Here is how you get the lowest price car rental the easiest way. I share with you my experience in renting rental cars hundreds of times. This has some to do with tax law but more about saving you money.
Follow these steps:
If you are renting over the weekend, check www.enterprise.com and find cars that are $9.99/daily for up to 100 miles during the weekend, and $19.99 for unlimited miles. In major metro areas, these offers are sometimes not available in major metro districts. For example, its not available in downtown San Diego or the Las Vegas Strip, but it is available right outside these areas, and with Enterprise you can have them come pick you up anyway if they are within their pickup range.
2) If you need the car for about a week, check the price of the car for 6 days. On manys ites, the daily rate is lower per day than the weekly rate, even though most would assume they would give you a cheaper rate for a longer amount of time. So if you can get by with 6 days it might be cheaper. Also check the monthly rate if you are renting for over 2 weeks, sometimes that can be cheaper. Typically locally owned car rental places have lower monthly rates, albeit in lower quality and older cars.
3) Take a screenshot of the lowest price you found for the car. Save that screenshot to your phone or print it out. The prices can vary by the hour and you want to lock in the lowest rate. On Windows 8, you can do this by holding the WIN key and pressing PRTSC (printscreen key). The file will be saved in your Pictures folder. On Mac, you can print a copy of the page as a PDF. Give them the before tax price for them to match. If you live near an airport, the airport car rental offices publish a lower rate because the taxes are higher by the airport in almost every city. The outside of the airport car rental company may match the prices on the pre-tax amount, then apply their local city tax to the price, making a much lower overall price on your rental. Leave the checkout portion of this webpage open.
4) Call Hertz and see if they will match the price, they usually will. Most of the other companies have bad customer service. Anything by the airport usually involves long lines. They may ask for verification, and then you have your screenshot ready to go. Enterprise has the best customer service and lowest wait time, but is almost more. Fox is horrible with long waits at every location, but often they are cheapest. Advantage is usually a low wait time but they are picky if the car is not clean on its return.
5) Pay with a Credit Card (or Debit Card with logo) that is Discover, MasterCard, American Express, or Visa. MOST but NOT ALL cards have coverage, contact your card issuer prior to booking to MAKE SURE you have it. If you have some other type of credit or debit card, check with your card issuer. Almost every major credit/debit card offers free coverage on your car rental for any amount up to your own car insurance deductible. It is essentially the same thing as the Collission Damage Waiver (“CDW”) that the car rental company tries to sell you when you get there. However, this is considered “secondary” coverage, meaning your insurance will get dinged if you have an accident that is determined to be your fault.You should check with your credit card company or bank that issued your debit card with credit card logo for full details on your coverage. For this insurance to take effect, you generally must pay the full amount of the rental and the deposit with the credit/debit card. Depending on the card, your coverage may only cover up to a 15 day or 30 day rental. This sometimes makes it cheaper to break up two different rentals over the same time period so you can have the free insurance. The additional insurance that the car is not generally worth it compared to what it offers. Even if you do not have this coverage on your card, if you already have good car insurance it covers you after your deductible. You would then be ending up for paying for damage to the car up to the amount of your deductible.
Here are the descriptions from the companies of the free insurance they give you:
You might want more coverage than they are offering you, so you can purchase the insurance the rental car company offers. Also, keep in mind that cars with truck chassis and luxury cars are often excluded. This usually means vans also and anything with an MSRP over $50,000, but check with your card issuer for full details on coverage. It is up to you to decide what coverage works best, but the card protection is sufficient for most situations. If you have a situation with the rental, you will be required to fill out a claim form. Also, there are limits to how many days are covered.
This should find you the lowest rate on a rental car most of the time.
This is not intended to be legal advice.