How to Get A Cheap Rental Car & Other Rental Saving Tips!

Learn when, where and how to Get A Cheap Rental Car, and how to avoid paying a big portion of the Rental Insurance. Renting a car can be expensive if you don't search for the Cheap Rental Cars and Rates, and know some of the tips that can save you a boatload. Car rentals can be a drain on your wallet if you pay full price. There are times when you'll want or need to rent a vehicle and you don't want to shell out an arm and a leg, so let's try to minimize this expense for you by finding the cheapest rental car rates and knowing the tips to minimize your expenses. 

Check out these tips before you rent your next vehicle!


Don't Pay all of the Rental Insurance

How to get a Cheap Rental Car

Once you find that deal, you can easily squash any savings by having to pay for your own insurance. The cost of Full Coverage Insurance on a Rental Vehicle per day often costs more than the rental vehicle itself! This is why you must avoid this at all costs!

Here are the 2 ways to do that:

  1. If you have Full Coverage Insurance on your own vehicle, then your policy should provide insurance on a rental vehicle. To be absolutely certain of this, it is imperative that you call your Insurance Agent prior to renting a vehicle. If you are renting a vehicle because your vehicle has been in an accident, you may well be paying insurance that will cover a rental vehicles cost 100% (the rental and the insurance). In those cases, you may see an "R" (for Rental) on your Insurance Card that you carry in your wallet. This is yet another reason to check with your Insurance Agent. If you only carry Liability Insurance on your vehicle, then your Insurance will not cover a Rental Vehicle at all (but all hope is not lost - see #2).

  2. You may have a Credit Card (not a Debit Card) that will cover all or a portion of your Rental Vehicle's Insurance. Most basic Credit Cards will not cover a Rental Vehicle's Insurance; but many Platinum, Silver and Gold cards absolutely will! Be certain to call the number on the back of your card and ask the credit card company if they will cover the Rental Vehicle and the Other Vehicle if you're in an accident, or if they'll only cover the Rental Vehicle? It's VERY IMPORTANT that you call the credit card company BEFORE reserving your vehicle to see if they will or won't cover your rental vehicle, because you MUST reserve the vehicle with the credit card that covers you for insurance, and you MUST pay with that card. Call every credit card company that you or your loved one's (who will be the primary driver) carry - except Store Cards, of course. Because, even the Economy/Compact sizes can run around $45.00/day for Full Coverage Insurance. If you kept the vehicle for 1 week, that's $315 in Insurance alone! That's more than the cost of the rental in some cases. Money down the drain. And pure profit for the Rental Company! But, with the right credit card, the insurance is FREE, or much less! Trust me when I tell you - this will save you mega bucks! It's worth 5 minutes on the phone (per card) for hundreds in savings!

Hint: If you know in advance that you're going to need a rental car, but your credit card that will cover the car's insurance is maxed out; find out the cost of the rental and make an IMMEDIATE payment to that credit card company for that amount, plus $200. Car Rental Companies almost always hold an additional $200 on your credit or debit card. Once you confirm that the credit card company has received the payment, you can book your rental with that card and avoid paying for insurance.

Get Discounts

There are other ways to lessen the bite of Rental Car costs. Most of us are members of an organization that provide discounts or discount codes for Rental Vehicles, but we forget to use these benefits when renting a car. Even if you're not a member of an organization, there are places to get discount coupons and coupon codes for car rentals. Mention the organization, or bring your coupon! And if you reserve your rental online, either go to the organization's website first and get a coupon code or discount code off of a printed coupon. Here's just some of the places that provide discounts and coupons on Rental Vehicles:




Frequent Flyer Programs

Corporate Discount Rate/Code: If you work for a large company or Corporation, they may have a deal for preferred rental rates or Corporate Rental Rates. You can ask your Human Resources Dept. 

Entertainment Coupon Book

The great thing about them is that you can get your coupons from the book, or you can get online access. They offer discount coupons/codes for places like Enterprise, Budget, Hertz, Thrifty, National, Alamo and Avis.  With these discounts you can get around 30-35% off, free day(s), or coupons for free upgrades. You can save a ton of money with this book on more than just Car Rentals!

Here is another lesser known way to get a discount on a rental car:

Auto Repairs: Many Rental companies will give you a 5 to 10% discount if you're renting a vehicle because your car is in the shop for repairs. Be prepared to tell them which shop your car is in.  

Select the Correct Size Auto

Generally, a Compact-sized vehicle will be your least expensive to rent. Occasionally, you may have a coupon that will up-size you for free, or they will not have held the size that you reserved, so they'll offer to upgrade you to a larger size for no additional cost. Unless you're carrying a lot people, a compact is really the way to go for cost. You save on the rental and you save on gas!

Know Where to Rent

Enterprise Rent-A-Car
They sometimes offer a weekend rental deal (Friday - Monday! This deal runs from around the first to second week in September through around the third week of May each year. They cut it off through the summer, then usually bring it back in the fall. This deal is usually for an Economy/Compact Vehicle. Call your local Enterprise and ask if they offer a discounted weekend rate. Also ask how many miles are included in the deal (i.e., 100 free miles, unlimited miles).  

Holiday and black-out dates may apply. If you follow my suggestion of having your credit card cover the Insurance, this makes this an oh-so-sweet deal! This is the cheapest rental car rate going right now that I could locate, and even if you have a car, but it's a hoopty or bag-of-bolts, you may want to treat yourself one weekend to a new vehicle for less than $40 (if you have a credit card that covers the Insurance)! This is great for a weekend excursion, a trip to the beach, or simply pampering yourself for once.

Hotwire (Rental Cars)
Hotwire US

They have partnered with several named rental car companies (Enterprise, Hertz, Alamo, etc.) in an effort to offer consumers deep discounted rental car rates. It's absolutely worth checking their rates, because they offer Economy Cars from $11.95 per day in certain areas! Wowsa! They do not reveal the rental car company until after you have paid for the reservation, but if you can get these kinds of rates on a weekday rental, most people won't care! ☺
$16.95 A Day Rental Cars from

They offer car rentals starting at $16.95/day, so they are absolutely included in my list of cheap car rentals. 

Hertz has various specials throughout the year. For instance, usually at the beginning of the year through the end of March, they may offer a rate of $14.99/day for a Weekend Rental at Airport and Neighborhood locations. This deal includes unlimited mileage! Check the link for Featured Offers that are currently available.

Get a quote for a rental through their site. They have already sought out all of the deals and coupons availables to find you the best rate. They do not charge you for this service. As rates change and lower, your reservation can be cancelled anytime without a penalty. Then you can re-book at the lower rate.

Note: Some Car Rental Companies have chosen not to participate with AutoSlash' business model, so you will not receive any rental quotes from certain companies. Should you choose to rent from them, you will need to solicit quotes from them separately.

Priceline use to be one of my go to's for Rental Cars, because of their "Name Your Own Price" feature. With that feature, you could get some of the lowest rates available! But they stopped offering that feature for rental cars. So although they are still competitive, they may not always be the lowest.

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