Looking for a great deal on a monthly car rental? Understanding a few golden rules about how rental car prices are set will help you get the most bang for your buck out of a longer rental.
Snag a Long-Term Deal on a Car Rental
Renting long-term from the major car rental companies may seem like it would be expensive, but many offer long-term deals that can significantly slash prices off of the weekly rate. Just keep in mind that your insurance company or credit card may have limits on how long they'll cover rental cars.
Examples of rental car companies offering long-term deals include:
- Enterprise's Month or More program provides discounts on rentals longer than 30 days, including unlimited miles and roadside assistance for an additional fee.
- The Avis Flex program provides deals on rentals longer than 60 days and it also includes unlimited miles.
- The Hertz Multi-Month program offers savings of more than 50 percent on rentals of longer than 63 days.
- The Budget by the Month program offers discounts of up to 10 percent.
A Potential Insurance Pitfall for Monthly Car Rentals
Planning on relying on your personal auto insurance or credit card coverage? Most major auto insurance companies cover rental cars for up to 30 days. Always check with your own insurer before you rent a car for more than a few weeks at a time.
Need a car for longer than a month? Split your rental into two concurrent transactions under 30 days apiece. If you need a car for 45 days, for example, make two separate rental car bookings. The first rental would take you through the first 30 days and the second would cover the last 15 days. Should you get in an accident with either rental car, your personal auto insurance coverage would remain valid since each rental period would be less than 30 days.
Pick Up a Lease
Sometimes you get the best bang for your buck when you take over a lease that another driver is trying to ditch. LeaseTrader is like a Match.com for car leases, letting drivers search for existing leases based on price, brand, type of car and location.
Swapalease is another lease-takeover platform that allows users to search for leases based on make, model and zip code. It also provides information on the car's current mileage, as well as how many miles and months are left on the lease.
Canvas, a startup backed by Ford, buys cars coming up on the end of their lease terms. Then, the company rents them to drivers along with insurance, roadside assistance and maintenance coverage through a monthly subscription model. Unlike other lease-swapping websites, drivers deal directly with Canvas instead of contacting individuals. This option is only available in Los Angeles and San Francisco at the moment.
Borrow Someone Else's Wheels
The car-sharing site Turo also offers a fresh take on leasing, with more than 170,000 listings for cars whose owners are willing to rent for limited periods of time. The search process feels a lot like Airbnb—just enter a location and desired dates and the website will provide options for available cars and daily prices. The great thing about Turo is that many car owners offer weekly or monthly discounts, making long-term rentals more affordable. Plus, the company has partnered with Liberty Mutual to offer insurance coverage.
The most important thing to remember about long-term rentals is that it pays to shop around—not just at the major car rental companies, but on additional websites such as Canvas, Turo, LeaseTrader and Swapalease. Priceswill vary greatly depending on the type of car, insurance options and extra fees that the driver might accumulate, so it's wise to factor in all options before deciding on a long-term rental.