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As the business world changes, so do transportation needs. There are several advantages to 24-hour car rentals for traveling professionals. While airline travel has picked up significantly from its historic lows during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, business travel lags far behind recreational travel.
Business professionals who used to fly across the state for meetings are choosing to drive instead. But most people don’t want to put the wear and tear on their personal vehicle, so they opt for a rental.
If you’re considering alternative travel methods, you’ll want to check out our money-saving tips, and you’ll benefit from reading how you can ensure you have appropriate insurance coverage below.
Increased Need for Short-Term Car Rentals
If you’ve flown across the country recently, you may have noticed some significant changes in the types of planes going to different locations.
The following example helps to explain the changes in business travel.
I frequently travel from Montana to Philadelphia with a layover in Minneapolis. Pre-COVID, we would hop on a small plane from Montana to Minneapolis and then take a new, large aircraft equipped with all the bells and whistles that make air travel more comfortable to take us from Minnesota to the East Coast.
Post-COVID, the situation has been the opposite. Business professionals aren’t flying from the East to the Midwest like before, and Minneapolis isn’t a recreational destination as much as other places are. So, the small planes fly between those major cities.
Montana’s tourism industry has exploded in recent years, and this increase has necessitated the airlines using their big, fancy planes between the Midwest and Montana.
The airlines have readjusted their practices without business travel, and business travelers are also coming up with new travel methods.
Rental Cars for Business Travel
If you’re worried about sitting in an enclosed space with hundreds of other people, driving in a car by yourself instead can seem very appealing. Driving for business has become more and more popular, which has increased the demand for short-term rental vehicles.
Besides not wanting to put miles on their vehicle, business travelers often opt for a rental car because insurance can get tricky when you’re using a personal car for business purposes.
Your car insurance provider formulates your rate based on the driving they expect you to do. They expect you to have a daily commute to an office or co-working space, and they cover that, but they typically don’t want to assume the risk of business-related travel besides a commute.
Often, business travel is completed within 24 hours, making one-day rentals a popular choice. Of course, if you need a rental car for a business trip longer than 24 hours, many of the same options and tips still apply.
How To Save Money on a Rental Car
If you can apply one of these tips to your situation, you’ll save some money, but if you’re able to take advantage of several of these strategies, you’ll save significantly.
- Be flexible
- Check out third-party car rental websites
- Contract with a rental car company
- Improve your credit score
- Plan in advance
Let’s dig into each of these tips.
Rental companies like flexibility. In many cases, if you choose a class of vehicle rather than a specific make and model, the rental company will give you a lower rate to reward your flexibility.
How does flexibility benefit the rental agency? If they have limited inventory, and a customer wants a specific make and model, they’ll be more likely to have that model available because they can give you a similar vehicle. If you choose a particular car, it won’t be available for another customer, and they may lose that transaction.
Check out Third-Party Car Rental Websites
You may want to consider booking through a third-party site where you can compare rates from several rental companies at once and find the sweet spot for your rental. Another benefit with third-party sites is that they often include no-penalty cancellations, even up to the last moment.
Contract With a Rental Car Company
If your company frequently rents vehicles, the rental agency may offer you a discount for being a high-volume customer. If they can keep you happy, they’ll have a good chance of keeping your business.
Inquiring with different rental agencies will help you find the agency that’s the best fit for your company.
Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score can help you save on insurance costs when you rent a car. Read on to get the scoop on what kind of insurance you’ll need when renting.
Plan in Advance
Finally, advanced planning will almost always help you get a lower rate than last-minute reservations. So check the rental availability as soon as you begin to plan your meeting. Most reservations allow you to cancel within 24 hours of your trip, so if your plans change, you won’t lose any money.
Insurance for Your Rental Car
The good news is that even if you choose the most expensive rental insurance option, it still won’t be costly. You might not even have to pay anything for adequate coverage.
If you have full coverage on your personal vehicle, it will usually transfer to a rental car. You’ll have the same deductible and coverage that you have in your private vehicle. Where things get tricky, though, is that your personal coverage may not extend to business travel.
Don’t take any chances. Call your car insurer and ask them if they’ll extend coverage for a vehicle you’re using for business. If they don’t, the next place to see if you are covered is with the credit card used to book the rental.
Likely, you used a business card, and it might provide coverage for rental cars. Several personal credit cards cover rentals, and some business cards do, too.
If you don’t have coverage through a credit card, you can opt for the insurance offered through the rental agency. Typically it’s less than $20 a day, and it will provide full coverage with no deductible. It’s the most all-encompassing coverage you can get, and it’s easy to purchase.
Third-party rental websites often offer all-encompassing insurance packages as well, and sometimes they’re even lower-priced than what the rental company provides for similar coverage.
In a changing world, short-term car rentals have met business travelers’ changing needs. They’re an excellent alternative to other modes of travel, especially when you can secure a car and insurance coverage for a good deal.
Melanie Musson writes and researches for MyCarInsurance123.com. She strives to help people understand their insurance needs so they can protect their financial security and set themselves up for success.