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Old 22nd October 2010, 01:18   #31
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Originally Posted by sindabad View Post
I have driven on Indian DL (in english language) in FL, IL,MI and CA. Each state has a different cap on the number of months you can drive after you arrive into the US. Eg. FL is 6 months and IL is 3 months. I have also read about GA cops giving a ticket for over speeding to someone who drove down from NY to GA on an Indian DL, he was asked to appear in court.

As for insurance - I have noticed one thing about Enterprise - apart from CDW,LDW and PAI they also include a hidden Road Side assistance (which is apparently attached to CDW @ 3.XX dollars per day). Hidden because it appears nowhere except on the final itemized bill that they print out when you return your rental. Road side assistance is much cheaper and can be bought off the shelf if your car breaks down mid-way.

Most rental companies require you to have a credit card for renting, in such cases first timers in US should have an internationally valid Credit Card from India (or else where) which the rental company can use to take authorization amount, you can pay by cash,TC etc. upon returning your car and ask them to release the authorization from your internationally valid credit card so that you don't get charged for currency conversion etc.
They started charging this just a few months back I guess, as my earlier weekeend rates had $130+ rates, whereas now it has jumped up to $140+ rate.

You can use a debit card for renting, but they hold rental value + 100 USD more and refund the amount once the car is returned.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 01:32   #32
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Originally Posted by leodelg View Post
I got a sweet little upgrade when I recently rented a standard sized car from Budget for a trip to Seattle. The biggest achievement was returning the car without getting any speeding tickets!

Attachment 441955
Dude I am driving something like this too, I did not feel it has the power to match the hype. The handling and pickup is superb but the pull and the top whack is not up to the mark. Plus it is a thirsty machine.
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Rentals and me - driving in US-img_0537-large.jpg  


Last edited by prince_pervez : 22nd October 2010 at 01:38.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 09:25   #33
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Originally Posted by bblost View Post
Can you take a rental car in a city A and return it in a city B?
If yes, is there any limit on the distance between the 2 cities.
For example can someone drive from say the west coast to the east coast.
Though answered before, I would like to reiterate yes & share my experiences; A friend of mine drove one way from CA to MN that took about 4 days for her when she relocated her job. She hired a car from Enterprise.

Another friend of mine relocated from Detroit to Chicago & he hired a Chevy Malibu & that was one way too.

I once almost hired a 4X4 from Detroi to MN for one way trip from Hertz & said I would be dropping off the car at MN for which they agreed. It couldn't materialize since we got a deal through airlines & it was safe to fly rather than drive during Winter.

So its perfectly possible, provided, the rental companies have an outlet located in the other city.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 12:13   #34
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Originally Posted by aargee View Post
Also to obtain a US DL, one has to have a social security number
Not entirely true. Govt officials travelling on A1/A2 or G1-G5 visa categories are not expected to have a Social Security number, but are eligible to apply for a US driving licence.

Speaking from personal experience because I used to hold a US driving licence several years ago (early 80's) and I had no SSN then.

And yes - even for us, the Indian licenses were valid for the first 6 months, so that did allow me to drive there till I got my CA state driving license.
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Old 22nd October 2010, 12:16   #35
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Agree with Kala.
Even L2 visa holders who cannot get SSN before employment Authorization can apply for DL.
There is a field in the form which states that if you cannot get SSN, please mention why you cannot get SSN.
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Old 25th October 2010, 15:20   #36
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Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
Some do some don't. Big players do not have such restiction. However why would anyone 'drive' from east to west coast ? Unless he is a T-Bhpian.
Right...... planning a C2C, have done lots of research on roads / stops / options.

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Originally Posted by [B
bblost[/b] ]
I have always wondered.
Can you take a rental car in a city A and return it in a city B?
Yes, very much possible, longer the disance the higher the drop off charge. In UK the highest charge for a drop off even for long distance, for e.g, Inverness to Bristol is 30 Pounds with most operators. With huge distances in the US, the drop-off charges are killers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by carboy
There is usually a drop-off charge. And it may be quite huge, I guess.


