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aloges
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Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:29 pm

Hello everyone,

I'll be in the LA area for a couple of days next week and due to the lack of public transport there, I am tempted to book a rental car. Never having done this before (in the US), I am wondering which insurances I should add to my rental - it appears that the cheap base price that you see up front makes you liable for almost every kind of damage, so I suppose that adding insurance is almost a must.

My apologies if this has been answered before - Google wasn't really helpful, but perhaps that's due to me being rather tired at the moment.

Thanks!
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Fly2HMO
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:35 pm

Quoting aloges (Thread starter):
I am wondering which insurances I should add to my rental

I never add insurance to my rentals, but that's just me. Also, IIRC, some credit card companies (like AMEX) will insure you automatically if you pay with your card at no extra cost, though you may have to call to activate it or do it online.

Just get whatever cheapest liability insurance they have, shouldn't be more than an extra $10 a day or so.
 
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Jetsgo
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sun Feb 26, 2012 7:40 pm

Quoting Fly2HMO (Reply 1):
Just get whatever cheapest liability insurance they have,

I would say pass on the liability and purchase the LDW if you only want one of them. You are far more likely to need that and the rental car agency already carries state minimums for liability on the vehicle. Plus, when purchasing the LDW, you generally get to skip the whole inspection process both at pickup and drop off.

However, if you have a credit card which covers rental cars, that is obviously the best choice.
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varigb707
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:03 pm

Get LDW. It'll cover your (rental) vehicle 100%.
Get Liability, it'll cover someone else's damage (bodily injury and property). Usually up to US $1 million.
Easy way to go. No worries. Enjoy your visit to America!
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L410Turbolet
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:32 pm

Quoting aloges (Thread starter):
I am wondering which insurances I should add to my rental - it appears that the cheap base price that you see up front makes you liable for almost every kind of damage, so I suppose that adding insurance is almost a must.

Do not, I repeat DO NOT book it via American (.com) mirrors of car rental chains as their insurance rates are a total rip-off.
Either book it via your local .de mirror of the given car rental company (eg. www.budget.de) and you will get a rate that already is inclusive of the most important insurance rates or even better do it via reliable third party brokers like autoeurope.de, holidayautos.de where you often get some additional bonuses like free one-way rentals between the most popular states as tourist destination (CA-AZ, CA-NV, FL-GA etc.), 0 USD insurance excess and the like.

a good website to compare rates: http://de.swoodoo.com/cars

A quick comparison: March 14-21, midsize, LAX
alamo.com: 240 EUR
alamo.de: 184 EUR
holidayautos.de: 187 EUR
my favorite cartrawler-powered search engine http://www.akcniletenky.com/autopujcovny.htm : 167 EUR
autoeurope.eu: 151 EUR

[Edited 2012-02-26 14:26:18]
 
varigb707
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:44 pm

Quoting aloges (Thread starter):
I am wondering which insurances I should add to my rental

Rates will differ from one rental agency to another. Ask the CSR at the counter while processing your rental.
Like said before, get LDW and LIS. It'll cost, but peace of mind is key. Somebody steals your rental, or you hit someone else,,, Boy, you don't want to get sued in America, i tell you what. Get covered.
I am speaking from experience. I worked for Hertz for a decade and saw many a times, customers returning from an accident, without having any coverages, and regretting it.
First, I said 'hey' and then I said 'now'. "Hey Now!" - Hank K.
 
L410Turbolet
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sun Feb 26, 2012 9:56 pm

Quoting varigb707 (Reply 5):
Ask the CSR at the counter while processing your rental.
Quoting varigb707 (Reply 5):
I worked for Hertz for a decade

Then you probably know too well how obnoxious and pushy CSRs can be (LAX is notorious in this regard) and how much commission they get from the insurance they sell (force upon) people.
Definitely do get as much insurance as possible but not at the rack rates sold by the rental companies. Do your own research first, certainly not just waltz into a car rental place expecting to get a reasonable advice.
 
sccutler
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Mon Feb 27, 2012 1:05 am

Check with your credit card provider, as suggested; many will cover automatically. In addition, you might even have coverage from the carrier which underwrites your auto insurance at home (check on it); in Texas, your liability coverage automatically covers you for rentals, by state law - a fact which rental car agents desire very strongly to hide from you!
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
aloges
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:18 pm

Thanks, everyone!

