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USAA Community 4 Things to Know About Renting a Car.jpgRenting a car looks different depending on what phase of life you are in. With nostalgia I recall renting a convertible on my honeymoon in Kuai, zipping through the mountains with the top down carefree. What a contrast to my family’s last trip to Maui with two toddlers in tow, the priority was finding the safest, least glamorous vehicle on the car rental lot to navigate the winding road to Hana.

 

4 Things to Know When Renting a Car:

 

1. What kind of vehicle do you need?
Like my story above, a convertible with a family of four and two giant car seats would not make practical or financial sense. Will you be using the car sparingly, or will you be driving all over (making a fuel-efficient vehicle an optimum choice)? Once you narrow down your activities, that will help you determine the type of vehicle you need so that you can be more specific when searching for a deal.


2. Finding a good deal:

Brian Newell from USAA’s Alliance services offered some insights into what is available for USAA Members.

a. The USAA Rental Car Comparison tool helps you narrow the search by car type, location/airport, driver age and price through Hertz, Avis, Budget and Enterprise.

b. The USAA Car Rental program is a free member perk and provides additional rental benefits. It is enhanced when the rental is paid with a USAA Credit Card.

c. Read the fine print- make sure the cost includes the “extras”. This includes the gas policy. For example: How will they charge you for gas used? How much will they charge to fill the car up upon return?

 
3. Unexpected Fees:

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Additional driver fee: Make sure to be upfront about who will be driving the vehicle. When renting through USAA, this fee is waived for spouses and USAA family members who also will drive the car.

 

Under-age driver fee : USAA has negotiated with the rental car companies participating in the USAA Rental Car Program to waive the Under-age driver fee for our military servicemen and women.  Specifically, those going to military schooling such as trade schools and military academies.

Avis: $27 per day for Young Driver- This fee is waived for 18- to 24-year-olds.
Budget: $27 per day for Young Driver-This fee is waived for 18- to 24-year-olds.
Enterprise: $20 per day for Young Driver- This fee is waived for 21- to 24-year-olds.
Hertz: $30 per day for Young Driver- This fee is waived for 18- to 24-year-olds.

 

4. What do the insurance options mean for me?
Do I need additional coverage from the rental agency or does my USAA car insurance cover me? Check your own auto policy for details on rental coverage and check your credit card policies too, some credit card programs also offer rental-car insurance coverage if used when paying for the rental. Brian Newell from USAA’s Alliance services says, “Many members don’t realize between their USAA Auto insurance and USAA American Express® or USAA VISA® credit card and booking through the USAA Car Rental Program, additional rental insurance purchased through the rental agency could be unnecessary expenses. We encourage all members to take advantage of these additional coverage benefits provided by USAA as part of our value of membership.” In terms of other administrative fees, loss-of-use fee or other costs the rental car company may charge, be sure to check with the individual carrier for details.

 

So, whether you are looking for a family mini-van rental or a vacation splurge like a convertible, how do you find the best deals on a rental car?

 

 

Read Next:

Auto Insurance and Rental Coverage

Should I Pay for Insurance on a Rental Car

FAQ Rental Fee for Young Drivers
Top Ten Military Vacation Destinations

 

About the Blogger: Briana Hartzell is a Navy spouse, mother to two beautiful girls (5 and 3 years), a former full time USAA employee and a graduate of Texas A&M University. Briana writes at Being Briana, a blog focused on the joys that military life and parenthood can bring.

 

Use of the term "member" or "membership" refers to membership in USAA Membership Services and does not convey any legal or ownership rights in USAA. Restrictions apply and are subject to change.

Membership eligibility and product restrictions apply and are subject to change.

Auto insurance provided by United Services Automobile Association and its property and casualty affiliates, San Antonio, Tx.

Coverage descriptions are brief and subject to the terms and conditions of your insurance policy. Read your insurance policy for details. Applications subject to underwriting.

Alliance services provided through USAA Alliance Services, LLC, which contracts with third parties that are not affiliated with USAA to provide products and services to USAA members and receives compensation on the sale of third party products and services. Third party providers have sole financial responsibility for their products and services.

Additional and underage driver fees waived (18-24 Hertz, 21-24 Avis, Budget and Enterprise). Waived fees vary but typical average value on Non USAA rental fees charged.
The trademarks, logos and names of other companies, products and services are the property of their respective owners.
American Express is a federally registered service mark of American Express and is used by USAA Savings Bank pursuant to a license.
Restrictions apply. See the USAA Credit Card Guide to Benefits.

 

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5 Comments
mwynn2878
Visitor

Very incomplete info that could cost you.

Any claim you make against your USAA insurance will affect your premium and history.

There is no deductible on the LDW/CDW the rental company sells.

Since rental companies basically lease the car they turn them in by a certain mileage or time. A door ding, small fender dent you might not fix on your personal car will be fixed by the rental company and you will pay. The cars don't have to be perfect but are inspected at turn in. Most rental companies try to repair the dings and dents prior to turn in. So what you might consider not worth the repair cost will be made and charged to you.

Most credit cards are "secondary" rental insurance only. You will still have to file a claim with your insurance company but the CC will pick up the deductible. CC's have restrictions on type of cars they'll cover. AMEX has an addon coverage which has a single fee for a couple weeks of rental that is primary and has no deductible.

Keep in mind that this was about damage to the rental car, NOT LIABILITY. Any damage to another vehicle, property or person is not covered by CDW/LDW.

Before my AMEX additional LDW insurance option, I would accept the CDW for a rental car coverage because of their strict requirements for repair. I now pay about $18-20 per rental for AMEX coverage. I use my USAA insurance for liability as that could normally be more expensive, confusing and there was no deductible.

Administrator
Administrator

@mwynn2878  I am glad you commented! Thank you for sharing your feedback and experiences.

UGA girl
New Member

Great info to have.  My family is traveling next month out of state and is planning to rent a car.

Administrator
Administrator

Thanks @UGA girl , I hope your family has a great trip!

allnamesaretaken1
New Member

came on this blog while searching on USAA rules for it's auto insurance members for car sharing.  am about to rent a car share for 2 days through Turo.  just called usaa customer service and they confirmed to me that if i decline the rental car protection that Turo offers, my USAA policy will become primary and will cover the time i'm driving/renting the Turo car. so as of today at least, usaa covers car sharing.