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            Rental of a car is often an integral part of a business or leisure trip.  I have had extensive experience with both domestic and foreign car rentals.  Here is some general information you need to know before I work on your car rental reservation:


Car types:  Cars are always priced by category.  The initial category is the car class, which relates to either size or special features:  Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Premium, Luxury, Special, Station Wagon or Minivan.  This category can be further modified by 2-door, 4-door, Sport, Convertible or Recreational designators.  Cars can be either automatic or manual transmission; with or without air conditioning.  (Almost all rental cars in the U.S. are automatic with air conditioning; most foreign cars are manual without air conditioning).


Car makes:  Each car company tends to rent certain brands of cars:  Alamo, Avis and National feature General Motors; Hertz and Budget, Ford; Dollar and Thrifty, Chrysler.



            Station Wagon,                        VW Bug, Cozumel Mexico                             Buggy

          Washington State


Gasoline:  Most car rental contracts require you to return the vehicle full.  They offer prepaid fuel plans whereby you purchase a full tank of gas and can return the car on empty.  Obviously, if you are just driving a few miles this is not a good deal.  However, if you are putting on a lot of miles or donít want to hassle with filling up before returning the car, this plan might be for you.  Per gallon prices tend to reflect the local market.


Age:  Most car rental companies require the renter to be at least 25 years old and in possession of a major credit card in his/her own name.  Some companies will rent to younger drivers in certain cities for an additional fee of $10-20/day.  For international rentals, a maximum age of 70 often applies.



                 Mustang                                   Oldsmobile Achieva               Onboard a British Columbia ferry


Additional drivers:  There is often a charge for additional drivers starting at $5/day.


Mileage:  Most rentals feature unlimited mileage.  However, some rentals give you a certain number of ďfreeĒ miles per day and then charge a per mile fee for any additional miles.


One-way rentals:  A one-way rental is renting the car in one city and returning it in another.  I usually use National Car Rental in situations like this.  Most other companies charge drop fees of $50-$200.


Extra equipment:  Ski racks, car seats and luggage racks are often available for an additional charge.  If you are traveling for a week or more with a baby or small child, you might want to bring your own car seat with you as the rental fee is at least $5/day.


      Renting a car in Egypt                        Ferrari 400i                                        Smart Car


Insurance:  Check with your insurance agent to determine what type of coverage you will have when you rent the car.  In some states, the level of coverage you have on your own car carries over to a rental car. Certain credit cards such as Gold and Platinum Visa and MasterCard offer car rental insurance benefits.  One of the best is Diners Club (ask me about enrolling).  If you rent cars at least 7 days a  year and normally purchase the insurance, one of these cards will most likely save you money.

The major components of insurance are Liability, Collision Damage, and Personal Accident and Effects coverage.  Liability coverage protects you in the case of harm to the person or property of others.  If you are not covered under your own insurance, you may purchase minimum state liability insurance from the rental company for about $9/day.

            Collision insurance covers the value of the car.  If you donít have adequate coverage you can purchase it from the car rental company.  Plans with different deductibles are available.  Full coverage is about $13/day.

            Personal Accident and Effects Coverage is a policy that provides immediate emergency care and ambulance service for the renter of the car, and for all passengers riding in the car.  It also

provides protection for your personal belongings from loss or damage caused by theft, fire, explosion, lightning or accident to the rental car.  Reimbursement is guaranteed for most items up to $1000 or a combined total benefit of $2000.  Cameras, including equipment, are limited to a maximum of $250 after each deduction.  Items not covered include coins, currency, contact lenses, jewelry, watches, furs, securities, deeds, tickets and other documents.  Accidental death insurance is also included at $15000 for the renter and $5000 for each passenger in the car up to a maximum of $50000 per accident.  The cost for the coverage is about $5/day.

Note:  all limits and prices above are subject to change.

Please make sure you have adequate insurance coverage when renting a car.


Payment:  Payment is by major credit card in the name of the renter.  A credit card imprint is taken when the car is picked up and the card charged when the car is returned.  Car rental companies often  require a partial or full prepayment upon booking an international rental.  In these instances, cancellation penalties may also apply.




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