Another car rental USA thread...

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Warks

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Yes there have been several threads on this in the past but they all seem a bit old now so perhaps we can update with the latest status.

Some previous threads:

http://www.frequentflyer.com.au/community/your-questions/us-car-rental-rates-ridiculously-8669.html
http://www.frequentflyer.com.au/community/car-hire-and-taxis/car-rental-in-the-usa-8244.html
http://www.frequentflyer.com.au/community/your-questions/us-car-rental-in-seattle-6551.html

I feel compelled to write as we (family of four) are off to Canada (BC) in September and are flying into SEA (via LAX) then driving across the border spending three weeks in BC (and just into AB).
I normally hire (rent) cars with Avis here and am a "Preferred Member" which doesn't mean a whole lot but it saves time when picking up a car. I am looking to hire a standard size car as we will have luggage and the four of us. There doesn't seem to be that much of a saving when you go down a few sizes in cars anyway unless you go for the smallest Ford Fiesta type.

Everything is in $US. Looking at Avis I am taking all the offered insurances which, along with taxes, doubles the cost of the rental. I did find out something very interesting though.

21 days rental of a full-sized standard car is $812 plus taxes & 'surcharges' = $1237.
Plus insurance: Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) = $587
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) = $63
Personal Effects Protection (PEP) = $40.95
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI) = $245.49

Total cost estimate = $2174

21 days rental of a full-sized premium car is $987 plus taxes & 'surcharges' = $1469.
Plus insurance: Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) = NIL (included)
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) = $63
Personal Effects Protection (PEP) = $40.95
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI) = $245.49

Total cost estimate = $1818

While you pay more to rent the 'premium' car they include LDW so the nett saving is $356. This is something to look out for. The next classes of car up also include the LDW but the rental charges are much higher making it unviable.

What I was wondering is which of these insurances do you really need? I'm looking at the ALI here - is that excess reduction?
I'm also wondering what is covered if the car rental is paid for using a Gold MasterCard (CBA). There's that much fine print in the T&C that I need Lasik surgery now!

I am also wondering about travelling mainly in Canada on USA insurance. I only just thought of that. Assume it's all reciprocal but have no idea.

What else to look out for? Thanks.
 

serfty

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Most standard travel insurances will already provide some level of cover for:
  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
  • Personal Effects Protection (PEP)
Check the PDS's.

Hard to get the details of the isurances up on the web. Note there is mention of roadside assist type insurance - not sure where that comes under.
 

BAM1748

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As serfty notes, some items are included in your regular travel insurance.

I'd go for the collision damage wavier only, but some companies include this in the rental, such as Alamo and National.
 

file51

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Based on the info provided, if you were to use a wholesaler, like Car Hire worldwide : netflights.com you will save a bundle, and all the taxes, fees, duties, coverages are included.

Using the dates 9/9/09 to 30/9/09 with netflights you could get a full size car like a Dodge Charger for AU$975 all inclusive.

This is with Thrifty.

I van vouch that everything is covered and everytime I have rented a car in Seattle so far this year (3 times so far, and back in 2 weeks time) I have not had an issue, and on every occasion managed to score good upgrades as well (they have a load of SUV's sitting idle at most times, and I am right at home in a Jeep Commander or Dodge Durango - which may be an added bonus if you have family in tow).

Insurances are fully covered over the border as well.

HTH
 
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file51

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I should also add, aside from the $1,000 saving, the Thrifty lot is off-airport which IMO is a lot easier to get into the flow of things finding your way to the interstate. Avis is based in the main carpark structure opposite the terminals
 

Warks

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Thanks all and especially file51 for that link. I plugged in my dates (mid Sept to early Oct) and the similar car to what I'd look at on Avis and came up with 494 pounds (pounds?) which is about $1000 and half or so what I was quoted. Also says all insurances and taxes included as you said. They email the quote if you don't want to book right away.

Wow. AFF still keeps on delivering! :D
 

file51

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Thanks all and especially file51 for that link. I plugged in my dates (mid Sept to early Oct) and the similar car to what I'd look at on Avis and came up with 494 pounds (pounds?) which is about $1000 and half or so what I was quoted. Also says all insurances and taxes included as you said. They email the quote if you don't want to book right away.

Wow. AFF still keeps on delivering! :D

You are welcome.

Just think, that extra $800-$1000 saving can really help with paying for things, especially for a family of four.

I have also earned QFF points on the past 3-4 rentals as well, which is only 700 points or thereabouts, but every little bit helps.

If you need any pointers or tips regarding the entire Northwest region (Seattle, etc) or lower half of BC, AB I am more than happy to oblige, it is almost my second home.
 

Maca44

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I mentioned this in a previous thread that Warks started, but depending on the traffic conditions at Peace Arch boarder crossing it might save you heaps of time to cross into Canada from a different point. Drive north along I5 and turn onto 539th near Bellingham, continue along 539 until you cross the boarder at Aldergrove, continue through to Canada 1 and then turn left and head into Vancouver. I use this route regularly and it saves a lot of time.
 

file51

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I mentioned this in a previous thread that Warks started, but depending on the traffic conditions at Peace Arch boarder crossing it might save you heaps of time to cross into Canada from a different point. Drive north along I5 and turn onto 539th near Bellingham, continue along 539 until you cross the boarder at Aldergrove, continue through to Canada 1 and then turn left and head into Vancouver. I use this route regularly and it saves a lot of time.

Ditto to the above, especially during morning and evening weekday times.

