5 Things You Might Want To Pay For Before Collecting Your Rental Car

Hi all,

Although we offer a pre-paid USA car rental services there are certain items that can be purchased locally instead of in the UK. Today’s post is about 5 items that will probably work out cheaper to do before collection of the vehicle.

Upgrades

So you book the Economy vehicle but secretly you want a convertible, what you’ve decided you’re going to do is haggle with the person on the desk when you pick up the vehicle and get yourself a bargain…simple.

The only problem is, you’re not the only person to have this idea and even worse… the supplier know’s this! Don’t get me wrong you can sometimes pick up a bargain upgrade, however these bargains generally come around when you’re not after a specific category of vehicle; for example you could book the economy vehicle and be offered the “managers special”  for a 4×4 (mainly due to the fact that they have an abundant amount of sports utilities  that week) always remember though that the upgrade price offered is per day and not for the total duration.

The real problem comes when you want a specific category as the guys on the desk work on commission;  and you’re now at their mercy.

Generally I would say that if you want a specific category of vehicle then pre-book it here in the UK to avoid nasty surprises.

Additional Insurance (Tyres, Windscreen, Undercarriage)

Within our Silver and Gold offerings the insurances do not cover the tyres, windscreen, undercarriage or the keys.

Our suppliers offer an additional insurance locally to cover this, it is often called road safe or something similar and they will offer this to you at an additional charge roughly $6.95 + tax.

Our Platinum rate which you can prepay, covers these additions and can be purchased for as little as £15 per week a saving compared to purchasing locally of over £15 per week…

Additional Drivers

Pretty easy one this, if you need an additional driver on your rental its best to prepay it in the UK. Locally you will be charged $10-$15 per day plus tax on a 2 week holiday you’re looking at approximately$210.

Where as the difference between our Silver and Gold rates is a lot less than the £135 you’d  pay locally.

Sat Nav’s

You can rent a Sat Nav directly from the supplier for around $11.99 per day plus tax you have to take it for the full duration of your hire.

You can rent a Sat Nav from ourselves directly for £30 per week or prepay via our website to collect directly from the supplier prices vary but are generally more cost effective than purchasing locally.

Young Drivers

Now there’s really no comparison here, locally you will need to pay $25-$30 per day per driver plus tax if you are aged 21-24 to get yourself on the insurance. Over a 2 week holiday with 2 drivers that would cost an extra $840.00 !!!

However you’re in luck as usrentacarco.uk offers a young drivers package  that halves the cost of the fee. It is definitely better to prepay this fee.

If you can think of any further items that a better prepaid please feel free to comment below.

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

usrentacar.co.uk Guide To Tipping In The USA

Hi all,

One of the most frequent questions I see asked on Florida forums relates to tipping; how much, when and even should I tip?

Today’s post is our guide to tipping, please feel free to add to this guide in the comments section below.

Tipping

Unlike the UK, the U.S. is very much a tipping culture, especially in any service industry, waiters and waitresses for example, make up a certain amount of their take home wage based on tips.

Remember to factor in to your budgeting tipping, as I’ve seen written in other articles “If you can’t afford to tip then you can’t afford an American holiday”…Harsh maybe but true.

Tipping amounts

Tipping however is still a mark of the service you have received, each industry though has different expectations

Dinning/Restaurants

The average tip or service charge expected after a meal is approximately 15-20%, expectational service should be rewarded at a higher rate than this.

Remember you are tipping the service you receive from the waiter/waitress not the standard of food!

Self service restaurants or buffet style places expect a smaller tip around 10/12%; typically a bar man should get $1 for every $2/3 you spend and rest room attendants a $1 a pop.

Accommodation

Hotels could be the first place you are expected to tip, and for me was the place I massively over-tipped.

A good rule of thumb is porters should be tipped $1 per bag and $2 per heavy bag, housekeeping staff should be tipped anywhere between $2 and $10 per day depending upon the class of hotel and the level of service. Room service should be tipped at 15% of the bill and doorman should be tipped $1 if he hails a cab and $2 per bag if he assists with your luggage.

Always remember that you are tipping for the service you have received, if you are unhappy with the level of service you have received instead of leaving without tipping the best way to convey disappointment is to leave a low tip, this way the server will acknowledge that you were unhappy with the service level rather than simply forgot to tip.

Thanks very much to Alan from our facebook friends who helped put the tipping percentages together and added some great insight.

I would love to read any comments you have regarding good or bad service or if you think our percentages are off, please feel free to comment below.

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

What Your Car Hire USA Package Should Include

Hi all,

I was just reading some interesting threads on trip advisor regarding users booking their car hire USA through U.S. companies and then coming unstuck when they went to collect their vehicle due to the American packages not including insurance.

USA car rental sites are generally aimed at American citizens who have their own insurances that cover hiring a car, so the price displayed is generally for the basic hire and mileage.

At usrentacar.co.uk we offer a fully inclusive package that covers both unlimited mileage and the basic rental plus insurances and taxes.

Here is a brief guide to what you should be looking for in your car hire USA quote.

