Did your car choose now, of all times, to die? Buying a new car might not be in the cards right now, but you have other options that can carry you through these next few months of uncertainty. Here are some alternatives to buying a new car during the pandemic.
Get a Long-Term Rental Car
You might assume that renting a car for a month or more would be expensive, but many rental car companies offer long-term deals that can significantly slash prices off of the weekly rate. Just keep in mind that your insurance company or credit card may have limits on how long they’ll cover rental cars.
During the COVID-19 crisis, we’re seeing some ridiculously low long-term car rental deals right now, with rates as low as $300 per month including tax in certain areas. It’s worth checking both on and off-airport options. Ask us for quotes for both types of locations and we’ll save you the legwork.
Examples of long-term rental programs:
- Enterprise’s Month or More program provides discounts on rentals longer than 30 days, including unlimited miles and roadside assistance for an additional fee.
- The Avis Flex program provides deals on rentals longer than 60 days and it also includes unlimited miles.
- The Hertz Multi-Month program offers savings of more than 50 percent on rentals of longer than 63 days.
- The Budget by the Month program offers discounts of up to 10 percent.
Be aware that most major auto insurance companies cover rental cars for up to 30 days. Always check with your own insurer before you rent a car for more than a few weeks at a time.
If you need a car for longer than a month, simply split your rental into two concurrent transactions under 30 days apiece. If you need a car for 45 days, for example, make two separate rental car bookings. The first rental would take you through the first 29 days and the second would cover the last 16 days. Should you get in an accident with either rental car, your personal auto insurance coverage would remain valid since each rental period would be less than 30 days.
Remember, if you ask AutoSlash for a quote, we will scour the internet to find the best long-term rental deal available. Then, be sure to ask AutoSlash to track your reservation for price drops. The average customer saves 30 percent simply by tracking their booking before the pickup date.
Assume Someone Else’s Unwanted Car Lease
Alternatives to buying a new car include picking up an unwanted lease. If you prefer not to rent a car for a month or more, another option is to assume somebody else’s lease.
Two online marketplaces, LeaseTrader and Swap-a-Lease, connect people looking for a car lease with those wanting to get out of one. Both services feature listings with many months left on a lease, but you can find short-term deals, too.
The primary advantage to going this route is that it can be cheaper than renting. But there are big hurdles, too. The process can be long and onerous—sometimes stretching to six weeks or more—and more complicated than simply renting a car from a rental car company. Besides being wary of fees, you should watch out for listings that require large down payments or impose strict, ridiculously low monthly mileage limits.
Buy a Used Rental Car
If you decide that renting or leasing a car for a few months are not good options for you, consider purchasing a used rental car.
Rental car companies want to keep their fleets new and up-to-date, so they sell off their old cars directly to consumers to make room for new vehicles. Enterprise, Hertz, and Avis each have direct-to-consumer websites for buying used cars.
There are several alternatives to buying a new car. As with everything else, there are pros and cons for buying a used rental car. The biggest pro is that prices are lower—often significantly lower—than the Kelley Blue Book price, so you’ll likely spend less than you would at a dealership. And thanks to haggle-free pricing and long test drives that can last days instead of hours, buying a car this way is less risky than you might assume.
On the con side, there’s often limited inventory and vehicles may have higher mileage than what is typical for a car that’s a couple of years old.