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178 posts

Master Geek


# 154864 11-Nov-2014 00:05
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I'm looking at car rental options for U.S. Cars are generally cheap to rent (~ US$160 a week for a sedan) but there's a bunch of insurance tacked on.

So the US$160 comes up to US$360 when you review the booking. The other fees are around $50 (airport concession/tax), so thats another $150.

I see it itemized as Loss Damage Waiver/Liability Insurance Supplement.
I believe this is required for people living outside of U.S. (I got stung with it last time I rented a car in the U.S. about 12 years ago).
Most travel insurance only provides some coverage for car rentals (I read the fine print a couple years ago and it is not comprehensive for car rental).

The smaller/cheaper rental companies (Advantage/Fox/Firefly) don't have options for the charges on the web so don't know what they would sting you.

Is anyone familiar which car rental companies work out the best price overall?  any other useful information before I make a booking.


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  # 1172528 11-Nov-2014 00:09
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US private vehicle insurance policies cover rental cars which is why insurance is not offered by default.

Your travel insurance may cover some or all of the excess as long as you at least take out the insurance.




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178 posts

Master Geek


  # 1172532 11-Nov-2014 01:31
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Yeah I'm not wanting to get out of the insurance but don't want to be stung.

I actually found a quote for $300 (Alamo) but another one was $500 (Budget).

I would be happy with the Alamo one, but I'm wondering if there was more hidden costs that people have been hit with.

 
 
 
 


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  # 1172535 11-Nov-2014 02:49
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We have used Avis and Hertz in the US on four occasions in recent years and never found any hidden costs. Totally positive experience in all cases - unlike Europcar in Oz who were out and out liars.

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  # 1172540 11-Nov-2014 05:57
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I have used Avis as well in the US and they were great to deal with

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  # 1172544 11-Nov-2014 06:24
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We used Avis in the US and it was cheaper as a foreigner even with insurance. I researched rental car companies and all the storied about Fox were that when you arrive they will likely not have the car you booked and the insurance is a killer making them no cheaper than the big companies.

I'd go Avis and book online again as it was the cheapest way.

We went to the counter at our hotel to book, they told us a price so I went onto my Ipad and looked, the price was cheaper so I booked there and then online and they saw our booking come through as soon as we pressed enter!

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Uber Geek


  # 1172569 11-Nov-2014 07:29
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sudo: I'm looking at car rental options for U.S. Cars are generally cheap to rent (~ US$160 a week for a sedan) but there's a bunch of insurance tacked on.

So the US$160 comes up to US$360 when you review the booking. The other fees are around $50 (airport concession/tax), so thats another $150.

I see it itemized as Loss Damage Waiver/Liability Insurance Supplement.
I believe this is required for people living outside of U.S. (I got stung with it last time I rented a car in the U.S. about 12 years ago).
Most travel insurance only provides some coverage for car rentals (I read the fine print a couple years ago and it is not comprehensive for car rental).

The smaller/cheaper rental companies (Advantage/Fox/Firefly) don't have options for the charges on the web so don't know what they would sting you.

Is anyone familiar which car rental companies work out the best price overall?  any other useful information before I make a booking.


You should take LDW/SLI .  I believe LIS is included in the rental contract too, as it is a legal requirement but most rental companies do not seem to advertise this although you can perhaps find it in the fine print. Maybe because it usually does not cover very much at all. 

When hiring a car in the US you just have to accept insurance costs a bomb and budget for it. 

As for hidden charges and queues to get the car and even getting the car you want , US car rental companies are horrible. I complained to Avis head office how I ordered a vehicle of a certain size, then they only had a smaller one and charged me more for it. So, I effectively paid for a downgrade.   I did get a refund but they were awful at the rental depot. 

 

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  # 1172570 11-Nov-2014 07:29
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I use National Car in the US all the time and love their service. I have their executive status so get perks from that, but experience in recent years has been a good one.

You don't need to take out insurance over there if your travel insurance covers this, but need to be fully aware of exactly what your travel insurance does and does not cover. Many travel insurance policies will cover the excess up to a fixed amount (typically somewhere in the vicinity of $3000 or so) which is typically sufficient. US residents don't need insurance as their regular insurance covers rental cars, hence why it's typically hidden on US rental websites.

