cheap long term car rentals

Need a rental car for more than a month? Easier--and pricier--said than done. While a rental car company may quote you thousands to rent for a few months, you may find that your personal car insurance won't cover you.

But fear not. Our handy guide will help you find both the car--and affordable insurance--you need.

 

4 Options for Long-Term Car Rentals

 

When it comes to renting a car for more than a month, your options generally fall into four categories. You can rent from a traditional rental car company, rent from a ride-sharing company like Turo, rent from a subscription service like Canvas, or pick up an unwanted car lease.

 

Long-Term Rental from a Car Rental Company

 

Renting a car long-term from the major rental companies can be expensive. Most rental companies offer discounted long-term rates that are lower than their weekly rates and may also include discounted insurance packages, but the overall price is still high.

Pros:

  • Good selection
  • Well-maintained vehicles
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Options for add-ons like insurance and roadside assistance

Cons:

  • Lots of fine print with potential for "gotcha!" charges
  • Often more expensive than other options, especially if you purchase add-ons

 

Long-Term Rental from Turo

 

Turo is the Airbnb of car sharing, a peer-to-peer marketplace where anyone aged 21 or older can find people willing to rent their cars for a period that can range from a day to up to a year.

Pros:

  • Huge selection
  • Feels non-corporate, like borrowing a car from a friend
  • Significantly less fine print than a traditional car rental company
  • Comprehensive collision and liability insurance is available
  • Easier for young drivers under age 25
  • Personal insurance is not a requirement, however you may be required to buy Turo insurance if you choose a high-end car
  • Some owners offer long-term discounts

Cons:

  • Not necessarily cheaper than rental car companies
  • Banned in some states, including New York
  • Inconsistent car quality and degree of maintenance
  • Does not allow credit card insurance coverage and Turo insurance can be pricey
  • Only available in the U.S., Canada and Germany
 

Long-Term Car Rental from Canvas

 

Canvas is a new startup backed by Ford that offers "seamless, online car reservations." The company purchases Ford vehicles coming off a lease and bundles them with insurance, maintenance coverage, and roadside assistance, then rents them out on a short- or long-term subscription basis.

Pros:

  • Cheaper than renting from a rental car company or Turo
  • Vehicles are in good shape
  • All-Inclusive pricing includes insurance, routine maintenance, and roadside assistance
  • 3-day get-it-right guarantee gives you time to find the right car for a long-term stint
  • Flexibility allows for making changes to mileage, adding drivers, and so on
  • No limit to how long you can rent

Cons:

  • So far only available in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area (but expanding to more locations soon)
  • Limited to select Ford and Lincoln models
 

Long-Term Car Lease Transfer

 

If you're looking for a car for just a few months, it might be best to avoid rentals altogether and pick up an unwanted car lease.

LeaseTrader and Swap-a-Lease are online marketplaces designed to connect folks who are looking for a lease with those wanting to get out of one. Both services tend to list cars with many months left, but you can find short-term leases, too.

Pros:

  • Dirt-cheap offers from folks desperation to unload their leases
  • Your existing car insurance typically covers your "new" leased car
  • Generally newer, well-maintained cars
  • Cons:

  • The lease transfer problem can be long and complicated
  • Associated costs, such as car transportation, can be daunting
  • Requires lots of homework to find good deal and complete the transfer process
  • Some leases have restricted mileage
  • Gotchas can include leases with few miles left or crazy down payments.
 

Comparison of Long-Term Rental Options

 

We did some comparison shopping in a test market for a long-term rental prices. For apples-to-apples consistency, we looked at options in the Los Angeles market, at off-airport locations, with standard-sized vehicles and the same three-month rental period. We also included insurance and roadside assistance. For the lease transfers, we analyzed sedan leases with 3-5 months left from LeaseTrader.

Rental Companies Turo Canvas Lease Transfers
Total Monthly Cost (rate + insurance, roadside, etc.) $1482 $1574 $761 $697
Insurance $437

Doesn't include liability
$450 (Premium Plan)

Includes liability
Included, with liability Your personal policy
Roadside Assistance $245 Dispatch included (service is on you) Included Included by some leasing companies. Check specifics of the lease agreement.
Extra Fees None None Subscription: $155/mo for 3 mos Transfer fees: $300

Transportation: $300

Service fees: $285
Mileage Limits Almost never Depends on listing You select mileage plan See lease agreement
Tips Liability coverage is an add-on. Personal car insurance might cover this.

Use AutoSlash to slash your rates.

Find out if you can waive rental company insurance with your credit card or personal car insurance. Or opt for cheaper collision coverage from Sure.
You are renting from someone looking for extra income.

It takes time to find a good deal, but can be worth it.

You communicate directly with the owner.

Fees for late returns and excess mileage.
Only in LA and San Francisco (for now).

All-inclusive pricing covers insurance, maintenance and roadside assistance.

Fleet is limited to select Ford and Lincoln models.
Transfer process can be long and complicated.

Requires more research than other options.

Negotiating can be worthwhile. Look for cash incentives.

Look locally to avoid huge car shipping fees.

Transfer fees range from $0 to $650.
General Vibe Standard big company feel Feels like renting from a friend More relaxed than rental car companies Can feel burdensome due to legalese

 

Note: This comparison shop is meant to illuminate the issues involved in determining the best deal. Test results in this market may be different than results in other markets or for other dates.

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