How to Rent a Car in the USA? 5 Essential Tips


If a trip to the USA is coming soon, then it makes sense to think in advance about way of moving around the country. In America, it’s difficult to imagine even short trips without a car. Of course, in this country there’s a developed bus and train connection, but still, you have to enjoy freedom while traveling. It’s unlikely that the bus driver will stop after every tourist request, and this is bad news because there is something to see in the USA.

For Americans, picking up a vehicle when arriving in another city is commonplace, and therefore renting a vehicle of almost any brand is easy – you can do it online through airport van rental. Rental offices provide excellent service, and even if you are going to go home from Miami, while you arrive in Los Angeles, there will be no problems with returning cars. Just at the rental point you need to say that you want to leave the car at the airport. However, sometimes it requires additional payment.

A trip around America is adventure! The road makes you happy with good quality, and informational support is extremely understandable, even if your knowledge of English is average. As for roadside service, it’s just outstanding. Almost all roads have gas stations, motels, cafes for any taste, and the level of service is perfect.

How to arrange a car rental?

It should immediately be remembered that if the journey will be from state to state, then the conditions for rental cars in the United States may vary. But in every major city there is a decent rental car choice for any taste. On average, the price of a middle class vehicle is about $40-50 per day. Of course, the bigger the rental period – the cheaper the final price. All cars usually come with an automatic transmission.

Car rental procedure in the United States involves signing the contract. No worries – it’s quick and easy, especially, if you pre-book a car. This, by the way, is reasonable, because in the high season the demand for cars is very high.


What documents are required for the contract?

In order to draw up a contract you will need to submit the following documents:

  • international passport, where the entry visa is marked;
  • driver’s license;
  • VISA/MasterCard/American Express credit card.

By the way, in the USA debit cards are also accepted, but the balance should be from $650-$700. It is worth remembering that the deposit will be returned to the debit card a little later than to the credit card.


What conditions do car hire companies offer?

If you assume that the car will be driven by someone other than you, then this person must be registered in the contract, and this condition shouldn’t be violated. On average, the surcharge is from $8 to $12 per day for each additional driver.

When hiring a car, be sure to specify what are the restrictions on the mileage, but very often you may face a territorial restriction – it’s not always allowed that the car will leave the state.

If you are late with the car return for at least 40 minutes, you’ll probably need to pay for an extra day. The fact is that the checkout time is based on 24 hour limit, which will definitely be mentioned in the contract.

Point of hire is not responsible for fines – they apply to the driver. If you were caught on a speed camera, the manager of the rental service will provide the police with the data of the person to whom the car was rented out at that time.

The minimum age category for car rental in the USA is 21 years old, but there are offices and locations where it is allowed to rent a car for young people from 18 years old. In any case, those who haven’t reached the age of 25 will need to pay an underage fee of $5 to $30 per day.


Where to fill the car?

Those who travel by car in the USA for the first time should know that the unit of measure at gas stations is not liters, but gallons. 1 gallon is approximately 4 liters.

You will probably pick up a car with a full tank, and you will need to return it with a full tank as well. The following fuel options are available at the filling station:

  • 87 – a suitable fuel for almost all rental cars;
  • 89;

However, carefully read the contract and what is written there about the fuel. Fuel prices range from about $2.7 to $4 per gallon. Both credit cards and cash are suitable as a payment.


What about insurance?

There are different categories. For example, if you get CDW or LDW, then you won’t be responsible in case your car be stolen or damaged. The cost is about $10 per day. This is the most reasonable option when traveling in the USA. Also, SLI protection can be also issued – this is liability insurance. It price is about $10 a day.

Health insurance is not only responsible for the driver, but also for the passengers. But if the traveler’s medical insurance is issued, and there are road accidents in the list of insurance claims, then you don’t need to purchase any protection plans additionally.

Technical assistance, regardless of the geographical location of the tourist, costs from $6 to $25 and is usually called Roadsafe. This is also a very useful option.

As practice shows, road trip around the USA is interesting and informative activity. Personally planned route and hundreds of roads ahead – what could be better?!