Car rental in Los Angeles
Replies: 18 - Last Post: Mar 18, 2013 4:31 PM Last Post By: ianw6705
Mar 17, 2013 5:09 PM
Car rental in Los AngelesHi,
I've booked a car from Dollar (LAX location), through rentalcars.com, but only after making the reservation did I find out that Dollar would be the company supplying me with a vehicle for my two week stay. I'd never heard of Dollar so I checked out some reviews online (Google reviews and Yelp) and there were tons of horror stories about people waiting in line for hours and being charged way more than the original reservation. This, of course, made me a bit apprehensive about renting a car from Dollar so I sent rentalcars.com an email asking if they could guarantee the price they'd just offered me, I'm still waiting for a reply and if I do not get one or get a negative I will cancel my order.
Now, on to my question. When renting a car in America I see there are lots of different insurance types they try to sell you, but are all these needed? Are you required by law to have some sort of insurance when renting a car? I have a very good travel insurance that would cover all medical bills, but what if I cause harm to another person or vehicle, or my rented vehicle, while driving? Last time we rented a car in LA we said yes to everything because we knew nothing, well we still don't so I thought I'd start educating myself a little by asking here.
Any help would be appreciated :-)
Edited by: kaanneh
Mar 17, 2013 5:18 PM
I've used them and never had a problem, for whatever that's worth.
Mar 17, 2013 6:28 PM
2I've booked a car from Dollar (LAX location), through rentalcars.com, but only after making the reservation did I find out that Dollar would be the company supplying me with a vehicle for my two week stay.
We have successfully rented two vehicles through rentalcars.com (actually carhire3000.com) - and they were Dollar cars we picked up from O'Farrell Street in San Francisco. No problem with the transaction at all, and no change in the pre-paid price (and in fact they provided us with an upgrade on one occasion, for not much extra per day).
We just take the inclusive (minimum) insurance package that comes with the rental, but do not take any additional coverage at all, and our credit card provides additional travel insurance cover. We did check the car pretty thoroughly for existing dents and scratches, and made sure they were noted on the contract, and took a couple of photos of the most obvious ones.
We dropped the car off at Las Vegas Airport five weeks later - no issues at all, no queues.
Our next car is also a Dollar vehicle, to be picked up 5 May at LAX like yours ... I just trust it's okay. Dollar are a big company - I'm sure their general business model would need to be the same as the rest of the industry, to keep their share of the market.
Mar 17, 2013 6:54 PM
Mar 17, 2013 7:27 PM
4Ford Focus (compact) and Ford Fusion (Midsize) - they were both perfectly fine - effectively new. I do prefer Japanese cars - being Australian and therefore much more used to their tighter driving characteristics - but for the prices carhire3000.com can offer, I don't die in a ditch over it. My major requirement is that the car whatever class has four doors - essential for a road-trip, even if only 1-2 people.
Actually - I just double-checked - we do have a Ford Fusion (Dollar) booked out of Atlanta, but a Nissan Versa (Alamo) booked out of LAX - both via carhire3000.com. The brokers just find the cheapest offering from their participating companies on any given day, given your requirements.
Mar 17, 2013 9:32 PM
Mar 17, 2013 10:10 PM
6For Americans renting cars...their insurance policy is primary...and the car company is secondary...for damages...
But the car is insured by the car rental company...no matter what you do...if you do not buy the "waiver" you will have to pay all damages...if your insurance is "good"...and has coverage in the US for damages, loss of the car, liability...you don't have to buy their "waiver"...
Buying the waiver is good "peace of mind"...basically you are off the hook with the car rental company...but not to the people you may injure.... But it is very expensive...
Some credit cards will waive the waiver...if you used their card to rent the car...check your gold mastercard for this feature if possible...
As to Dollar...I've rented from them and all the rest...its really what car you get...not the company... Try for a clean low mileage car...all the companies are very competitive among themselves... I really have no preference...all the cars are basically "new" or "as new"....and they all run well...
