Car Rental Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Car Rental Savers provides answers to your most frequently asked car rental questions.

Car Rental FAQS Menu:

What do I need to rent a car?
How do I get a Great Price on my car rental?
Should I sign up for car rental Email Programs?
Tell me about car rental Corporate/Contract ID's.
Tell me about car rental coupons.
When is the best time to book my car rental?
Are there last minute specials for car rental?
My car rental quote says 'Your Rate may Change'?
Do I need car rental insurance?
Do I need a credit card to book car rental?
Can I use a debit card to book car rental?
Can I pay for my car rental with cash?
Can under 25's rent cars?
Should I consider off airport locations for car rental?
How should I book if I am coming to America?
Should I use Priceline or Hotwire for car rental?
Should I use Orbitz or Expedia for car rental?
Should I join the car rental clubs?
What is an early or late return fee and can I avoid it?
What are taxes, fees and surcharges?
What are cookies, and what do they do to my rates?



What do I need to rent a car?
Generally the three requirements are; a major credit/debit card in the primary drivers name, a drivers license and to be older than 21. There are exceptions to requirements one and three. Please see relevant FAQs for more information.
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Getting a great price:
Everyone wants to get a great deal on their car rental. These tips will help you realize the dream. Getting a great deal is a four step process: enter your times and dates on our home page to get an idea of prices. Check under our discounts and destinations tabs to see if any apply to your rental. Check prices on any applicable page. Find the lowest and book as soon as possible, then check back on a regular basis as rates constantly change. Lastly, check our home page specials for any discounts that apply to your rental.
Booking does not require a credit card and can be canceled or modified at any time.