The drop off charge from NY to LA / SFO is a whooping 1000 $ with most operators, if we make a round trip and drop back at the same place, it's a huge saving. My plan is for a run from NY to LA / SFO in 27 days, so driving back for just a drop off is not an option.

As for the licence, valid Indian licence and IDP as a back-up is a must, it would be a check-mate if the renting company askes you for a IDP, most of them just rent on Valid Indian Licence. One important thing, as per advise of a cousin in SFO, the Indian Licence should be valid at least for 12 months, a recent licence can be rejected by the renting company, Avis & National did just that to one of our relatives there, you'd have to fight it out if you have the time and the resources.

--Ramky
======

Last edited by ramkya1 : 25th October 2010 at 15:30.
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Old 25th October 2010, 15:33   #37
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Originally Posted by tsk1979 View Post
When renting a car I always took two insurances
1. LDW - Loss damage waiver - This is not mandatory by law in california. Costs 7.99$ to 8.99$ for most cars upto midsize, and goes to 11.99$ for premium vehicles.
2. Third party - 12.99$ - This the standard rate.

I was not renting via company, so I had to purchase these two insurances.
For car rentals I paid around 7-11$ for 24 hours since I used to rent on saturday morning, and return the vehicle by sunday morning. Most of our US trips were day trips involving 300-400 miles of driving.
Thanks for the information, Tanveer. But are those rates for LDW and TP daily or one time?
If it is daily, then I'd need to add around 20 USD to the daily rental, right?

Thanks to Lambo, carboy, etc who've responded to my query.
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Old 25th October 2010, 19:38   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ramkya1 View Post
The drop off charge from NY to LA / SFO is a whooping 1000 $ with most operators, if we make a round trip and drop back at the same place, it's a huge saving. My plan is for a run from NY to LA / SFO in 27 days, so driving back for just a drop off is not an option.======
I suggest enquiring around with all rentals (even from nearby cities in New Jersey, you can request the rental office to find about this from their other offices) to see if they have any cars that need to be returned to LA/SFO or some city nearby. I once did that from Winnipeg, Canada to Chicago. They did not charge me any extra for that. If not, with such a long rental you should be able to negotiate a reasonable rate without having to pay the whopping drop off charge.
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Old 25th October 2010, 19:58   #39
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I have been to US 6 times in the last 3 years on B1. So every time it is mostly a 3 month stay, except this time where i am returning after just a 40 day trip.

I am putting up a few details, for everybody as a reference pointers:

1. I take rental car, sponsored by company. When i am in Seattle area, i book AVIS. The reason being, AVIS have a better collection in Seatte area compared to Enterprise.

2. Usually, when you need a Rental car, you will book it online on their website. You could choose AVIS, ENTERPRISE or HERTZ, where are the 3 major players.

3. AVIS and HERTZ have the advantage of allowing u to gain "frequent flyer" points too!

4. You first would give the period of time for which you would want to rent the car for. Followed by the type of car. The cars would be of the following categories:

Compact Car (Economy) --> Aveo/Accent
Intermediate --> Usually Corolla types
Standard Size --> Pontiac G6 types
Full size --> Malibu, Ford Fusion types
Standard SUV --> Ford Escape types
Full size SUV --> Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Tahoe...

5. In my experience, i used to always take damage waiver Insurance and not the 3rd party damage related Insurance. And the cost of rental would usually be around $900 (rental) + $400 (insurance) for a Std size/Full size for a period of 30 days.
I love the Ford Fusions!

6. When i am in Dallas Area, i make it a point to take 3rd party Insurance too. In that case, the cost of Insurance would be almost the same as the cost of the car rental itself.

7.When booking the car, it is better to fill all the details on the website itself, to save time standing infront of the executive at the car rental place. Stuff like Address, DL details, Accessories needed, creditcard details.

