Need a car rental for a month or longer? The good news is that most major rental car rental companies are more than happy to rent you a vehicle for several months at a time. The bad news? It can be expensive. While most companies offer discounted long-term rental rates and may even include discounted insurance packages, the overall price will likely still be high.
On the positive side, a long-term rental from an agency will be straightforward and relatively risk-free. There will likely be a good selection of well-maintained vehicles. You'll be provided lots of options for add-ons like car insurance and roadside assistance, and you'll have access to 24/7 customer support.
The downsides are that your contract will contain lots of fine print and perhaps a few gotcha charges. Renting from a rental car company also may not be the least expensive option if you opt for the insurance and roadside assistance provided by the rental company.
What to Know About Long-Term Car Rentals
AutoSlash can save you big bucks. Our proprietary algorithm factors in everything that can help snag you the lowest rate possible. We look at your memberships (AAA, Costco, frequent flyer programs and more), credit cards and hundreds of publicly available coupon codes to find the cheapest car rental rates. After you book, we will track the always-fluctuating rental prices and alert you to price drops so you can re-book at an even lower rate.
It may be cheaper to break your multi-month rental into separate 28-30 days rentals. There are two advantages to this. First off, AutoSlash can sometimes find coupons that save up to $75 off a monthly rental. These coupons can only be applied once per rental. By making separate one month rentals, you can apply these coupons each time. Second, AutoSlash can continue to track your rental for future months while you're driving around in your current rental. Prices often drop as the pickup date approaches, and our system will pick up these price fluctuations and notify you so you can re-book your next rental at an even lower rate.
You'll usually pay more at airports. Rental costs can vary significantly when compare rates at an airport location with those at an off-airport branch. When we price-checked three-month rentals from airport versus non-airport branches, we found that the average monthly price for an off-airport rental was $800 compared to an average of $1,212 at airport locations. That said, it's always worth checking both airport and off-airport rates, as sometimes, even with higher taxes and fees at the airport, an airport rental can be less because there are usually more companies there, and therefore more competition for business.
You may have to check in every month. Most companies have a requirement to return to the rental office every 30 days to re-sign a new contract. If you're renting from a corporate-owned location, you may be able to check in at convenient locations along your travels. But if you're renting through a franchise, you may have to go back to your original rental location. Be sure to ask about this before you sign a contract.
You need to research your insurance options. If you're like most Americans, you are likely covered for short-term car rentals under your personal car insurance, your credit card coverage or both. But that may not hold true for rentals longer than a month.
- You may need to buy the collision insurance. While your credit card might cover the "loss damage waiver" (LDW) in a short-term car rental, many policies only cover rental cars up to 30 days. In addition, your personal car insurance may cover your rental, but you should always check with your insurance company and know your policy's terms before you pick up your rental car.
- There's a cheaper option for collision insurance. Before you automatically opt for the LDW insurance offered at the car rental counter, check out a much less-expensive option through Sure, an AutoSlash partner. Sure offers 31-day policies that can be extended after purchasing. The insurance costs less than $10 per day, which is significantly lower than what the rental counter will offer.
- You still need liability insurance. Credit cards typically only cover damage to the vehicle, not personal liability for any injury or damage you cause to human beings, another car or objects. A personal auto policy will typically cover you for liability, but if you don't own a car, you may need to purchase liability insurance separately from the rental company.
Long-Term Rental Programs at Major Car Rental Companies
All the major rental companies offer long-term rental programs that deliver deep savings compared to regular weekly rates, including unlimited miles. There are slight differences in other inclusions, but the biggest difference was in the minimum length of rental, which ranges from 30 days at Enterprise to 63 days at Hertz.
This long-term rental program from Enterprise delivers discounted long-term rates on rentals longer than 30 days. You get unlimited miles but roadside assistance will cost an extra $4-$7 per day. When we price-checked the cost of a three-month rental with Enterprise Month-or-More at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), the rate was $2,054—a significant savings of about 58 percent on the $4,907 you'd pay if you rented with the weekly rate for the same period. You can get the discounted monthly rate if you book anywhere on the Enterprise site.
Avis offers discounted rates on rentals longer than 60 days, including unlimited miles. This rate can apply to one-way rentals and vehicle swapping is available. We priced a three-month rental with Avis Flex at PIT at $2,171, compared to over $6,000 if you rented with the weekly rate. That's a savings of almost 65 percent (though in our test, Enterprise's price was better). On top of a discounted monthly rate, Avis also gives you a $75 coupon code on rentals over $600. You cannot get the Avis Flex rate as a walk-up, so book in advance through the Avis Flex portal.
Budget by the Month
Owned by the same parent company as Avis, Budget offers a Budget by the Month program that is basically identical to Avis Flex.
Like other rental car companies, Hertz's long-term rental program delivers savings on rentals longer than 63 days. The rate includes unlimited miles and regular preventative maintenance, and there's also a discount on the LDW insurance. Our price-check on a three-month rental at PIT turned up a price of $2,253 with Hertz Multi-Month, compared to $5,328 if rented at the weekly rate. That translates to a savings of 58 percent with Multi-Month. There's no dedicated portal for long-term rentals; just book on the regular Hertz site—or even better, get a quote for a discounted long-term rental from AutoSlash.
Dollar offers discounted rates for long-term rentals of between one and six months, but the terms are more restricted than with other rental companies. Mileage is not unlimited; you get 4,200 miles per 30 days. Go over the limit and you'll be charged $.25 per mile on the extra. You don't have to return to the rental location every 30 days during a multi-month rental period but you are required to return to a Dollar location every 4,000 miles for preventive maintenance. (Alternatively, you can have the work done at another service location and Dollar will refund the cost upon return.)
We could not find a long-term rental program at Payless, but it never hurts to ask. Most rental companies will do multi-month rentals.
Sixt's long-term program offers unlimited miles on standard vehicles and the ability to change vehicles at any time. Corporate customers get an additional 20 percent discount.
Thrifty's long-term program is reserved for corporate customers, but we recommend that you reach out and try to get a quote on a personal rental anyway.
AutoSlash: The One-Stop Discount Shop
AutoSlash has access to monthly rates published by most rental car companies—and we can add discount and coupon codes on top of those low rates to bring the price down even more. If you need a great deal on a long-term car rental, start your search with a quote from AutoSlash. Already booked a great rate on long-term reservation? See if we can beat it.