Today we will discuss on everything you need to know about How To Save Money In Florida Car Rental in simple and easy to follow guide.
Did you know that the daily price of the car is only a small part of the total amount of money you will end up spending?
Today I will break down all the things that add up to your total costs and how to avoid overpaying and making an educated decision on which is the best value for a car rental. More specifically we will discuss.
- Factors that affect the total price of your rental
- What you can do to save money and pay less
- How to make an educated decision based on your needs
I have rented all types of cars for both business and leisure int he past in multiple states. I can tell you Florida is one of the most challenging states when it comes into making a decision due to factors that come into play specifically with the state laws. Today I will make those clear to you so you can understand what you are getting into and to avoid unexpected surprises.
This is one of the latest additions that car rental companies charge for. But what is it really?
Toll charges are a pre-defined amount that a car rental company will charge you per day on top of your daily car rental rate. This could significantly bump up the overall daily rate of your car.
A typical amount as of 2021 could range anywhere between $15-20 before taxes. Yes this is right it’s a really high amount and some companies charge even higher than that.
One important thing to note is that they will not allow you to use your sunpass or your own pre-paid toll packages you may have already purchased or already own.
Furthermore you will not be given the option to opt out of it and by the time you are checking out in the counter it may be too late for you to find another car rental company.
So next time you are about to rent a car pay attention to the small print or ask them by phone if they are requiring you to get a toll package when you get your car rental or if they allow you to use your own. If they don’t give you the option I suggest purely on the interest of working with someone that values your commutes which may not involve tolls at all to opt-out and look for another company. If you think you will be getting good value out of it and you will be passing through a lot of toll roads then you can go ahead and get the package and the car rental.
This is another one that is very tricky and you need to be very aware of. In North America and in some places in Europe your credit card may cover you for some form of insurance. So if you have an american express or chase card then you will already have potentially collision or liability insurance.
If you do not then your existing insurance in the US may cover rentals too. It would be a very good idea to verify this with your insurance agent before getting the rental. Most of the times my insurance was sufficient and I did not have to get any additional packages however there’s a catch which we will discuss now.
A lot of car rental companies will require a minimal account for damages in the car insurance. The trick they do is requiring a very big amount which is not typically covered by most car insurances. So lets say you have a $1000 deductible in case of an accident they may require you to get an ‘upgraded’ package that has a $250 deductible and charge you money for that.
The range of money they charge for this difference is not negligible either it can run you anywhere between $25-50 depending on your age and driving record. If this isn’t good then you will be looking to be paying on the higher end of this closer to $50/day.
Furthermore they may charge you an additional fee if you want to add a second driver to the rental. So for example if you would like your spouse to also drive the car you may have to pay a higher insurance premium to cover both drivers. So if the spouse lets say is missing that kind of insurance then you may even have to pay the full amount.
Changing States / Miles
As weird as this may sound some car rental companies do not let you leave the state. They do this for several reasons I list below:
- The insurance they have only covers the state of Florida
- They do not want you to put too many miles on the car
- The further you go the higher the chances for an accident
As you can tell none of the above is of benefit to you and this is in place entirely to protect them. I recommend you read the fine print before renting to avoid unexpected surprises. Especially if you are planning to do an out of state road trip.
This is another one a lot of people fall for. Even though it’s simple the Gas Return tank has to be filled exactly to the spot you received the car on. This means if you got the car with a full tank they would be expecting you to return it the same way.
If you do not you will be paying a gallon rate which is premium and above market average. And even though this may not seem significant to you if there’s a big gas difference it can quickly add up to money you could have easily saved just by stopping to a near by gas station prior to your return.
Obviously if you don’t have time to do this and you have a flight to catch (this has happened to me) then it’s ok to get the hit. Making it on time for your flight is much more important than paying a small premium for the missed gas.
Fuel consumption is one of those factors that you entirely control unless there’s something unexpected happening the day of your rental. Let me explain though.
There has been times that I rented a very economic and low gas car like a prius or other hybdrid cars and when I would reach to get my car the dealer would say that they are out and instead giving me a gas guzzler like a big SUV.
Miami and other major cities in Florida like Tampa have a lot of traffic. You will not hit a New York like traffic but if you commute during peak hours for example if you are there for business then expect to be sitting for hours in bumper to bumper.
If you get hit by a surprise that the dealer does not have your car you will be basically be out of luck. There’s one thing that you can do which I have done in the past successfully and never run into this problem again and that is to call them ahead of time and inform them that you will be expecting to getting the car you requested.
The car rental company is obligated to keep the car for you but if you call them and tell them explicitly that you want it the chances of getting it will be higher.
Off course another obvious thing is that if you want to save on gas and don’t need a big car go with a lower cc engine or hybrid/electric car instead.
If you found How To Save Money In Florida Car Rental useful and you think it may have helped you please drop me a cheer below I would appreciate it.
If you have any questions, comments please post them below I check periodically and try to answer them in the priority they come in. Also if you have any corrections please do let me know and I’ll update the article with new updates or mistakes I did.
Which car rental company do you like to use in Florida?
My personal favorite is Avis due to it’s consistency and high quality of service. Also they are very clear what you will be getting charged upfront and there’s no hidden surprises unlink some of the small vendors which may seem tempting at the beginning but when you go to sign your contract they hit you will a million other hidden fees and costs.
If you would like to learn more about Florida and specifically Miami I have a few other articles that may be of interest to you.