Friday, May 11, 2007

Vacation Car Rental Benefits

Being retired in the "not doing a job for someone else" sense provides us with a lot of flexibility when the need to travel comes up. We have two "must do" trips coming up this spring and summer. Carol Ann has a major class reunion and our granddaughter graduates from high school. Both of these events are going to require us to fly halfway across the country and necessitate renting a car to have the mobility, independence and time control we need.

Since few of those we will visit are retired they have obligations that do not always allow time to transport us or loan us a vehicle, we feel it simplifies life for all if we have our own transportation. The thing is, it can be a very expensive proposition if one is going to rent for several days or weeks. There's not just the cost of the rental but I like to have some insurance coverage and don't get me started on the cost of gasoline right now.

I made a discovery recently that was a pleasant surprise regarding car rental insurance. Two of my credit cards have insurance coverage options available that greatly reduce the out of pocket expense. One, a platinum Visa, has collision damage coverage built in if I use that card for the car rental. The other, a platinum American Express, has a flat $29.95 fee for total coverage if I rent the car with their card. That sure beats the sox off of the $12.95 a day cost the young woman quoted me for a two week car rental with Budget recently. While I do not generally have much nice to say about credit card companies, these certainly are value added services.

Retirement savings and income being what they are, I look for all the shortcuts to savings on a car rental that I can find. I am not very loyal to any brand as I think all of the major companies are about the same. We rent most often from Enterprise but Budget, Thrifty and Alamo have all given us comparable service. I am not sure who can afford Hertz unless your company is paying for the rental. I have found that using a travel search site called will find me the best deals to compare and choose from to get the cheapest price for the most comfortable car.

Give a site like a try and check with your credit card company to see if there may be a "hidden" benefit like the ones I discovered.