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Old 7th February 2009, 22:03   #1
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Default Rent a car in the US

What is the minimum age limit?

I'm 22. Will be 23 in august but plan to visit US in April/May.

Secondly, which company will be cheap and have a good collection of cars?

Any particular procedure to be followed?

I'm aware of the IDL. SOme people say you dont need an IDL if your local license is in English. I dont want to take a chance and will be taking an IDL as well.

Last edited by Nikhilb2008 : 7th February 2009 at 22:08.
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Old 7th February 2009, 22:07   #2
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Hertz, Enterprise, Avis, Budget are some of the prominent rental companies.

You come in the age group of 21 to 24, so you can rent a maximum of standard size or a intermediate suv's only.

Also underage fee of $15/day(enterprise charges this much) is applicable as you are under 25.

Enterprise has some good deals going on, like weekend is 50% off, as well as free upgrade on cars.

Personally i prefer Enterprise because of great service, very nicely maintained fleet of cars and reasonable prices. hertz is also better but would be a little bit expensive.

Also it depends on the state as well as city.

here are some websites for reference

Enterprise Rent-A-Car - Rental Cars at Low Rates
Hertz
Car Rentals from Budget
Avis Rent A Car, Inc.

hope this helps
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Old 7th February 2009, 22:59   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
What is the minimum age limit?

I'm 22. Will be 23 in august but plan to visit US in April/May.

Secondly, which company will be cheap and have a good collection of cars?

Any particular procedure to be followed?

I'm aware of the IDL. SOme people say you dont need an IDL if your local license is in English. I dont want to take a chance and will be taking an IDL as well.
In most states IDL is not required if license is in English. Carrying IDL is additional insurance. However, don't forget your DL - the IDL is only an official translation in 'x' languages, it still requires your original DL to have any value.

For your age, most rental companies may apply some additional charge / higher insurance rates.
You can get better rates if you book in advance / any offers are there. You can also use your Frequent Flyer etc if applicable to sometimes get better deals.
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Old 7th February 2009, 23:22   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
What is the minimum age limit?

I'm 22. Will be 23 in august but plan to visit US in April/May.
I guess you are eligible to drive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
What is the minimum age limit?
Secondly, which company will be cheap and have a good collection of cars?
Enterprise would be one of the cheapest to rent. Avoid picking up the car by walking in at the airport terminal. Check online for the best deal & book it well in advance
- Check if any automible Associatiion membership helps in getting a discount
- Rely on friends there to help & give you a good view of what is available
- Rent for a week instead of 5 days and get a better rate/day

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
What is the minimum age limit?
I'm aware of the IDL. SOme people say you dont need an IDL if your local license is in English. I dont want to take a chance and will be taking an IDL as well.
Dont want to comment on IDL or no IDL. But almost always, our Indian Driving license - card license - works fine. The new 1 (well, the one with printed picture - not the old photo sticking card) is good enough to get you a car without any questions, unless they doubt you for any reason

On a lighter note, a suggestion to get a free upgrade - Why not book some car which you are sure is not available when you land there? If the booked car is not there, they usually give a free upgrade. Who knows? You might be upgraded to a ferrari for free!
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Old 7th February 2009, 23:42   #5
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Do take your IDL. At some airports or local rental places, they would ask for the same if you have an Indian DL. Also a Credit Card is required for rental. If you have AAA, you can get decent discounts at HERTZ and also at AVIS.

Search on their sites and you would get some good coupons which you can use while you rent.

Regarding cars and their quality, all major rental companies have cars which belong to that year i.e if you go in May 2009, you would see a 2009 model car only with them, hence quality should not be an issue with any major companies. Regarding fleet, it all depends on where you go. For e.g. states like Florida would have the max number of convertibles in their fleet due to the climate there but places like Chicago would have lesser numbers of those vehicles.

Do take insurance on the vehicle or if you have a local car there, you can transfer your insurance onto the rental vehicle. Bottom line: Come what may have a insurance on your rental.

