Tips to Renting a car in the U.S:
Tips to Renting a car:
When planning a trip to the U.S you may have wondered whether it is worth it to tour the city of your destination, but also the surrounding areas, cities nearby or why not even take an endless road leading you to your next adventure.
At the same time you might have concerns and doubts on what are the necessary requirements to be met to drive in the US, how to get to your destination, what are the costs of the various tolls, which insurance is the most suitable for you.
Finally, you start to wonder what would happen in the eventuality of getting in an accident in a foreign country.
With the following article in USA ESTA aims to clarify and demystify the most common aspects of the road travel in the United States.
The goal is that travelers visiting the USA with ESTA can fully enjoy their stay even when driving a rented vehicle,
1. Are there any age restrictions when renting a car?
The answer is yes, especially when one is visiting with an ESTA. Each rental agency has its own conditions, but it is true to say that the minimum age is 21 years, with some agencies that have set it to 25 years.
Also, depending on your age the cost of insurance can decrease or increase according to your experience. This has a cost ranging from $ 20 to $ 35 per day. Another factor that may affect the cost of insurance (even if you are over 25) is how many years ago you obtained your driver’s license. Some car rentals require at least two years of experience to access the lowest rates. The minimum limit of age and the cost of mandatory insurance are shown on rental terms that we urge you to read.
2. Is it possible to pay with cash or is it necessary to have a credit card?
Both are true. If it is possible to pay the bill with cash, at the same time you will be required to have a credit card as collateral. And almost certainly the card will be pre authorized for a minimum amount (usually $ 500, which may in some cases be negotiated down to $ 250). Moreover, in some cases, the American Express card is not accepted.
So it is necessary to have a valid credit card available when renting a car.
3. Is my foreign driver’s license valid? Or shall I request an International driver’s license?
If your driver’s license is written or has a translation in a language using the Latin alphabet you will have no issues whatsoever.
If this is in Japanese, Cyrillic, Arabic or other non-Latin alphabets, it is necessary to obtain an international driver’s license or IDP (international drivers permit) in your home country before you travel.
However, sometimes an international driver’s permit can be useful. If stopped by a police officer not particularly familiar with other languages for example, or even in case of an accident.
In addition, some car rental agencies may require the IDP (international drivers permit), so we invite you to always contact the car rental agency before confirming a reservation.
For more information on how to obtain an international drivers permit, please call the department of driving license’s in your home country.
4. Where should I rent the car at the airport or in the city?
Although many people think that renting in the city is cheaper than at the airport, this is not true.
Today, in fact all car hire companies apply Airport taxes, whether you hire at the airport or not. So, when you arrive in the US with your travel authorization we recommend to save yourself the trip to the city and hire directly at the airport, rates are pretty much the same as in the city. In addition, in most cases you will return your car in the same airport anyways.
5. What if the flight is delayed?
In many cases, the rental agencies require the flight details when booking the car. This will help in case of delays since the flights are shown online on airports’ websites.
If the delay of the flight is less than the 3-5 hours, the reservation will be maintained.
If you have a delay of more than 10 hours, please call the company to notify the delay. The local number or email should be indicated on the reservation confirmation.
In general, if the delay is of many hours, your credit card or travel insurance could bear the costs related to a possible re booking of the car.
6. What to do in case of an accident?
If you are involved in an accident, immediately call the rental agency, you will be guided step by step on what to do. To request an ambulance in case of injuries, call 911 (all emergency services).
If your vehicle is not safe to drive, you are entitled to another car of the same category. If the accident is caused by reckless driving of those who have rented, the renter can refuse to replace the car (driving under the influence, etc.).
No matter how minor the accident you need a police report on the incident for the car rental insurance to cover the damages.
Unless otherwise written in the rental conditions, the roadside assistance is always included with the price of the rental.
7. Dealing with tolls?
In most cases, the rental agencies have agreements with the highway authorities in order to have in the car an electronic device that automatically pays the tolls. A minimum amount can be charged at time of rental.
It is important to clarify this issue with the car hire company, to avoid possible infringements in case you do not pay the toll. In fact in many cases the payment can only be made electronically, so there is no possibility to stop at the toll booth and pay cash.
8. How do I pay a speeding or parking fine?
Because the fines are under the driver’s name, the best advice we can give you is to pay them! And within the 30 days set by law, to avoid further penalties.
Our advice is also useful to avoid possible problems in renewing your ESTA, given that one of the questions to get authorization to travel in the US is if you have a criminal record of any kind.
The tickets can be paid online in almost all states of the USA, ask the rental agency which is the correct web address where it’s possible to pay them although it is usually printed in the ticket itself.
In general, we invite you to be respectful of traffic signs, to respect the rights of way and to be a careful and cautious driver. Police are extremely intransigent in the USA.
9. Do I have to return the car where I got it?
Generally when renting a car you are free to travel wherever you wish within the country.
You can therefore return your car at different destination from where you rented it. However there will be an extra fee for this.
10. Although I have purchased insurance, am I always covered?
Although most of the cars are rented with insurance, without deductible, it is good to know that in some cases, such insurance may not cover damage to you and others.
For example, if the accident was caused by the use of alcohol or drugs, the insurance will likely not cover the damages. And the rental agency will demand compensation for damages to the renter. We remind you that driving under the influence is a serious crime in the US, which in addition to legal issues could make you lose your ESTA or visa.