappiest crappy car that ever crapped, please make an effort to drive safely! That fender-bender you are sure you'll get into could hurt or kill another motorist or a pedestrian.
posted by bedhead at 9:41 PM on November 14, 2006

Take cabs and public transit.
posted by Carol Anne at 5:57 AM on November 15, 2006

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