Cheers
f1fan

Last edited by f1fan : 7th February 2009 at 23:49.
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Old 7th February 2009, 23:52   #6
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Most companies are charging an underage fee for me :( . Because I'm less than 25 years old.
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Old 7th February 2009, 23:53   #7
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Hertz is the best among all and you will get good deals if you negotiate. If you are working for some client slike Citi...etc they will give heavy discounts.
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Old 8th February 2009, 00:24   #8
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1. If you are below 25 be prepared to pay 25$/day extra
2. Smaller companies like $ etc., will give you free upgrades more readily, and are more flexible if you return car late by 10-15 min to 30min. In Hertz/Avis, if you return car even 20 minutes late, you get charged for half day extra
3. If you are renting on your own, you will need to buy Loss Damage waiver(optional but recommended) and Liabitlity insurante(12.99 in CA).
So total cost for rental is
Base price(can be from 10$ to 50$ depending on day etc.,) + Tax + 9$ LDW(This varies from 9-14 depending upon car, for example mercedes will carry 14$) + 12.99 Insurance + 25$ fee

I don't have to pay 25$ fee, the total cost of a weekend day is around 50$ in Bay area from the airport if you book well in advance.
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Old 8th February 2009, 00:27   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JVille07 View Post
Hertz is the best among all and you will get good deals if you negotiate. If you are working for some client slike Citi...etc they will give heavy discounts.

I second that. If you are traveling on business get your booking done through your travel agent. You get good deals on it.
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Old 8th February 2009, 00:33   #10
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Most companies charge their normal rates to anyone 25 or older. But will rent to anyone 21-24 at a higher rate.
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Old 8th February 2009, 01:40   #11
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in sacramento, if you are underage, you get charged $15 per day.
as for insurance, i would suggest you go for comprehensive coverage that includes third party insurance which will be $24 per day. if you don't go for third party insurance it will be $12.99/day

if you plan to take during weekends you will get 50% off the weekday rates.

for example in enterprise, if you take for sat and sunday, enterprise will charge you following rates.

$17.31/day for 2 days will be $34.62...for intermediate sedan..free upgrade to standard size..so you save 5 dollars for two days.
$15/day for under age fee will be $30
$23.99/day for full insurance coverage will be $47.98
plus tax

so total would be $34.62+30+47.98= ~$110 plus tax for two days.

this is what i was charged when i rented nissan sentra on saturday 9am and returned on monday 9am. was given upgrade to standard side which was VW Jetta 2.5

enterprise is very flexible with return and they have pickup and drop off service.

for same period of time, budget and avis charges $30/day for underage fee and $35/day rental fee of car. insurance is the same.

i won't advice to rent from airport locations as it will be expensive. better get it from other offices in city.

hope this helps
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Old 8th February 2009, 04:50   #12
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One way to save money is to book with a credit card which offers you a damage waiver clause(most have this) - so if you damage your car, credit card company pays for the repairs - read the fine print, though. That means you need to buy only liability - NEVER DRIVE WITHOUT THIS - unless you have an auto policy in US on your name which offers liability protection on rental cars. I guess you don't have that. So play safe. You can also get additional personal accident cover at 3-5$ per day.

Also that your credit card will be blocked for 200$ in addition to the rental cost.

Hertz and Enterprise are recommended. You may get a coupon code rom airline magazines etc. which helps reduce your cost by 10-20%.

Lastly, examine the car thoroughly for any dings/scratches and get it marked on the rental doc.
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Old 8th February 2009, 05:34   #13
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If you are willing to prepay you can get a car for 10-12$ inclusive of taxes. Try priceline or hotwire
Ofcourse the LDW and liability insurance are extra

And not always airport locations a expensive. Weekends you can get great deals. For example I got Jeep liberty for 40$ (All inclusive) and a mustang also for the same amount.
The advantage with airport locations is that its open on sundays. So for a day trip you rent on saturday and return on sunday, 24 hours only.
However if you want to rent for the full weekend off airport location may be better since airport taxes are often to the tune of 15-16$ including the transportation fee.

As for enterprise, make sure you read fine print. Some rental locations do not allow you to take the car out of state.
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Old 8th February 2009, 08:15   #14
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Lightbulb International Driving Permit - IDP

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikhilb2008 View Post
SOme people say you dont need an IDL if your local license is in English.
Just to clarify: it's not a Licence, it's a Permit. Your Indian driving is still your main licence.
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Old 17th February 2009, 13:26   #15
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Enterprise is best on weekends. They charge 50% of regular rent on weekends
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