Prep and Pack

What You Need to Rent a Car

If you’re planning a fabulous vacation this year, chances are you’re probably renting a car for a portion of your trip. So before you hit the reserve button on a rental car agency’s website consider your options. And here’s what you need to rent a car for your next getaway.  

What You Need to Rent a Car?

  • Valid U.S. drivers license
  • International Drivers License for international destinations. Head to AAA to get one, regardless if you have a AAA account. 
  • Insurance coverage 
  • Clean driving record
  • Credit Card 
  • Age limitations for younger drivers. Most agencies in the U.S. require renters to be 25+ or incur a young driver fee.

How to Get Insurance Coverage 

Don’t wait until you reach the rental car counter to figure out how much insurance you need for your rental car. The car agencies want you to use their expensive liability coverage.  

If you already own a car and have your own auto policy, it can be used for your rental car. Though remember to call your auto insurance provider to confirm coverage before your trip. 

And there’s another option, purchasing additional insurance coverage through a third party. offers affordable coverage starting at $11.90 per day and it’s compatible with all licensed rental car companies. So the major rental agencies like Enterprise, Hertz and Budget honor the coverage but so do smaller agencies like Sixt, Europcar and Ace. 

Get up to $1 million in liability coverage. Customers can buy Bonzah insurance online via its website or iPhone app and get instant insurance confirmation. 

Bonzah offers rental car damage insurance. Get Roamright Auto Rental Insurance Plus with $35,000 damage coverage due to collision, theft and vandalism. And this covers damage from windstorm, fire, hail or flood and any damage out of your control. 

Bonzah also offers supplemental liability Insurance for rental cars with $1 million U.S.  in coverage per accident. And that’s $200,000 U.S. coverage per person. 

Rental Cars and Toll Roads

As the driver, you are responsible for the tolls occurred during your trip. And unfortunately, the U.S. doesn’t offer a service that covers the entire country’s toll roads. That would be easy. 

As it is, each state manages, or contracts out, its toll roads. And cashless toll roads (the roads without collection points along the route) are calculated by the car and not the driver. So the rental car agency gets and pays the bill. 

Then the rental agencies pass on the charges to the renter. Of course, you, the renter, incur a convenience charge. And those charges range wildly from agency to agency. 

So if you’re concerned with racking up toll charges. Avoid toll roads and the easiest way to do that is to program your preference into Apple Maps, Google Maps or Waze. Each offers an option to avoid toll roads. 

If you’re based on the East Coast, chances are you already have a EZ Pass Transponder. You can use your personal transponder in your rental car in 15 states in the eastern portion of the U.S. 

Where to Find Inexpensive Rental Cars

  • Consider an off-airport location. Convenience sometimes comes with a up charge. Do a bit of research and check out those other locations that might rent for a lower rate. 
  • Sign-up for rental car agency’s email list. That’s where you’ll find discount rates. 
  • Look for discounts available through your credit cards. 
  • Costco or Sam’s Club both offer discounts with membership. 
  • Consider a relocation. Many rental companies need to move cars seasonal so find crazy low daily rentals to drive cars one way to popular destinations, like Orlando. This can be done for RVs too. 

Need a Specific Make or Model

Mainline rental agencies don’t rent specific cars on their websites and rely on vehicle categories. That way, the rental agencies can offer a larger inventory to potential renters. 

So if you’re a traveler that wants a specific manufacturer or model, it’s nearly impossible to be satisfied. Though consider that rents Audis in 20 metro markets, from New York City to Austin, Texas, to Los Angeles. 

Its inventory is exclusively Audi with options like the A4 sedan, the Q5 and Q7 SUVs and even a A5 cabriolet. And extras come free like carseats and gear racks. 

Do’s and Don’ts of Rental Cars 

  • Do look for the closest gas station so you can fill up when returning your rental car.
  • Don’t prepay for gas from the rental agency. 
  • Do give yourself extra time to get back to the airport and check-in. 
  • Don’t forget to examine your rental car before departing the rental agency’s parking lot.
  • Do take photos of the damage on the rental car when you pick it up along with the odometer readings before and after you drive. 
Read More:
All The Road Trip Snacks 
100 Items to Pack for a Road Trip

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by

Don't get surprised with crazy charges from your rental car. Get all the tips and hints to avoid common rental car agency charges. Including places to find insurance along with places that rent cars and RVs for $1 a day. #RentalCar #Roadtrip What you need to know to rent a car | How to avoid excessive charges when renting cars

Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

Comments are closed.