Rental car neophyte

Jan 16th, 2004, 03:51 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 192
Rental car neophyte

We have never rented a car before. We are planning on making a reservation to pick up a car at Midway airport and drive to South Bend, Indiana. I just read a newspaper article about a guy being charged an exorbitant amount because he took the car out of state. I never thought about our crossing the state line. Is this the usual policy or does it depend on the rental agency? I would appreciate any advice on renting a car because - we're clueless! Thank you all once again for your help. This forum is wonderful!!!!!!
mma is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 03:55 PM
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You'll almost surely be fine in a multi-state area like Chicagoland. However, it's always best to check directly with the car company and ask their policies. These days, "unlimited mileage" sometimes isn't if you take the car TOO far from home!
Dan is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 04:59 PM
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Are you dropping the car in Indiana or returning it back to Midway?
tracys2cents is offline  
Jan 16th, 2004, 06:51 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,189
All major agencies will allow you to drive to and from Indiana without penalty. If you were to turn the car in there, that would typically involve a significant fee.
Some smaller agencies will place greater restrictions on where you can drive, but not in Chicago.
---Make sure you're using a reliable (preferably well known) agency.
---Make sure you're getting a competitive rate (there are numerous rate plans at most agencies).
---Don't sign up for insurance coverage if you get coverage thru your auto/home insurance or one of your credit cards.
---Don't sign up for the 'free tank of gas' option. The only way you'll come out ahead with that option is if you coincidentally return the tank entirely empty. Any gas in the tank was paid for by you, not used by you, and is then charged to the next customer.
Desk agents seem to have become much more aggressive the past couple years about pushing add-ons with optional charges. Don't let them intimidate you.
travleis is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 03:46 PM
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Thank you all for your help. I feel more confident about this now. Just to answer Tracys2cents' question, we will also be returning the car to Midway. We are only going to have the car for two days!
mma is offline  
Jan 17th, 2004, 11:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,151
Try booking at and using "contract I.D. number 6600334" for a discount.

Call your credit card customer service number to see if they offer rental car coverage (insurance). Also check with your regular car insurance agent. If you are covered, just tell the agent at the desk. Be careful, they trick you with the question like this: "you probably don't need all our insurance coverages? Just the basic? " NO ! If you are already covered, you don't need their "basic", either.

Actually, I don't know how a car company would know where you drive the car to, unless they follow you around!
clarkgriswold is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 12:23 PM
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Posts: 3,107
I find that agents will often ask you if you'd like to upgrade to a bigger car for "only $x dollars more a day". I always politely decline, but see to get that car anyway. Make sure you have a credit card. A real CARD, not a checking account debit card with a MC or Visa logo on it. Be aware that some agencies charge more for additional drivers. Don't pay up for more drivers that will actually be driving the car.
rb_travelerxATyahoo is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 01:19 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 718
To clarkgriswold, father of rusty and audrey: the main reason it's unwise to violate agency rules regarding restrictions on where you can take a rental car, is that if you're involved in any accidents or other unfortunate events, you can be heavily penalized for violating the contract. There aren't many restrictions at large agencies in the US on where you can drive. But when the issue arises, it's risky to ignore the restrictions.
TedTurner is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 03:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,937
Walk around the car you get and note and get in writing any dents, bad scratches, problems. There is always the chance they will charge you for damages. Only pay for those you have made!! Only use one of the large car rental companies.
Elainee is offline  
Jan 18th, 2004, 05:13 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 192
Once again, thanks everyone! Elainee - thanks for the good advice. I don't want to be charged for dents and scratches we didn't do. I will stick with a major company, too.
mma is offline  
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