Car Rental Companies
Reputation and customer reviews
You’ll want to make sure you look at a company’s reviews, whether on Google, Yelp, or Facebook. You can also check the Better Business Bureau’s website to see if the company has accreditation, along with any complaints filed with the BBB and how they were resolved.
If a company has many complaints or bad reviews, this might be a red flag. “Real experiences from other customers can be very insightful,” said Mike Davison, founder of Superbike Newbie, a motorcycle blog.
Vehicle selection and availability
If you’re traveling alone, it may not be important for a company to offer an SUV. However, if you have a larger family, you’ll need a company that has large-sized vehicles. Some companies also cater more to businesses rather than individuals.
And if you’re looking for more of a luxury vacation, there are rental car companies that specialize in renting out luxury vehicles. One of the first decisions you should make, either way, is what type of rental car you need.
Pricing and rental rates
*For these calculations, large sedans, such as Chevrolet Malibus and Toyota Camrys, were used, as well as the pay later option with no add-ons. **For these calculations, full-size SUVs, such as Chevrolet Tahoes and GMC Yukons, were used, as well as the pay later option with no add-ons.
When looking for a car rental company, pricing is a major factor. Of the companies on this list, Avis is the most budget friendly on average. It has an average weekly cost of $514.71, while Hertz has an average weekly cost of $747.46.
To calculate costs, we chose to compare the rates of a specific sedan and SUV model that each of our top companies carried. The same dates and type of rental were plugged in for each company to view the most accurate cost per day. Large vehicle models like SUVs will almost always cost more than standard vehicles, such as a standard to full-size sedan, but sometimes the larger vehicle is necessary when traveling with extra luggage, belongings, or people. The average daily and weekly costs per company reflect the cost variance among vehicle models, rental time, and demand.
Keep in mind these prices don’t include any add-ons, insurance options, taxes, or fees. When booking a rental car, you’ll see a base cost for the car, as well as taxes, fees, and other costs that will all factor into the final cost.
Some companies also offer pay-now options, which can significantly decrease the amount you’ll have to spend on your rental car – sometimes saving you hundreds of dollars.
Even though Avis is the cheapest option, it doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you. Keep other factors in mind when choosing a rental car company.
Coverage and insurance options
Your car insurance policy might cover rental cars, but if it doesn’t, you’ll want to see what each rental car company offers.
“Checking if the company has comprehensive insurance coverage is also essential for protection against the unexpected, and if you already have car insurance, you should learn what your policy covers before renting a car,” said Erin Kemp, a consumer advocate for Bumper, an all-in-one site where you can search a vehicle’s history and reports.
Some rental car companies offer rental car insurance, which can cover the following:
- Damages or injuries sustained while driving (liability)
- Damages to the rental car, including from vandalism and/or theft (loss/collision damage waiver)
- Injuries sustained by yourself or passengers (personal accident insurance)
- Personal items that are stolen (personal effects coverage)
Rental locations and convenience
If you’re flying in from out of town, you’ll most likely want to choose a company that has an airport location, like Hertz or Alamo. This will be especially convenient if you’re returning to the same airport for your flight home.
However, if you want to take a road trip across the country, it might be helpful to use a rental car company that has many locations. For example, Enterprise has more than 4,100 locations across the U.S., so this might be a better option than National Car Rental, which has 307 locations.
Flexibility in rental terms and conditions
If you have a big family or have to take an unexpected trip, you might want to go with a company that offers flexible terms and conditions. Avis, for example, offers monthly and long-term rates. With this option, called Avis Flex, you can benefit from some of the following:
- Rent for longer periods and save money
- Rent up to 11 months at one time
- Book a one-month, one-way rental
- Get discounted loss damage waiver
Budget is another company that offers monthly or long-term rentals, which can save you money.