8. Whenever you take a car, the Rental company would BLOCK a particular amount of money on your credit card and NOT deduct that, at the time of renting. The amount would be transfered only when you return the car.

9. The paper work what they provide while renting is a very very important document, to prove that i have rented the car and these are the insurances that i have bought. This helps when you are caught by cops. So never drive without those papers in the car.

10. When you are taking the rental for say 31 days.. the charging would be done in the following way:
Rental charge for a month + Rental charge for 1 day. So the amount of money that would cost AFTER a 30 day period would be greater than the cost for a 30 day period itself. So if you have plans of renting for say 45 days, make sure you book for 30 days first and then extend it by 15 days later or book for " A month + a fortnight".

11. Most of the cars on AVIS and Enterprise stable are very good condition cars. I have also got a Toyota Corolla 2009 last time around, straight from the Toyota Dealer. I even went to the Toyota showroom to receive the car directly from there, where the Odo showed 48 miles
But then, after a month's time, i was asked to return the vehicle back to Enterprise as it was one of the cars "called back" by Toyota for the "Sticky Accelerator pedal" issue which came up early this year.

12. Actually, the longest i have driven in US is pretty short :(
Bellevue (Seattle) - Portland - Pacific beach - Olympia - Bellevue (900 miles in a single day!)
Other than that it has been shorter drives.

13. The best car in Rentals that i have come across, both interms of FE and decent power:
Nissan Altima 2.5 (a gem)

And the worst , interms of FE :
Dodge Caliber (or any other Dodge in general).. they drink like crazy. So be aware.

14. When you rent a car in Airport Avis/Hertz/Enterprise centers, the extra cost adds up, because of Airport charges, taxes and stuff. So, it is always a good thing to better take a pre-booked car service or Shuttle to reach home and pick a car the next day, from the nearest rental.
Taxis are expensive in US, mind u. When i say Pre-booked car service, they are NOT metered Taxi.

15. Finally, never compromise on Insurance. It could break us, if some unintended incident takes place, that too, when we are away from our dear Country.
At the end of the day, i LOVE India for the challenges and the 100 factors that make our Highways, what it is, to drive on. Nothing beats it!

Pls do add to this. I would have missed more useful tips.

Finally, a few snaps of my present trip car - Fusion!
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Cheers
Pramod

Last edited by pramod : 25th October 2010 at 20:02. Reason: Rental car tips.
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Old 25th October 2010, 22:17   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post
5. In my experience, i used to always take damage waiver Insurance and not the 3rd party damage related Insurance. And the cost of rental would usually be around $900 (rental) + $400 (insurance) for a Std size/Full size for a period of 30 days.

if staying that long and company is not paying (for me, even if it is), I would look at other options. I know private parties renting for 200-400 a month.

EDIT: I hope you know that third party insurance is legally required. the Legal insurance cover required in most states is 25000-40000 or more AFAIK.

Last edited by vivekiny2k : 25th October 2010 at 22:19.
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Old 25th October 2010, 22:22   #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
if staying that long and company is not paying (for me, even if it is), I would look at other options. I know private parties renting for 200-400 a month.

EDIT: I hope you know that third party insurance is legally required. the Legal insurance cover required in most states is 25000-40000 or more AFAIK.

Yes - DW (damage waiver) and PAI (personal accident isurance) is upto one's discretion, but SLP (supplementary liability) is a legal must.
But - companies also know that some people WILL flout the law, and do some hit and runs. Thats why there is an additional fee in the insurance for 'uninsured and underinsured motorists' (guess this is covered under DW for rentals).
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Old 25th October 2010, 22:24   #42
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Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
if staying that long and company is not paying (for me, even if it is), I would look at other options. I know private parties renting for 200-400 a month.
Company pays for me. Including gas.
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Old 25th October 2010, 22:36   #43
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Originally Posted by blackasta View Post
But - companies also know that some people WILL flout the law, and do some hit and runs. Thats why there is an additional fee in the insurance for 'uninsured and underinsured motorists' (guess this is covered under DW for rentals).
Uninsured & Underinsured is just a moneymaker for the insurance companies & a loss for you.