The rate I ended up booking already included the LDW. If LIS is offered at pick-up and doesn't cost an absolute fortune, I will almost certainly opt for that as well - I'm planning to make decent use of the unlimited miles, so the peace of mind does matter.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
cgnnrw
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:59 pm

Another option is to book through a travel agent (yes, a travel agent) and get a pre-paid voucher with all the insurance coverage you may need: LDW/CDW, liability, contents, under insured. The amount of coverage is usually way above the state required minimum as well. Also it makes it easier to stand your ground against pushy rental agents. All you need to say is "its all offered in the coupon". Just be sure to have the info printed out in English.
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Superfly
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:10 pm

Can't recommend any insurance companies. Some credit cards cover car rentals.
Stay away from Enterprise Rental. The best agency is Budget.
Enterprise charges the most, has lots of hidden fees and I'm not a fan of their customer service. Budget seems to have the lowest prices and are pretty straight forward with their prices. I never had any surprises at the end.
Enterprise will give you all sorts of sales pitches and a $39 advertisement easily turns in to a $375 rental.
Bring back the Concorde
 
Birdwatching
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:58 pm

I've rented a bunch of cars in the US in the last years and I have always done it through the German Expedia site, as they will give me all-in prices including all insurances, taxes and fees.

I've once or twice rented locally in the US and it is ridiculous what they try to talk you into signing when you pick up the vehicle.

Soren   
All the things you probably hate about travelling are warm reminders that I'm home
 
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zckls04
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:16 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 10):
Stay away from Enterprise Rental.

I second that- nothing but terrible experiences with them.

It's true that various credit card companies (Amex most notably) do offer insurance free if you pay for the rental on that card. HOWEVER, you should be aware that if you damage the car you will have a tremendous amount of time and hassle getting your money back. During that time your credit card will be unusable (as it will be maxed out with the full cost of the car) and you may have to keep up minumum payments on the card while the claim is processed to avoid a credit ding (although this depends on whether they charge your card or just place a hold). The company dealing with your claim will not be Amex most likely, but a third party. So don't expect your usual Amex levels of service.

Alternatively you could buy third party insurance, for example bundled with your travel insurance if you are buying it. This is generally cheaper than the rental car agency. It'll be quicker and easier to get your claim processed than with the credit card method above, however your card will still be unusable while you wait for the money.

For peace of mind you can't beat just paying the LDW. You can return the car with a big hole in the side of it and just walked off. I know because I once did exactly that with an Avis car.

Note I'm assuming that you don't currently own a car- if you do should check with your auto insurer to see if you're covered on that insurance.
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aloges
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:17 pm

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 11):
I've once or twice rented locally in the US and it is ridiculous what they try to talk you into signing when you pick up the vehicle.

Did you make that experience at Hertz? That's who I'm renting from and I'd like to be prepared, as it were.

Quoting zckls04 (Reply 12):
It's true that various credit card companies

I checked that, neither of my cards has any such benefit... but at least one is cheap and the other is free.

Quoting zckls04 (Reply 12):
Note I'm assuming that you don't currently own a car- if you do should check with your auto insurer to see if you're covered on that insurance.

That's correct, I live in a big German city and most of the things I do are in or near other big cities, so paying for a car instead of public transport and the odd rented/shared car would be foolish.

[Edited 2012-02-28 14:20:58]
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DiamondFlyer
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 1:07 am

Quoting Superfly (Reply 10):
Stay away from Enterprise Rental. The best agency is Budget.

I've had nothing but good luck with Enterprise. But, since the locations are all independent, that doesn't surprised me. I just rented a car from them for 10 days, at the age of 23, for 40 bucks a day. Originally booked a compact car, they didn't have any, so I got a 2012 Dodge Charger for the same cost.

One key to Enterprise is to stay away from airport locations, if you can.


-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
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stasisLAX
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 2:25 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 14):
I've had nothing but good luck with Enterprise.

Rented a Dodge Neon from Enterprise at LGB a couple of years ago They said the car had a windshield crack when I returned it. The windshield was fine when I dropped the car off the night before and left the keys in the drop box. I took the insurance thankfully. But the car was absolutely fine when I dropped it off.

