Welcome to RentACar.org
There are many questions to answer when deciding to rent a car. One of them is, who to rent from? In addition to the traditional rental car firms like Avis, Budget, Hertz and National there are new ways to rent cars springing up. One is Zipcar. This is a car membership company where you can get a car in various convenient locations in large cities like Chicago. You only pay for the time you rent the vehicle and insurance is included.
Rental Car Requirements
Age- In most cases, you cannot rent a car if you are not at least 21. Even if you are between 21 and 24, you might have to meet certain other requirements or restrictions. No matter what age, you will have to have a valid driver’s license.
Driving Record- Most companies do not check driving records. However, they reserve the right to do so in the contract. They will not rent if you have too many moving violation convictions, accidents or a DUI within a certain period of time.
Other Drivers- Most of the time other drivers are acceptable as long as an extra fee is paid.
Drivers with Disabilities- Car rental companies do have cars equipped with equipment to assist drivers with disabilities. They are available for no extra charge.
Fuel- Rental car rates do not include fuel expenses. There are three options to pay for fuel: pay in advance for a full tank and bring the car back empty; bring the car back full; pay the fuel service charge if you bring the car back less than full. (Note: Rental car companies prefer you pay for the fuel yourself.)
Fees and Taxes- You might see charges such as an Energy Recovery Fee (ERF), and other fees that are mandated by federal, state or local entities.
Pets- Housebroken pets are ok. If they cause damage though, you might be charged an extra fee.
Days to Rent- Rental car companies receive a great portion of their revenue during the weekdays with business travel. So, on the weekends you can usually find better rates because the demand for cars has decreased. In addition, the longer you keep the car, the lower the rates will be.
Car Availability- Usually you cannot pick a make and model to reserve although the company may try to make an accommodation for you. You select by car size (mid-size, full-size, economy, etc.)
Types of Cars- Most car rental agencies offer standard American cars. However, you can also rent luxury vehicles, SUVs, and hybrids.
Options and Accessories- Most of the time you can get a car with a GPS, toddler seats, booster seats, ski racks and other accessories to help make your rental experience more comfortable for you.
Where Can I Drive- At certain locations, you might be prohibited to drive on certain roads because of their poor condition. Also, some locations might not allow you to cross state lines or Mexico and Canada without certain requirements. For example, you might have to buy Mexican Automobile Liability Insurance if you plan to drive the vehicle into Mexico.
Cancellation- Usually, you can cancel without penalty at anytime. However, in some situations if you cancel within 48 hours, you may incur a cancellation fee.
Late Return Policy- There is a 29-minute grace period for returns. For the next hour, hourly rates apply. After an hour and a half, full day charges might apply.
Car Return- You can usually pick up and return your rental at two different locations without any extra charges. Some companies even offer a pick-up service if you need it.
Mishaps- If you lock your keys in the car, run out of fuel or get a flat tire you most likely will have to incur the cost of repair yourself. Many rental car companies provide protection against this type of thing for a small daily fee.
Paying for a Rental- A deposit is required to rent a car. You can usually do so with a credit or debit card. However, you might be have to incur a $100 to $300 or even more hold on your card. You can prepay your car and also use cash as a deposit. Sometimes debit cards cannot be used for a deposit but they can be used at the time of payment.
You card will not be charged at the time you make the reservation unless you choose to prepay. Check with your rental company for other nuances regarding payment.
Insurance- Rental cars do offer insurance which you are not required to purchase (although you are required to pay for any damage you cause to the vehicle). Check with your insurance company. You might be covered on your auto policy for a rental car.