You just need to be fully aware of what your policy cover is, because there are policies out that such as some by AIG (including their ANZ credit card insurance) which effectively offers no coverage for rental cars despite claiming it does in the policy. They talk about paying any excess or deductible you may be liable for, but then below this have this as a condition -


As part of the hiring arrangement you must take up all comprehensive motor insurance or waivers offered by the rental organisation, whether discretionary or mandatory, against loss or damage to the rental vehicle during the rental period.


I've never come across any rental car company anywhere in the world that doesn't offer insurance, whether it's discretionary or mandatory, meaning unless you take out the insurance offered by the rental car company you won't be covered. With many (I'd probably go as far as saying most) car companies taking out their "comprehensive" cover, it'll reduce your excess down to $0 meaning should you need to claim there would be no need at all for your travel insurance as you won't have an excess to pay.







 
 
 
 


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  # 1172578 11-Nov-2014 07:50
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sbiddle: 
You don't need to take out insurance over there if your travel insurance covers this, but need to be fully aware of exactly what your travel insurance does and does not cover. Many travel insurance policies will cover the excess up to a fixed amount (typically somewhere in the vicinity of $3000 or so) which is typically sufficient. US residents don't need insurance as their regular insurance covers rental cars, hence why it's typically hidden on US rental websites.


You are basically saying you must get the rental cover over there,  because as far as I am aware there is no NZ travel insurance company that covers US car rental insurance.Maybe there are some corporate options, but not to personal travellers. 

Incidentally, travel insurance excess cover is only sufficient if you have actually taken out the LDW/SLI options in the first place. Even then, it may not be enough to cover the LDW excess depending on the version you paid for. 


[edit] This is a reasonable description of US insurance cover. . . 

https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/productservice/index.jsp?targetPage=USHowProtectedAreYou.jsp#Hertz_Liability_Insurance_Supplement_(LIS)

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  # 1172580 11-Nov-2014 07:56
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surfisup1000:
sbiddle: 
You don't need to take out insurance over there if your travel insurance covers this, but need to be fully aware of exactly what your travel insurance does and does not cover. Many travel insurance policies will cover the excess up to a fixed amount (typically somewhere in the vicinity of $3000 or so) which is typically sufficient. US residents don't need insurance as their regular insurance covers rental cars, hence why it's typically hidden on US rental websites.


You are basically saying you must get the rental cover over there,  because as far as I am aware there is no NZ travel insurance company that covers US car rental insurance.Maybe there are some corporate options, but not to personal travellers. 

 



Nope.. What I'm saying is that unless you have something like an AIG policy (that has basically doesn't cover rental cars despite claiming it does) you'll be covered.

Like any insurance you need to be fully aware of what it does and doesn't cover and what excess charges are. Rental cars in the US are no different to anywhere else in the world, except for the fact insurance is always an option rather than included (as it is in some places) because regular US insurance policies also extend to rental cars. If you don't understand ask the insurance company before you go.







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  # 1172588 11-Nov-2014 08:06
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sbiddle:
surfisup1000:
sbiddle: 
You don't need to take out insurance over there if your travel insurance covers this, but need to be fully aware of exactly what your travel insurance does and does not cover. Many travel insurance policies will cover the excess up to a fixed amount (typically somewhere in the vicinity of $3000 or so) which is typically sufficient. US residents don't need insurance as their regular insurance covers rental cars, hence why it's typically hidden on US rental websites.


You are basically saying you must get the rental cover over there,  because as far as I am aware there is no NZ travel insurance company that covers US car rental insurance.Maybe there are some corporate options, but not to personal travellers. 

 



Nope.. What I'm saying is that unless you have something like an AIG policy (that has basically doesn't cover rental cars despite claiming it does) you'll be covered.

Like any insurance you need to be fully aware of what it does and doesn't cover and what excess charges are. Rental cars in the US are no different to anywhere else in the world, except for the fact insurance is always an option rather than included (as it is in some places) because regular US insurance policies also extend to rental cars.




I do not agree, if you do not take LDW/SLI options you will not be covered for full loss of the vehicle. You might not even be covered by your travel insurance excess clause because there is no excess if you do not take out the local insurance. 

eg, here is the clause from National car rental in the US...