First of all, it's not required.
And if you don't have it & your car is hit by a uninsured & uninsured driver & the other driver is at fault, your collision insurance will automatically cover it to your collision limit.

Only advantage if you have uninsured & uniderinsured is that you don't have to pay the deductible.

It almost never makes sense to get the uninsured & underinsured add-on.
(All this is with reference to regular car insurance, not particularly rental insurance).

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramod View Post
5. In my experience, i used to always take damage waiver Insurance and not the 3rd party damage related Insurance.
Is this even legal? i.e. how can you drive without 3rd party insurance?

Not just that, damage to your own car may just be a maximum of 15-20000$. Third Party costs may run to many more times that.

Last edited by carboy : 25th October 2010 at 22:41.
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Old 26th October 2010, 04:53   #44
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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
There is usually a drop-off charge. And it may be quite huge, I guess.

If you take a car from say California & take it to New York, the car will still have California plates, so they can't possibly rent it out in New York. So they would have to transport it back, I think.

Some rental contracts even charge you extra for driving out of the state where you rented it even if you returned it back at the same point where you picked it up.
All rental permits are issued on a national level and any state's car can be rented out in any other state provided it has valid registration at that time.
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Old 26th October 2010, 06:35   #45
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Default October 16-17 2010

Destination: Mt. Mitchell state park
Car: Hyundai accent

Same rate of 10 bucks a day, but this time only got my hands on a Hyundai accent. The model was basic - no alloys, no FATC, no remote lock, no central lock, even no chrome badge on the steering!

The route was appx. 280 miles both ways, and took us appx 3 hours to get there (with 1 stop) and 2:45 hrs to get back.

Rentals and me - driving in US-map.jpg

The accent wasn't very confidence inspiring, and on speeds between 65 and 70 mph, the whole steering assembly was shaking like it was possessed! I kept cool , and drove on the left lane at 60-65 mph (that portion of I 40 has speed limit of 70 mph, and people were doing 75-80 at least)

The route was real nice, and after driving for a while on the interstate and instead of taking the famous blue ridge parkway, our GPS took us into the jungle via a narrow road, which gave way to a winding gravel path with tree cover having some most beautiful colors.


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with each bend we discovered more colors. But one has to drive carefully as the path was narrow with winding slopes, and accent isn't really known for its handling prowess!

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half an hour of driving through the jungle, we finally hit blue ridge parkway.

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Stopped on a couple of scenic view areas. There's a reason why blue ridge parkway is touted as one of the most scenic roads in US.

Rentals and me - driving in US-dsc_4965.jpg

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After that it was straight to the mountain top. After a certain elevation, the vegetation changes and gives way to coniferous trees.

Rentals and me - driving in US-dsc_4979.jpg

Rentals and me - driving in US-dsc_4982.jpg

But the real view was to come soon. Someone (lucky guy!!) drove this Pontiac GTO to the top. I lost all sense of decency, shamelessly stared at the car drooling, and clicked photos like this is the last existing automobile on earth:

Rentals and me - driving in US-dsc_4991.jpg

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After that we climbed to the top of the mount. Mt Mitchell stands as the highest peak in Eastern USA.

Rentals and me - driving in US-dsc_5001.jpg


The view from the deck is great, with coniferous trees in foreground, while the background is an endless sea of vegetation dressed in fall color.

Rentals and me - driving in US-dsc_5002_stitch.jpg

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After spending sometime more on the top, it was our turn to come down, and drive home. This time, it was mostly the blue ridge parkway and interstates - and with dusk fast approaching, I wasn't too unhappy with that.

Overall the trip was satisfying with some amazing scenery, and that GTO surely made my day (made me forget that I was driving a not-so-stable and oh-so-korean hyundai). Look forward to another weekend, another rental, some more scenic locales and another story to tell.

Last edited by blackasta : 26th October 2010 at 06:39.
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