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One of our major goals with the AutoSlash blog is to help save our fellow travelers time, hassle, and (obviously) money. And when we warn users about geographic restrictions, it's usually about crossing national borders, such as the U.S. to Canada or the U.S. to Mexico. Yet Sixt -- ordinarily one of our favorite rental car companies due to their vehicles and upgrade policies -- introduces state-by-state geographical restrictions, and those are set based upon the state where a vehicle is picked up. Want to show the kids this great country on a multiple-week trip? Unless you're booking that trip as a one-way rental, don't pick Sixt.

How restrictive are Sixt's Geographic Limitations in the U.S.?

Restrictive enough that we've addressed them in two previous posts yet wanted to add a separate reminder through a dedicated blog post. In fact, a car rented in Orlando, Florida should never go far past the Florida Georgia Line.

Not this Florida Georgia Line.

In some ways, we get the geographic restrictions. While Sixt is one of the largest rental car companies in the world, not many of those locations are in the United States. While Fort Lauderdale seemingly has a Sixt location every few blocks, the company only has a presence in 15 U.S. states. The company does have the right to decide where their vehicles are driven and to think about what would happen if there were an accident or mechanical issue in the vast expanse of the country where there aren't any Sixt locations within a day's drive. And elite members in their loyalty program have a "Mobility Guarantee" -- for instance, Sixt promises to replace my car within 4 hours if I have a mechanical breakdown as a perk of my Platinum Sixt status.

Translation: A Sixt car can never be more than 4 hours from a Sixt location, although there's subjectivity in the state-by-state restrictions. For instance, a car rented in New Jersey can be driven to Washington, D.C. while a car rented in Philadelphia cannot be driven in D.C. per Sixt's geographic restrictions.

Viewable on Sixt's website.

The rental car companies are relatively good about disclosures at the time of booking; failing to make appropriate disclosures leads to class action lawsuits. And at the time of booking, renters are presented with Sixt's rules.   

When making a reservation, renters accept the rules.

And those rules do indeed include note the geographic restrictions of the rental.

And those rules include Geographic Restrictions.

Sixt's geographic restrictions vary from almost every other major rental car company in the U.S. For instance, Alamo -- for the same rental period -- says their cars can be driven anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. 

Alamo's policy is far more lenient.

Policy Enforcement and Ramifications

One doesn't want to run afoul of this policy by Sixt -- no one wants to drive thousands of miles and then get stuck paying 50 cents per mile for violating a rule that was disclosed in advance. And the 50 cents per mile is for each mile, not just the miles driven in violation of the rental agreement. We always caution against using Sixt for those colossal "explore the country" trips some of us remember from the back of a station wagon. The most "curious" people tend to ask how Sixt would ever know if these geographic restrictions were violated, so here's how.

Bad things can happen -- if there's an accident or the car has a mechanical breakdown in South Dakota, Sixt's is going to know. If a renter gets a parking ticket or popped by a red-light camera or speed camera in West Virginia, Sixt is going to get a citation in the mail. And then there's Sixt's policy on connected cars; when allowed by law, Sixt can use technology to locate cars within their fleet.

You acknowledge that the Vehicle may be equipped with a telematics device, global positioning satellite (“GPS”) technology, an electronic locator device, and/or an event data recorder. We may find, monitor, or disable the Vehicle through such systems if we deem it necessary, without warning or notice, to the extent permitted by applicable law. Remote monitoring may include the collection of Vehicle data, such as location, odometer, oil life, fuel level, tire pressure, battery charge, diagnostic trouble codes, and other elements that we may deem necessary. You should have no expectation of privacy related to the use of this Vehicle. We are not responsible for the operability of any telematics navigational or other system included with the vehicle. You acknowledge these systems may use cellular telephone, wireless technology, or radio signals to transmit data, and therefore your privacy cannot be guaranteed. You authorize any person’s use or disclosure of or access to location information, automatic crash notification, and operational vehicle reporting conditions of Vehicle as permitted by law. You shall inform any and all drivers and passengers of vehicle of the terms of this section and that you have authorized release of information as provided herein. You agree to release us and agree to indemnify, defend and hold us harmless for any damage to persons or property cause by failure of the telematics device to operate properly, or otherwise arising from the use of the telematics device. Third party telematics service providers are not our agents, employees, or contractors.

We hate to be strict conformists -- donuts around traffic circles at the full-posted speed limit in Sixt's sports cars are fun -- but violating Sixt's geographic restrictions on a round-trip rental is definitely not worth the chance of paying a 50 cent penalty for every mile driven. Just let another company put you in the driver's seat on those rentals. 


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