Mar 17, 2013 11:06 PM
7Do NOT buy insurance at the counter, they will fleece you. If you didn't already pay for the car, cancel and rent through an agency that includes insurance, it will likely be cheaper. In sweden the following is very popular:
Actually, it's the same branch as rentalcars.com and carhire3000, they're all part of Travel Jigsaw, but seem to differ a bit in what they include. This one includes all the insurance you need and I know many swedes who used it successfully.
Also, do not buy any of the "fuel packages". Just fill up with gas within 20 miles from the drop off and return it full/near full.
If you're a bit technologically savvy, get a data plan and use your smart phone as a GPS. Failing that, consider buying a GPS at Target or something, it might be cheaper than renting one for two weeks, and you can keep the GPS. Compare prices.
How many drivers are you and are you all over 25?
Mar 17, 2013 11:15 PM
8When you rent a car, you should ask for a written estimated total cost from the rental car company before you sign the contract. The advertised daily rate is often little more than a sales gimmick these days in my humble opinion. I rent cars all of the time and I can't remember any bad experiences with Dollar.
The one insurance that you must carry by law when you drive in the U. S. is liability insurance. This insurance pays any civil judgment against you, up to the limit of the policy, for injury or damage where you are found to be responsible by a civil court. Not carrying it is a crime as well as stupid. Many such policies in the U. S. are combined with medical coverage for the driver and his family should they be the ones injured.
Mar 18, 2013 5:40 AM
9I have rented from Dollar many times, never had an issue. You will be told what the charged are, including taxes and fees, before you sign the agreement. The only they can charge extra for after you return, any agency, is extra hours, extra days, fuel not replaced, damage to car.
You for sure want to LDW, Liability Damage Waiver, this covers the cost of any damage to the vehicle. The other important insurance to have is to pay for any damage, both to cars, personal property or people, in the event you have accident with anything other than a post/tree/wall/guardrail.
One thing you may need for sure is a Navigation Unit, LA is one nutty and oddly planned city, and cutting across it or thru it is not as easy as you would think, especially in the West Hollywood areas of the hills/valleys...
Mar 18, 2013 7:12 AM
10Thanks everyone, you've all been very helpful. My "package" includes Collision Damage Waiver - Theft Protection - 3rd Party Liability - Supplementary Liability Insurance - Uninsured Motorist Protection, so from what I've learned here, I won't be needing anything else.
I did use my phone for a few drives last time but it is so expensive to use it outside my country that I won't be doing it again. Buying a GPS is a great idea, but I would probably need one just to get to the hotel from the airport, and of course to get to a Target ;-)
I'm the only driver, and I'm over 25.
Edited by: kaanneh
Mar 18, 2013 7:25 AM
Mar 18, 2013 7:44 AM
12You do not need a GPS to get to Target, there is one 3-4 miles south of AX in Manhattan Beach. When you exit the airport, watch for signs for Sepulveda Blvd. South (try and get into the right hand lanes), just take Sepulveda Blvd. into Manhattan Beach and there is a Target right at the corner of Sepulveda and Manhattan Beach Blvd.
There is also a Fry's Electronics on the corner of Sepulveda and Rosecrans, which is a mile or so closer.
Mar 18, 2013 12:57 PM
Mar 18, 2013 2:29 PM
14Yes, that's all the insurance you need.
It was what I meant in #7, to get a prepaid data plan, if you can get that to work it would be by far the best solution since you'll have internet throughout your trip and can book hotels, use yelp, look up directions and opening hours, call home for free and tons of other useful things on your trip. However, many people seem to have trouble getting it to work (it doesn't help that many reps working at the phone stores are either completely incompetent or lie to you). T-Mobile could be easiest to set up, although their coverage outside of urban areas might not be as good as AT&T and Verizon (depends a little where you go), you can have a look at all three of these:
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