Also rented a Saturn L300 from the same Enterprise office. Drove the car home, got out, and noticed that the front passenger side tire was bald and half-flat. Took the car back the next morning (their office was already closed by then) and was told by the office manager that flat tires are the renters responsibility - and are not covered by the LDW insurance. Never rent from Enterprise - especially the LGB location on Cherry next to the airport.

[Edited 2012-02-28 18:26:37]
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sccutler
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Wed Feb 29, 2012 3:13 am

Enterprise.

Learned something really ugly about them.

I had checked rates on a lot of car rental agencies before a trip (Pensacola, I think), and they had the best rate for a mid-size car (don't like to drive clown cars).

So, I went to their site to book it. Rates all checked out, but when I wen to reserve, web app asks which airline I am arriving on; among choices, is "FBO" which, for me, is correct; but once I selected FBO, the rate went up by half. Same car, same airport, but if you arrive by GA, you get to pay a LOT more.

Bad deal.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
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KaiGywer
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 2:36 pm

Quoting zckls04 (Reply 12):
You can return the car with a big hole in the side of it and just walked off. I know because I once did exactly that with an Avis car.

Do tell....   
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, an
 
nws2002
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 4:52 pm

Quoting sccutler (Reply 16):
So, I went to their site to book it. Rates all checked out, but when I wen to reserve, web app asks which airline I am arriving on; among choices, is "FBO" which, for me, is correct; but once I selected FBO, the rate went up by half. Same car, same airport, but if you arrive by GA, you get to pay a LOT more.

That's because they will deliver the car to the FBO and have it waiting with the paperwork at the front desk. There are costs associated with that service. FWIW, is you call the FBO they usually have a deal with either Hertz or Enterprise and the rates are decent.
 
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zckls04
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 5:28 pm

Quoting KaiGywer (Reply 17):
Do tell....   

I was in Florence, and one of my friends driving the car we had all rented. He was doing a U-turn that was probably a bit illegal (although there weren't any signs), and at the last minute this guy on a moped came steaming up the inside. My friend didn't use his mirror (stupidly in my opinion, though he claimed afterwards he hardly ever does in England because he doesn't expect anybody to be there; in the US I certainly know better).

Anyway, as we turned the moped guy plowed into the side of the car- not at high speed, but high enough to throw him down onto the street. Obviously we were mortified and when we realized he was OK I thought there was a fair chance the guy was going to kill us, but he turned out to be incredibly cool about it. We grovelingly apologized, and he told us to be more careful, but his moped was pretty undamaged. His suit was still immaculate as he rode off, waving as he went. Such a contrast to what would happen in America.

Anyway, the car door was utterly destroyed. It was a cheap car, and the whole door and window were utterly wrecked. I don't really know how such a low speed collision caused so much damage, but it was totally unusable- the door would no longer open and even the driver door was a little stiff. We dropped it off at the Avis place and they were open mouthed, but we just signed a few forms and left. I've never been so glad to get the CDW!
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Geezer
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 6:54 pm

There's only one point about what you're talking about doing that no one has said anything about; most of the people making replies have been residents of the U.S. and a few have not been; you are a resident of Germany; when you conclude your business, you will be returning to Germany. All I'm trying to point out is, in the unlikely event that you do have an "incident", the fact that you will shortly be back in your home country will be known by the rental company. Sure, they have all your information, know your address, license no, all that, but they also know you're back in Germany; I think you will find that no one in the U.S. is going to go to all of the expense, red tape, hassle, and so on, attempting to "go after" someone in another country, especially if the "situation" involved was a minor one. Sure, if you had run over a 10 yr old girl scout and killed her, that's a different matter......that's a serious matter; I'm just talking about the little things, (like the guy on a moped crashing into the door. Obviously, anyone renting a vehicle needs to be very careful not to become "involved" in any kind of "incident", whether it's your fault, or the other guy's fault.

Everyone has their favorites when they rent cars; sounds like many despise Enterprise; probably because they have had a problem when renting from them. My fiancee' gets an Enterprise car every time she goes to Chicago; she gets a ridiculous cheap rate, and has had great luck "so far"; the next time that could change; I don't think there is such a thing as a "best" rental company; it's a tough business; they deal with the public; they have even more problems with "customers" than the people have with them.

