Renting a car in the USA

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We are U.S. citizens living permanently in Germany and plan to visit our homeland, the good ol' USA. We will have to rent a car. Our last experience, some years ago, we rented thru an American firm with one of those credit cards that include collision coverage. But when we picked up the car we were informed we must also buy liability insurance, quite expensive. This time we thought we would rent through a German firm (AutoEurope, thru Opodo), but on reading the small print of the conditions, was the disturbing phrase that the prices and offerings do not apply to citizens of the U.S. or Canada. Komisch!!

 

What have other Americans done for a car rental when in the States? I would be interested to hear other peoples experiences and advice. Incidently we do not own a car here.

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We do not own a car and hence do not belong to an auto club. But...it may be a good idea to toddle over after the holidays and see what they offer all the same...

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Hmm, if I'm in someone else's car, with someone else driving, I can use my ADAC card to get roadside assistance... maybe a similar arrangement can work on car rentals. I.e. maybe find a friend with an ADAC membership to book for you.

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Honestly, I rented a car with Enterprise not long ago and did not think the costs of insurance were that expensive. Then again, I only needed the car for about 5 days. The only way to get around paying for the insurance with them was to show that you had car insurance that would cover you.

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Do you have a German driver´s license? I do and as a US citizen I am able to use autoeurope no problem. Have been doing so for ten years. This time, we are using HERTZ, though, as the one way fee (drop off fee) with auto europe was 300 euros! Hertz want 50€.

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I have to second ADAC. WE always rent through them when we go back to the States, or anywhere else, for that matter. It is usually substantially cheaper, all insurances are included, as well as a second driver, everything is paid beforehand, so there are no costly surprises, and you can use your ADAC card to get AAA discounts at restaurants and hotels. It might be worth it for you to get a membership, it would probably end up paying for itself with the savings you would get.

 

Also, you can get excellent travel insurance for when you travel around Europe. The service from ADAC is fantastic.

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Go with Sunnycars or Holidayautos. The only extra requirement for US citizens is that you show that you live in Germany. A German license or even a return ticket would suffice. But I wouldn't worry, as no one really asks for that stuff.

 

I find that you get better prices for the whole thing (full insurance, unlimited miles, etc.) when you go through a German company. Keep in mind, however, that any changes to your booking, especially regarding the pick up (but not the return) date will have to go through the German agent.

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I'm a little confused by this thread.

 

We've always experienced less complication, less wait, better service, nice cars at lower cost when hiring cars in the US as opposed to almost anywhere in Europe.

 

In Europe, we often seem to wait forever in a queue, end up with the most unfriendly and contentious check-in people, are often unwittingly burdened with hidden costs and expensive extras when hiring cars - especially in Italy, the UK and Spain.

 

Just hasn't been our experience.

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I use travel overland.de to rent cars in the US. God bless those germans. They cover pretty much every angle of insurance. So you when you pick it the agent say "Well it doesnt cover "blank" insurance" and I say yes it does read it. It being in german only makes it better. Anyway better deal less hassle in my opin but only if you have a comprehension of german. Good luck dudes!

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I have no idea if this is a good deal or not, but every time I've flown into SFO I rent whatever's the cheapest through hotwire.com and I choose only the required insurances, not all that other nonsense they try to sell you when you show up. Usually 7 days for about $180 + taxes, unlimited mileage etc etc.

 

Edit: Holidayautos seems to be in the same range of prices...

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$180 plus taxes et. al. for seven days is a good deal. I travel to SFO for a one day business meeting about every six weeks and pay $68 for the day. This is with the ~50% corporate discount and without any insurance; the company covers that.

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Thanks to "express" and "RickMunich" for the ADAC recommendation. We went to the ADAC office today and got a vehicle for a good price, with all proper insurances, and best of all - everything was well explained by a nice helpful travel agent, who researched all our funky little legal issues. We were impressed by the good customer service.

So off and away!

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I just rented a car from Baltimore airport's Hertz service last Friday and brought it back Monday. Cost me $86 total for a Mazda 6 with unlimited miles. Gasoline for the weekend came to $53. Way cheaper than renting in Germany where I sometimes pay close to €400 for a winter weekend rental and €200+ in the summer. I would recommend just booking using an American credit card. They all cover insurance nowadays and you don't need to sign up for the extra $9/day insurance.

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when we picked up the car we were informed we must also buy liability insurance, quite expensive.

 

Why did you have to do this? Just mark "decline" on the form. There is a reason it is an extra option. It is optional, unlike the winter tires option in Germany. They may require you to leave a deposit on the car if you don't take the insurance, but you get it back if the car comes back without any damage.

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Reviving an old thread since the summer 'visit the relatives' season is here.

 

If you are a Yankee and visit home, they want you to pay through the teeth for a rental. All the great deals one finds online (rentalcars.com, carsdelmar.com, economycarentals.com...) will declare somewhere in the fine print (that no one reads) that the renter has to have a foreign driver license and that the passport has to be from the same country as the driving license (or vice versa).

 

Check24.de still has some possibility:

SONSTIGES: Bei Anmietung mit US/kanad. Führerschein/Pass muss gültiges Rück- flugticket und ZUSÄTZLICH europäische Meldebestätigung vorgelegt w.

 

I was comparing prices the other day and when you admit you are an US  American, your will see the rental prices go up by a factor of almost 3. 

 

I have always booked through the German/Euro sites and never ever had a problem (what are they going to do when you have pre-paid) but there is always the small chance someone is having a bad day at the Hertz counter in Ohare.

 

Also, when you pay with a visa card, you get the CDW. If they tell you that you need liability, check that it is not supplemental liability insurance or extra above the necessary. They always have to supply the state required minimum as owners. And they want you to understand as little as possible. Their bonuses are dependent upon upgrades and insurance. While there is nothing wrong with that, it truly sucks after 10 hours in an aluminum tube with crying babies to have to haggle over what the state insurance regulations actually are.

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It's not about citizenship, it's about residence.
Rentals want some proof of residence which can be Aufenthaltstitel, Anmeldebestätigung (translated into English) or just International Driving Permit issued by ADAC (they only issue it to German residents).

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I've never had them ask for anything. Last summer I booked a car for my daughter from here with her credit card, got the better price, but she lives in the US and they didn't ask for anything. I guess they could ask but I never ran into it.

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