Although, the Peace Arch and surrounding gardens is a good view, especially compared to most, if not all of the other border road crossings.
 

Warks

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Oy! Who moved this thread? There wasn't even a "Moved" post sitting there in Open Discussion.


Anyway... yes I remember Maca44's advice about the border crossing. As we're heading to Burnaby it makes even more sense. That's where the rels live so we'll have a fair bit of inside info although an outsider often has a better perspective than a local.

We arrive in Seattle fairly late (7pm) after travelling for who knows how long from SYD. Thinking of just dossing in the nearest hotel and moving on slowly the next day. I guess it's best to pick up the car then and there although we could grab it the next day and save a day's rental.
 

odysseus

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Note there is mention of roadside assist type insurance - not sure where that comes under.
As far as I know, that's standard with the car rental (not quite roadside assistance but emergency assistance). Also, if you're a local NRMA member, you were automatically covered under reciprocal programs over there last I knew.
 

Tassie

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Not sure about Ca but for many states in the US there is no such thing as an excess for car rental car insurance. So do not think your travel insurance will cover you as it does in Australia. In other words you will have to pay for the entire cost of replacement or repair up to the full cost of the car. Everytime I have hired a car (always in CT), the agencies don't mention insurance because Americans all have it included in their home car insurance and so they assume everyone does. You have to ask about it and then - as stated - it doubles the cost of the rental.

I now hire through Nova car hire which also includes full coverage in their standard package. They are a broker and in the US it is usually Alamo which works out as their cheapest rate. The last time it saved me about US$1200 on a 5 week hire.

What is really frightening is that even major insurance companies and travel agents here don't know about the excess issue and still advise their clients that they are covered if they take out travel insurance with a rental car excess coverage.
 

Warks

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So if that's the case what does LDW and ALI cover?:?:
 

NM

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So if that's the case what does LDW and ALI cover?:?:
A very good explanation available here.

Here is an extract:
The expensive “insurance” offered by the car rental companies is frequently not insurance at all. The protections offered are usually waivers. In legal terms, a waiver is the relinquishment or forfeiture of a right: the rental company waives its full right, or portion thereof, to demand payment for loss or damage to its car during the rental period.


The distinction between "waiver" and "insurance" is critical in one important respect. In all states, only licensed agents can legally sell insurance or advise, interpret and counsel about what a policy does and does not cover. Anyone can sell a waiver, including those who know little or nothing about insurance. If a rental agent is not a currently licensed "P&C" (property-casualty) agent, do not rely on their judgments on vehicle insurance issues, or expect their opinions to have legal weight.

These are the common coverage options offered by vehicle rental firms

* Loss damage waiver (LDW) or collision damage waiver (CDW). Generally these mean the same thing. Drivers who select and pay for this coverage are insulated from the rental car firm collecting for damage to or theft of the rented vehicle, as well as towing expenses, storage and administrative fees, and loss of use charges associated with an accident.

CDW and LDW only cover the rented vehicle. These waivers do not protect against damage to other cars or property, or for bodily injury. Full LDW is expensive, but since it is essentially a zero-deductible bumper-to-bumper physical damage policy, it is generally effective in indemnifying against a damage or theft loss. When purchasing this waiver coverage, inquire if there are conditions or exceptions. For example, CDW may be void if an accident involves speeding, an unauthorized driver, or driving off road, on unpaved roads or while intoxicated.
 

Warks

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Thanks NM. From what I read on the link it seems that SLI (which is probably ALI) is something like a green slip plus third party property 'insurance'.

LDW or CDW is something that may or may not be insurance - you pay them money and you might be okay if they feel like it?

Is don't ever have an accident the lesson to take out of all this?
 

odysseus

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Here's Avis' definition of "Additional Liability Insurance" though others call it "Supplemental..."

Renters may purchase Additional Liability Insurance (ALI) at the time of rental. ALI provides additional protection for bodily injury, death or property damage and increase the coverage limits to $1 million. When ALI is purchased, Avis always will provide the Financial Responsibility Limits (FRL) on a primary basis.

Its purpose is as you surmised. Note the cap on it of $1m.
 

auriga

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I have used netflights for a rental in Canada. No problems, but then, I did not have to claim anything.
 

Warks

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I was in the middle of booking with Thrifty through Netflights when I happened to spot this in the T&C:

Driving Restrictions

Driving into Canada is only permitted when vehicles are rented from the following locations and upon approval by the depot manager. Driving in to Canada without prior approval will render all insurance cover null and void. No additional charge is applicable.
One way rental into Canada permitted from the following depots Boston Airport Denver Airport Los Angeles Airport Newark Airport Detroit Airport Oakland Airport JFK Airport Philadelphia Airport San Francisco Airport La Guadia Airport

Note how Seattle, probably the most logical place you'd hire a car and take into Canada, is missing from that list? But you can take it from LAX?

This changes things. I'm looking at Alamo now through Netflights which does cost a hundred quid more (dunno why in pounds).
 

straitman

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I was in the middle of booking with Thrifty through Netflights when I happened to spot this in the T&C:



Note how Seattle, probably the most logical place you'd hire a car and take into Canada, is missing from that list? But you can take it from LAX?

This changes things. I'm looking at Alamo now through Netflights which does cost a hundred quid more (dunno why in pounds).
Warks,

Thanks for that as I had missed it and was about to book a car for Seattle pickup that would have been driven into Canada.

I think I'll send them an email.
 
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