I very seldom need to rent a car, so I don't have much preference from that side of the picture. Before I retired, I did have a lot of "experience" with rental companies; they all get their new cars, keep them till they get so many miles on them, then they send them to an auction; my experience came from picking them up at airports all over the country, and hauling them to auctions all over the country. We also delivered new units from "Government Motors" to Hertz, Avis, National, Alamo, Budget, and a few more; that's where you DO see a huge difference between how different rental companies operate ! Hertz, Avis and National put about 12K mile on them, and off to the auction they go ! Makes no difference how long they had them; it's all about mileage. Alamo on the other hand does EVERYTHING exactly ass-backwards from the rest; they wear the suckers out before they turn them back in ! I have actually transported a whole truckload of Alamo units that I had to call a tow truck, and DRAG every single unit onto the carrier, haul the clunkers 600 miles, then get another tow truck to drag them my truck at the auction ! ( I'm still trying to figure out what kind of idiot buys all of those Alamo junkers. I did have occasion to rent a unit from Alamo once, (with my employer paying for it); I had no problem......the car was fine. So you just never know.

Charley
Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
 
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Moose135
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:07 pm

Quoting geezer (Reply 20):
Sure, they have all your information, know your address, license no, all that, but they also know you're back in Germany; I think you will find that no one in the U.S. is going to go to all of the expense, red tape, hassle, and so on, attempting to "go after" someone in another country, especially if the "situation" involved was a minor one.

If he used a credit card, there is not much expense, red tape, or hassle to add a charge for damages to his bill. There's probably even working in the rental agreement he signs giving them permission to do just that if there are any additional charges after he returns the car.
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aloges
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Thu Mar 01, 2012 7:19 pm

Yes, I will be back in Germany after the rental period, but I'm not the type to run from the liability (hence the question about insurance). On top of the bad luck/karma/juju/whatever that it would bring, I do intend to return here, so trouble with the law is the very last thing I'm looking for.  
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DocLightning
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Fri Mar 02, 2012 2:42 am

You want to buy EVERY SINGLE INSURANCE THEY OFFER. Unless you are a multi-millionaire. You do not want to get sued in the USA. Not ever. You want insurance to cover that for you.
-Doc Lightning-

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Superfly
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:17 am

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 14):
One key to Enterprise is to stay away from airport locations, if you can.

Seeing that Aloges is flying in from Germany, he will most likely be renting from the airport.

Quoting moose135 (Reply 21):
If he used a credit card, there is not much expense, red tape, or hassle to add a charge for damages to his bill. There's probably even working in the rental agreement he signs giving them permission to do just that if there are any additional charges after he returns the car.

That is true. In fact, you can't rent without a credit card. Although you can use your ATM debit card, that is a bad idea. Often times they deduct $500 plus the cost of the rental. That could be up to $1000 of cash you can't use until a week after your trip. You do not want to have an accident if you're using your debit card.

Quoting geezer (Reply 20):

I remember reserving a Mercury Grand Marquis at an Enterprise in San Francisco for an extended weekend in LA. They told me that they had one and I insisted that it be a Grand Marquis, not something similar in the same class. Sure enough, I get there 2 hours later and they tell me they didn't have the Grand Marquis anymore. Instead, he was trying to rent me a Dodge Intrepid or Dodge Caravan. I refused and insisted on a Grand Marquis. He begins ask me why I wanted that particular car and goes on his rant about it being an "old man's car". I wasn't asking his opinion about my preference of car. We must have argued for 30 minutes before he caved in and got me a Grand Marquis from their downtown location (2 miles away).
I needed this car for a trip to SoCal. The car needed a wheel alignment badly and have a speed governor in it. At speeds over 55MPH, it started to hum and at 65MPH, the pedal would push back. Someone had beat the crap out of that car! It was the base model with clothe seats, analog dials, gauges and hub-caps. I didn't even know such a base model existed. It was a long miserable trip. I usually go about 85 - 90MPH on the I-5 to & from LA.
I NEVER had these problems with Budget. When I request a Grand Marquis or Lincoln Town Car, they have one waiting for me. They are in tip-top shape and usually fully loaded with all options.
Bring back the Concorde
 
AustrianZRH
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:33 am

Quoting aloges (Reply 22):
Yes, I will be back in Germany after the rental period, but I'm not the type to run from the liability (hence the question about insurance). On top of the bad luck/karma/juju/whatever that it would bring, I do intend to return here, so trouble with the law is the very last thing I'm looking for.