Optional Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). LDW IS NOT INSURANCE.
THE PURCHASE OF LDW IS OPTIONAL AND NOT REQUIRED IN ORDER TO RENT A VEHICLE. Renter may purchase optional LDW from Owner for an additional fee. If Renter purchases LDW, Owner agrees, subject to the actions that invalidate LDW listed below, to contractually waive Renter's responsibility for all or part of the cost of damage to, loss or theft of, Vehicle or any part or accessory and related costs regardless of fault or negligence, depending on the LDW plan chosen.


If you do not take out LDW, you will pay the entire cost of the loss.  Even your personal travel insurance excess clause may not apply because there is no excess if you do not take LDW, just a demand for the entire value of the car. And insurance companies may use this as a loophole to not pay. 



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Uber Geek


  # 1172604 11-Nov-2014 08:47
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I agree with surfisup, LDW and SLI is a must.

I also found that:

 

  • All travel insurance policies do NOT cover you for 3rd party liability if you're in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle
  • Some of the .COM websites of the big companies ask if you're a US resident, and include LDW and SLI in the quote if you're not
  • Most of the .UK equivalents and third party brokers websites do include LDW/SLI as standard for non-US residents and are a lot cheaper.

Try running a dummy quote through ALAMO.COM and ALAMO.CO.UK  for the same type of car and the same period and note the price difference.  (ALthough I do thnk you need to select the pre-pay option for the latter.  Also voucher code APPC10PP is still valid for a further 10% off at ALAOMO.CO.UK)




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Ultimate Geek


  # 1172610 11-Nov-2014 08:56
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I would highly recommend booking via traveljigsaw.co.nz (a 3rd party agency). I rented 4 cars in the States recently and used them for every booking.

 

 

 

They include all necessary insurances so you don't have to worry about working out what is required, and will usually cost around half the price of booking directly with the rental companies.

You choose your options (pickup/dropoff/dates/car type etc) and they book you in with one of the major rental agencies (hertz, alamo etc). You don't know who you're being booked with until the booking is confirmed, however if for any reason you want to change company, you can just email them specifying the company you prefer and they will adjust the price accordingly (by default they give you the cheapest option).



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  # 1172613 11-Nov-2014 08:58
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Yip if you don't have any LDW with National you're liable for the full cost. A LDW 3000 option is also available which sits between the full LDW cost and none.

Some rental car companies do include a base LDW charge, and LDW does also vary by state. Where you book will also determine what may and may not be covered (ie inside the US or outside)

My point is that you really do have to be fully aware of what insurance does and doesn't cover. Taking out full LDW isn't necessarily needed if you have travel insurance, but you have to understand what is and isn't covered.



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  # 1172618 11-Nov-2014 09:10
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floydbloke: I agree with surfisup, LDW and SLI is a must.

I also found that:

 

  • All travel insurance policies do NOT cover you for 3rd party liability if you're in charge of a mechanically propelled vehicle
  • Some of the .COM websites of the big companies ask if you're a US resident, and include LDW and SLI in the quote if you're not
  • Most of the .UK equivalents and third party brokers websites do include LDW/SLI as standard for non-US residents and are a lot cheaper.

Try running a dummy quote through ALAMO.COM and ALAMO.CO.UK  for the same type of car and the same period and note the price difference.  (ALthough I do thnk you need to select the pre-pay option for the latter.  Also voucher code APPC10PP is still valid for a further 10% off at ALAOMO.CO.UK)


Your location or booking site plays a big part in what's included - if you book vehicles on US sites or within the US you'll typically find no LDW or SLI is included. Make it clear you're not a US resident or select a booking country outside the US and you'll find it's typically included. This is certainly the case with National car, which is why I don't book on the US site - book on the UK site and you get full LDW and SLI included and basically pay the same (or in some cases) a cheaper price than the US site.





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Master Geek


  # 1172623 11-Nov-2014 09:16
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Jigsaw looks good ... NZ$305 (US$240) for a full size at Alamo/7 days including the insurances.
Thanks for that!

AirNZ came in at $390 (US$300), then the cheapest all-inclusive with rental companies direct was about $US305 and the Hertz/Avis were about $US360.
The rest of the companies (that I had to dig to find extra costs) got to/above US$500

And I've currently got the Platinum ANZ card, so sounds like that its insurance will fail.
Interestingly I read the insurance fine print on the BNZ/Globalplus card, a couple years ago, and that was crap.

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