Hiring a car in the USA gives you the freedom to go wherever you want to go, but it can cause headaches and unnecessary expense. To ensure you do not fall foul of the many rules and regulations associated with hiring a car, follow these simple tips.
Examine the mileage limits
Most rental cars come with limited or unlimited mileage. With limited mileage car hire, you will usually pay a basic fee for each day that you hire the car. If you exceed the mileage limit you have agreed upon with the rental company, you will have to pay an additional charge for any additional miles you travel. With unlimited mileage car hire, your rental charge will stay the same, regardless of the amount of miles that you drive. Before renting a car, it is essential to use a free online map service to estimate the amount of miles that you will drive during the course of your rental agreement. This will help you to select the best mileage option for your needs.
Check the fuel policy
Like any car, your hire car will require fuel. When choosing a car hire company, you will therefore need to consider the following fuel policies:
Drive the car away with a full tank and return it with a full tank
This option usually works out as the cheapest, but only if you return the car completely full. If the hire company feels there is room to add more fuel, you could face a costly refuelling charge.
Buy a full tank from the rental company and return it empty
This option usually works out as the most expensive, as you will not receive a refund on any fuel you leave in the tank. In addition, the fuel provided by the rental company may be charged at a premium, which means that you may end up paying over the odds for fuel.
Pay the rental company for the fuel you use
This might seem a wise option, but you will need to ensure that you return the car with the same amount of fuel as when you picked it up, or you will be charged a premium on the difference.
Understand insurance excesses
When you hire a car, your rental agreement will usually include insurance cover such as Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insurance. However, if you need to make a claim, you will probably be liable for the first portion of the loss, termed the “excess”. The excess on hire car insurance varies between rental providers but it often amounts to far more than the cost of renting the car. To protect yourself against the cost of the excess, you may wish to take out car hire excess cover. This will reduce your excess to zero.
Determine your need for a photocard driving licence code
If you have a photocard driving licence, you will need to take a special code with you when pick up your hire car. This code will provide the hire company with one-off access to your online driving licence record. To get the code, you will need to log on to the online DVLA Share Driving Licence service. The code that you generate will only be valid for 72 hours, so if you are considering hiring a car more than three days into your trip, you will need to access the DVLA Share Driving Licence service while you are abroad.
Renting a car in the USA can be confusing, but by following these tips, you can avoid car hire chaos.