Additional Tips:
Think outside the box, sometimes the prices are just too high and you have to look for unique solutions. Have you tried alternate locations? Airport and off airport locations can have much different rates, either one can be cheaper. Have you considered a non major car rental company? If you have a big group, can you get two cars instead of that pricy minivan. Can you modify your rental period? Changing your pick up or drop off time by 30 minutes can change your rate. Car rental companies that specialize in business travel may have better weekend rates.
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Should I sign up for Email Programs?
We consolidate all the best coupons from the rental agencies email programs. Sign up for our email program and we will provide a weekly list of all the new coupons that have come out across the web.
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Corporate/Contract ID's:
Corporate or contract ID's are offered by car rental companies to external companies or organizations. These are negotiated contracts designed to give specific benefits to employees of that company or members of the organization. Does your company offer an employee rate? Are you a member of an association such as AAA? Do you have a VISA? Many groups give discounts to their customers/members in the form of a corporate or contract ID. These ID's, at a minimum, generally will save you 10% plus on your rental. They can often be combined with coupons to get an even better rate. We only recommend using Contract ID's that you qualify for. There are publicly available ID's, so I would look for these. These ID's also often work during busy periods when coupons are blacked out.
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Coupon codes:
Almost every car rental company offers some type of coupon that can help you save money on your car rental. Coupon codes vary from free days, car class upgrades, money off, to percentage off. We recommend you print coupons when possible but with the advent of ecoupons many do not need to be printed out. For our coupons that require printing we provide links when available. Coupons are often blacked out at the busiest times so they may not work on your rental even though the coupon has not expired. They also may be blacked out at certain locations only.
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When is the best time to book my car rental?
Car rental rates are constantly changing. Many factors go into pricing and prices can change even more than airline prices. Most car rental companies have large pricing departments that review and modify rates on a constant basis. That is why it is so important to keep checking rates. We recommend booking as soon as possible and avoiding prepaying for your booking. Booking with us allows you to cancel without cost 99% of the time (exceptions apply to luxury or unique vehicle classes). So book early and check back often.
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Are there Last Minute Specials for car rental?
As in other industries last minute specials are available from car rental companies. These specials become available more often in low travel periods when the rental companies have excess inventory. Generally, they become available about two weeks prior to rental. Alamo, National, Avis and Budget offer last minute specials on their websites. We feature the best on our site and include coupons to use with them when available.
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My car rental quote says 'Your price may change'?
The overall price of your car rental may change only due to taxes, fees and surcharges being modified. The actual rate quoted by the car rental company will not change. This means your total price at most will change by a couple of dollars. These taxes, fees and surcharges are passed on to the car rental company by the city, state or airport. For example, if Orlando decides to build a new stadium and decided to pass the cost onto car renters, it would be added to your price in the form of fees. This may happen in between reservation and rental so your end price can change.
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Do I need car rental insurance?
The answer is yes, but you most likely do not need to buy it from the car rental company. There are two possible ways that you are already covered for your car rental. First, check your existing automobile policy. It may cover your car rental in exactly the same way it covers your personal vehicle. We recommend calling your agent to check coverage. Secondly, check with your credit card company. They may provide all the coverage you need or even provide secondary coverage that will cover your deductible from your personal policy. We recommend Blue from American Express or the Visa Signature Card. They both provide excellent travel coverage, American Express also offer premium rental protection from $19.99 per rental that might be worth looking into. Remember, you must pay with your card and decline the car rental companies coverage.
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Do I need a credit card to book car rental?
To book you do not need a credit card. To pick up a rental car you need a credit card or a major debit card in the drivers name. You don't actually have to pay with the card but it required for most major companies in most locations. Some smaller companies are more flexible and some off airport locations may make individual arrangements with you. Note: key ring credit cards are not accepted for booking car rental, you must bring the full sized version.
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Can I use a debit card to book car rental?
You do not need a card to book but you can generally use a major debit card (Visa, Mastercard) to pick up your rental vehicle. Beware, each company has different policies regarding debit card use. Some such as Budget may require a second form of identification, (such as a return ticket or utility bill) or will run a credit check or put a big hold on your card. Policies vary by company you should check prior to your final booking decision.
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Can I pay for my car rental with cash?
Policies vary by company but you can often pay in cash after securing your rental with a debit or credit card.
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Can under 25s rent cars?
The answer is yes. Major car rental agencies allow anyone over 21 to rent a vehicle. Most of the time there are additional fees, they average about $25 per day but in some states can be up to $75 per day. Certain contract ID's will waive this underage fee. Under 21s will have a more difficult time in renting but some of the smaller agencies will allow 18-21s to rent from them. It varies by location, if you have difficulties try our booking service and we will do the looking for you.
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Should I consider off airport locations for car rental?
Airport and off airport locations can have much different rates, either one can be cheaper. It depends on supply and demand, airport locations have more vehicles but also more customers. Airport locations also generally have higher fees so some savings can come from avoiding these fees.
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How should I book if I am coming to America?
Use an aggregator or car rental companies site in your country of origin especially if you need insurance. You may find a better rate in the US but insurance prices will most likely be much higher, wiping out any price savings. Most non US insurance policies do not cover driving in the US and most non US based credit cards do not cover US driving. Therefore, purchasing insurance is almost always required and getting an all inclusive package is generally the best method. We now offer deals for our overseas customers that include insurance and are very competitive. Feel free to try our International site.
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Should I use Priceline or Hotwire for car rental?
The advantage of using Priceline or Hotwire for your rental is sometimes you can get a very good price. We have often found that you can get just as good a rate using discounts available on this site. There are some significant disadvantages of using these services: you have to pay in advance. This limits your flexibility, you can not cancel and if a better rate comes along you are stuck. You do not get to select your rental agency. They do not support express service options or frequent flyer programs. At busy airports lines can be long.
Our advice if you do go down this route is to wait until the last minute, check betterbidding.com for advice, and only book if your savings are significant.
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Should I use Orbitz or Expedia for car rental?
These companies provide a good comparison of rates but do not focus on car rental. They generally only provide base rates. The only time we recommend using them for car rental is if you are purchasing the rental as part of a package that makes financial sense.
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Should I join the car rental clubs?
Join, join, join. There is no reason not to join. Some of the clubs have fees but you can often find free links to join and they always seem to have seasonal free joining promotions. The benefits vary by company but can include by passing the counter, free rental days or other discounts.
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What is an early or late return fee and can I avoid it?
The simple answer is make sure your pickup and drop off times are correct. Always give yourself plenty of time to drop off your vehicle. Most companies will give you 29 minutes leeway in returning late. After that the additional charges begin with an hourly fee then a daily fee. The early return fee varies by company, some companies will charge a small fee plus completely change your rate. The justification is that you violated the terms of your contract. While technically true, this is not fair. I would ask to speak to a manager before leaving, most will waive the additional charge. If they do not contact customer service.
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What are taxes, fees and surcharges?
These are additional items added to your base rate. On average they make up about 25% of your total cost. These costs are passed through to you from the airport, city, state and federal government. They can be reduced by renting from off airport locations.
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What are cookies, and what do they do to my rates?
Cookies are small pieces of information downloaded to your computer by various websites. These are used for tracking and remembering information about each visitor. In car rental terms a cookie may remember a discount code you used or a rate you have received. Dollar and Thrifty use cookies for this purpose; when shopping their websites delete cookies between visits.
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