You should know that the legal liability insurance in the US is often only a couple of 1,000 bucks. So if you do have an accident, and your opponent is injured, you will be paying the rest of your life!

My tip would be to go to www.usa-reisen.de and book your rental car there. They have very cheap packages, all necessary insurances (LIS, LDW) included and you get out cheaper than you would renting directly at the company.
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
 
smittyone
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Fri Mar 02, 2012 12:11 pm

I highly recommend getting the LDW.

My wife damaged a rental car (put a small hole in the plastic bumper cover), and they came after us for the cost of replacing and painting the entire bumper cover even though it had substantial damage on it already when she picked it up - and would have needed to be replaced anyway.

That is their scam...continuing to rent out the car while letting small damage accumulate, charging each person the full cost of a repair, and then either repairing (or not) the damage one time before selling the car off.

So now if I go to pick up a rental car and there is any obvious cosmetic damage I ask for a different one.
 
DiamondFlyer
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:23 pm

Quoting Superfly (Reply 24):
Seeing that Aloges is flying in from Germany, he will most likely be renting from the airport.

Still, even then, if you compare prices, it may pay to rent off airport and get a cab or bus over to the location. Just this past week, I saved over $200/week by renting at a Enterprise that is 3 miles from the airport.

-DiamondFlyer
From my cold, dead hands
 
AustrianZRH
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:46 pm

Quoting DiamondFlyer (Reply 27):
Still, even then, if you compare prices, it may pay to rent off airport and get a cab or bus over to the location. Just this past week, I saved over $200/week by renting at a Enterprise that is 3 miles from the airport.

This is less of an issue if you book via a German/European travel agency such as I linked above. They are usually very much cheaper than booking on Alamo/Enterprise/Hertz/whatever directly if you factor in the cost for the higher liability insurance and LDW. And their rates do not vary between airport and city locations  .
WARNING! The post above should be taken with a grain of salt! Furthermore, it may be slightly biased towards A.
 
L1011
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:13 am

I've had nothing but good experiences with Enterprise. Whenever I leave my car at the dealer for maintenance, I walk across the street to Enterprise for a rental. They even have a special rate for people getting their car serviced at the dealer across the street. And if I return it a little late because my car wasn't ready when promised, they don't charge me for the extra couple of hours that I had their car. The people there are very friendly and don't try to push extra insurance on me. They even go outside and do the walk-around with me to check for damage before I take the car out.
Even though my credit card gives me coverage, I have American Express Premium rental car coverage, which for $19.95 per rental, provides full coverage for the entire length of the rental. For one day, I'll take the CDW, but for anything longer, the American Express coverage is a good deal.

Bob Bradley
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
 
sccutler
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:29 am

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 18):
Quoting sccutler (Reply 16):
So, I went to their site to book it. Rates all checked out, but when I wen to reserve, web app asks which airline I am arriving on; among choices, is "FBO" which, for me, is correct; but once I selected FBO, the rate went up by half. Same car, same airport, but if you arrive by GA, you get to pay a LOT more.

That's because they will deliver the car to the FBO and have it waiting with the paperwork at the front desk. There are costs associated with that service. FWIW, is you call the FBO they usually have a deal with either Hertz or Enterprise and the rates are decent.

Meh.

They give the lower rate to people to whom they have to deliver the car (or pick them up), which typically takes a great deal more in the way of logistics. Sorry, it's just a shake-down.
...three miles from BRONS, clear for the ILS one five approach...
 
Ozair
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RE: Car Rental In The US: Which Insurances?

Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:02 am

Quoting Birdwatching (Reply 11):
I've rented a bunch of cars in the US in the last years and I have always done it through the German Expedia site, as they will give me all-in prices including all insurances, taxes and fees.

I always book through the UK Expedia website even though I travel from Australia. There is no issue and it always includes all insurances and fees and it significantly cheaper than booking through Australian or US websites.

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Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos