Best Long Term Car Rental Rates
for a Large SUV?

Laura asks:

RE: Long Term Car Rental Rates My boyfriend and I will be driving from Washington DC to Ketchum, Idaho this winter and back. We are exploring renting an SUV. We would need a high or no mileage limit be able to drive cross country. We would need the rental for about 48 days and require a good size SUV. What do you recommend?

My Response: 

When looking for the best rates on monthly car rentals (or in your case, a large Sport 

Utility Vehicle), your best bet is to compare rates from several companies. I believe that there is never one best company in general; there is only a best car rental company for a particular rental... it can vary from city to city, with different dates, vehicle types, etc.

Because of the length of your rental (48 days) and the type of vehicle (large suv) you're looking at a costly rental. Comparing prices, especially when researching long term car rental rates, is important. When you're looking at renting a specialty vehicle, like an SUV, especially for more than a few weeks, you should check rate from each company individually... as many companies as you feel you have the time to do.

Normally, I recommend going first to a booking site, like Travelocity, to compare rates quickly, but when searching for long term car rental rates on an SUV, I wanted to be more specific. (there are usually 3 sizes of SUV's carried, so I wanted to make sure that the rate I saw was for the size SUV I wanted)

To get an idea of some long term rental car rates for you, I checked for Washington, DC locations for Jan 2-Feb 19 (I don't know your dates, but just wanted an idea for a 48 day rental) for a Standard size SUV (Chevy Trailblazer or similar. I chose the cheapest locations (off airport if possible) that offered unlimited mileage. (All car rental company links open in a new window)

It appeared, at first glance, that the cheapest long term car rental rates I found were with Dollar or Thrifty , followed by Avis , Budget , Alamo , Hertz and National. (I couldn't find an unlimited mileage rate with Enterprise.)

However, in reading the terms and conditions of rental, I saw the following statement for both Dollar and Thrifty:

"For rentals 28 days or longer the Customer must return the vehicle for maintenance or to renew the contract every 28 days to the location."

My first thought is that you could ask Dollar or Thrifty if it would be possible for you to renew the contract at their closest location to Ketchum, but I couldn't find a Dollar or Thrifty location within 100 miles of Ketchum.

The closest rental companies I could find to Ketchum, were Hertz and Avis, about 13 miles away, at the airport in Hailey, ID

I would still contact Dollar or Thrifty and explain your situation, to see if there is anything that they're willing to do to enable you to rent with them.

If not, you should check monthly car rentals again with other car rental companies. Now, when I checked rates on the various websites, I did so with no discount information at all.

If you have a discount code for any car rental company, you should check prices with that as well. There are hundreds of membership programs (ie frequent flyer programs, automobile clubs) and professional associations that offer car rental discount codes to their members. 

The other thing that you will want to look at when determining long term car rental rate, is whether or not you will be purchasing the optional Loss Damage Waiver and factoring that into your price as well.

Read more about Rental Car Insurance

Alamo, Avis, Budget, Hertz and National offered an optional loss damage waiver on a large SUV for an extra $29.99 per day. That ups your price considerably. There was no pricing given through Dollar or Thrifty for the damage waivers... their websites stated that such information would be provided at the rental counter.

You can always, of course, decline coverage at the rental counter. Many people do so, because they are covered already by their own personal automobile insurance policy or their credit card. Before you decide, you should look into the terms and conditions of possible coverage that you may have, both through your own automobile insurance provider and your credit card. I mention this, because I think that almost all credit card rental insurance coverage is limited to a rental of a certain time frame. Some credit card coverage only covers rentals of 15 days or less and some on rentals of 30 days or less. Know before you go!!

I hope this helps you with your upcoming long term rental. 

Pages from this site, relating to this topic: 

Long Term Rentals 

Tips to Save Money on Monthly Car Rentals

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