Last Updated on December 24, 2020 by Katrina
Need an auto rental for a month or longer? The good news is that most major agencies offer long-term auto rentals that can last several months at a time. The bad news? Such rentals can be seriously expensive. Most companies offer discounted long-term auto rental deals and may even include discounted insurance packages. But the overall price will likely still be high.
There are some definite upsides, however. A long-term auto rental deal will be straightforward and relatively risk-free. You’ll likely have a good selection of well-maintained vehicles, and options for add-ons such as auto insurance and roadside assistance. In addition, you’ll have access to 24/7 customer support.
The downsides? Your contract will contain lots of fine print and perhaps a few “gotcha” charges.
Renting from an auto rental company also may not be the least expensive option if you opt for the insurance and roadside assistance provided by the auto rental company.
4 Things to Know About Long-Term Auto Rental Deals
AutoSlash can save you big bucks.
Our proprietary algorithm uses every tool in the box to get you the lowest rate possible. We look at your credit cards and memberships—like AAA, Costco, and frequent flyer programs—along with hundreds of publicly available coupon codes to find the best long-term auto rental deals. After you book, we’ll track the always-fluctuating rates on long-term auto rentals and alert you to price drops so you can re-book at an even lower rate.
We also use smart tactics. For instance, it may be cheaper to break your multi-month auto rental into separate, 28- to 30-day rentals, so that you can use multiple coupons. That way, you could apply a $75-off coupon—usually only good for a one-month rental—to each month. Plus, AutoSlash can continue to track your long-term auto rental while you’re driving around in your current vehicle; if the prices drop we can notify you so that you can re-book your next auto at an even lower rate.
You’ll usually pay more at airports.
Long-term auto rental deals can vary significantly when you compare rates at an airport location with those at a non-airport location. When we price-checked three-month rentals from the airport versus non-airport branches, we found that the average monthly price for an off-airport rental was $800 compared to an average of $1,212 at airport locations. Even so, it’s always worth checking both airport and off-airport rates—sometimes, even with higher taxes and fees at the airport, a long-term auto rental deal from the airport can be less because there are more companies at the airport, and therefore more competitive rates.
You may have to check in each month.
Most auto rental companies require that you return to the rental office every 30 days to re-sign a new contract. If you’re renting from a corporate-owned location, you might be able to check in at convenient locations along your travels. But if you’re renting through a franchise, you may have to go back to your original rental location. Be sure to ask about this before you sign a contract.
Your insurance needs may be different.
Your personal auto insurance, and perhaps protections through your credit cards, likely cover your short-term auto rentals—but that coverage may not apply to auto rentals that last longer than a month. Here’s how to compensate:
- You may need to buy the collision insurance. While your credit card might cover the “loss damage waiver” (LDW) in a short-term auto rental, many policies only cover auto rentals up to 30 days. And it’s a reminder that while your personal auto insurance may cover your rental, it’s always smart to check with your insurance company to confirm the terms of your policy.
- Consider a cheaper option for collision insurance. Before you automatically opt for the LDW insurance offered at the auto rental counter, check out a much less-expensive option through Sure, an AutoSlash partner. Sure offers 31-day policies that can be extended after purchasing. Coverage costs less than $10 per day—a lot lower than what the rental counter will offer.
- You still need liability insurance. Credit cards typically only cover damage to the vehicle, not personal liability for any injury or damage you cause to human beings, another car or objects. While a personal auto policy will typically cover you for liability, if you don’t own a car, you may need to buy liability insurance separately from the auto rental company.
Long-Term Auto Rental Deal at Major Companies
All the major auto rental companies offer long-term auto rental deals that deliver deep savings compared to regular weekly rates, including unlimited miles. Among the major companies, you’ll find slight differences in other inclusions, but the biggest difference is in the minimum length of rental, which ranges from 30 days (Enterprise) to 63 days (Hertz). Here are some of the typical long-term auto rental deals out there:
This long-term rental program from Enterprise offers discounts on auto rentals of longer than 30 days. The deal includes unlimited miles but roadside assistance costs an extra $4–$7 per day. When we price-checked a three-month rental with Enterprise Month-or-More at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), the rate was $2,054—about 58 percent less to the $4,907 you’d pay with the weekly rate for the same period. The discounted monthly rate is available on the Enterprise site.
Avis’s special program offers discounted rates on rentals longer than 60 days, including unlimited miles. This rate can apply to one-way rentals and vehicle swapping, too. We priced a three-month rental with Avis Flex at PIT at $2,171, compared to over $6,000 if you rented with the weekly rate. That’s a savings of almost 65 percent (though Enterprise’s price was still lower). On top of a discounted monthly rate, Avis gives you a $75 coupon code on rentals over $600. One hitch: You can’t get the Avis Flex rate as a walk-up, so you have to book in advance using the Avis Flex portal.
Budget by the Month
Since Budget is owned by the same parent company as Avis, its Budget by the Month program is basically identical to Avis Flex.
Hertz’s long-term auto rental program delivers savings on auto rentals longer than 63 days. The rate includes unlimited miles and regular preventative maintenance, and there’s also a discount on the LDW insurance. Our price check on a three-month auto rental at PIT cost $2,253 with Hertz Multi-Month, compared to $5,328 if rented at the weekly rate—a savings of 58 percent. There’s no dedicated portal for long-term rentals, so you book on the regular Hertz site—or even better, get a quote for a discounted long-term auto rental deal from AutoSlash.
Dollar offers discounted rates for long-term auto rentals of between one and 11 months, but the terms are more restricted than with other companies. Mileage is not unlimited, for one thing: you get 4,200 miles per 30 days. Go over the limit and you’ll be charged $.25 per extra mile.
You don’t have to return to the rental location every 30 days during a multi-month rental period, but you must return to a Dollar location every 4,000 miles for preventive maintenance. (Or, you can have the work done at another service location and Dollar will refund the cost upon return.)
We couldn’t find a long-term rental program at Payless—but it never hurts to ask. Most rental companies will do multi-month rentals.
Sixt’s long-term auto rental program offers unlimited miles on standard vehicles and the ability to change vehicles at any time. Corporate customers get an additional 20 percent discount.
Thrifty’s long-term auto rental program is reserved for corporate customers, but we recommend that you reach out and try to get a quote on a personal rental anyway.
AutoSlash: The One-Stop Discount Shop
AutoSlash has access to monthly rates published by most auto rental companies—and we can add discount and coupon codes on top of those low rates to bring the price down even more. If you need a long-term auto rental deal, start with a quote from AutoSlash. And if you’ve already booked a great rate on long-term auto rental deal? See if we can beat it.