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TravelHaven Tip ― Save on Rental Car Costs

Not only are car rental rates going up and up, but consumers also are hit with new taxes and fees.
Renting the auto at the airport is especially expensive, $150 a week more on average than renting off-airport. but that cheaper rate may also come with the additional expense of a taxi ride from and to the airport, because many off-site locations no longer offer shuttle service, free or otherwise.

Costs are rising primarily due to smaller rental fleets ― fewer available cars means higher prices. Abrams Consulting Group reports that the average rate for one week’s rental of a compact at an airport location was $335.05 in 2009, a 51% increase from the previous year. And fewer cars can also mean fewer free upgrades or no car available without a reservation.

Then there are the fees rental agencies use to squeeze a little more profit from the consumer. Even if you have car insurance, car rental companies will try to sell you Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW). They don’t call these programs insurance, because CDW and LDW don’t insure anything. It’s just a waiver by the agency not to come after the renter for any damage to the vehicle. Supplemental liability protection, personal accident insurance, and personal effects coverage in case of theft are also offered. These will cost you an extra $35 a day, even though your own car insurance and/or credit card benefits probably cover you. You should check.

Local governments often get into the act as well with surging car rental taxes and surcharges Counties and m municipalities figure car renters are out-of-towners can’t influence local elections because of these local taxes. It would be nice if government used the car rental taxes to improve rental facilities, airport facilities and access or even public transit options to make car rental less of a necessity, but they usually go for local services and projects that the renter is unlikely to benefit from.

A savvy consumer will know what liability coverage is really necessary in addition to personal insurance and credit card perks. Try to be prepared for those special fees and taxes you’ll have to pay. Don’t get pressured into paying for an upgrade, especially if the level of car you reserved is not available. Avoid the expensive convenience of prepaid gas.

A little advance research into public transportation, hotel shuttles and the like may lead you to discover that you can save a lot of money by foregoing the expense of renting a car altogether. It may be worth a few hours on the internet to save those dollars.