  1. Unlimited mileage, mileage just isn’t good enough, to avoid a nasty surprise make sure your rental includes unlimited mileage!
  2. CDW or LDW, pretty much the same thing, Collision or Loss damage waiver insurance means that you will not be held responsible for the cost of replacement or repair to your hire vehicle as long as you adhere to the rental policy of the supplier i.e. not off roading, not drunk behind the wheel etc.
  3. SLI,supplementary liability insurance covers all drivers included on the rental agreement against any liability for third party claims for bodily injury or property damage resulting from an accident. You should have SLI that covers up to $1,000,000.
  4. UMP, uninsured motorist protection,  provides the renter and family members traveling together in the rented vehicle with up to $1,000,000 of non-stacked coverage for bodily injury sustained while driving the rental car, and caused by another driver who has no insurance, minimal insurance, or is a hit-and-run driver.
  5. Basic Roadside Assistance, see this post for more details but make sure your hire comes with this as standard.

Remember if in doubt ask before you book, the cost of adding additional insurances locally can triple your rental costs.

You can see what we include in our car hire here.

Kind regards,

James

 car hire USA

It’s Cold Outside 12 Tips For Driving In Freezing Conditions

Hi all,

Brrrrr!!! Its blooming freezing out! -8 in our neck of the woods, so I thought it might be sensible to put together some tips for driving in the cold.

  • Be prepared for emergencies – keep a blanket, boots, an extra pair of gloves and a flashlight in the trunk of your car
  • Let the car warm up before setting off and allow an extra 10 minutes to do so.
  • Be sure your car has a communications lifeline in case of emergency, a mobile phone is the obvious solution.
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full to prevent fuel line freeze-ups in cold weather climates
  • Have your battery and coolant system checked. Older batteries and weak antifreeze might not provide the protection and functionality in the cold weather, and worse, can cause damage to your vehicle when it’s not running
  • Understand how anti-lock brakes work. Do not pump your brakes. Instead, press firmly on the brake pedal when braking and let the system do the work to stop your car
  • Traction mats, kitty litter, or sand can be used to improve traction on icy surfaces
  • Be sure to have the proper winter-rated tires on your car and be sure to keep them properly inflated
  • Keep an ice and snow scraper with you at all times and be sure to stow it safely when driving.
  • Check the oil and water in the engine and make sure all of your lights are working.
  • Clear all windows so that you have a clear vision of the road from all angles.
  • Do not pour boiling hot water on any part of your vehicle; de-icer spray is the best solution, do not spray on locks though as this may re-freeze them.

Most importantly remember to adjust the way you drive, you can’t take corners as sharply as you might in normal conditions.

Drive safely, and if all else fails, get yourself over to Florida\ where your USA Car Hire doesn’t have to worry about ice. :-)

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Dispelling USA Car Hire Myths

Good afternoon,

I have worked in the car rental business specialising in the USA for the past 14 years and along the way I have picked up some extremely useful tips when it comes to hiring a car for the first time. In this series I will do my best to dispel a couple of the more common myths and stigma’s associated with car hire USA.

The first issue I will tackle may be familiar to the regular visitors to the USA

Q: I will get sued if I don’t have enough insurance!

A: This is a pretty old question that has been around for as long as I can remember. I have spoken to many customers who have quoted a story from a friend of a friend who knew someone that got sued and lost their house because they didn’t have enough insurance. This question perpetuates because of the ‘perceived suing culture’ in America. I wouldn’t say its any worse than in the UK but its always wise to ensure you are adequately covered in the event that you are involved in an accident.

While it’s never advisable to drive a vehicle without insurance, our policies come with everything you will need to ensure you are covered for all eventualities. Here is a quick run down of what we include and also what the blurb actually means;

• Unlimited Mileage. There are no additional charges incurred for the amount of miles you drive. Mileage is not charged on a per mile basis.

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) which is a combination insurance of both Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Waiver. As long as you adhere to the rental policy of the supplier you will not be held responsible for the cost of replacement or repair to your hire vehicle.

Uninsured Motorist Protection (UMP) up to $1m Liability Cover. Offers an Uninsured/Underinsured/Hit-and-Run Motorist Protection (UMP) that provides the renter and family members travelling together in the rented vehicle with up to $1,000,000 of non-stacked coverage for bodily injury sustained while driving the rental car, and caused by another driver who has no insurance, minimal insurance, or is a hit-and-run driver.

Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) up to $1m Liability Cover. All drivers included on the rental agreement will not be held liable for third party claims for bodily injury or property damage resulting from an accident.

Basic Roadside Assistance. In the event of mechanical difficulties there is an emergency number for you to call on the rental agreement you collect from the supplier.

All Taxes and Airport Fees. You will not be charged any additional taxes or fee’s because your insurances have been pre-paid.

As you can see the cover we provide as ‘ standard car hire insurance ’ will cover you for most eventualities that you may encounter while driving your car hire USA.

For more information please feel free to contact our car rental specialist via www.usrentacar.co.uk

Author: Frank Williams
Web: www.usrentacar.co.uk

 car hire USA

Tips For Driving In The USA

Hi all,

This is no secret… but the USA is massive… even just to pop out, the preferred mode of transport is the car.  A great indicator is to note that all shops and restaurant regardless of size have large car parks; basically you’re going to need to drive places.

I appreciate that driving abroad can be viewed as a scary experience but honestly driving in the USA couldn’t be easier, speed limits are lower which although you might find frustrating coming from the rush, rush of the UK actually makes for a lot calmer and more courteous driving experience.

Now obviously things are different, they drive on the “wrong side” of the road for starters and most of the car hire USA suppliers vehicles will be automatic. I thought is might be handy to list some of the major differences and perhaps give some advice on making you car rental experience as relaxing as possible.

Location, Location, Location

Your first piece of driving will probably be from the airport to your hotel or villa, already knowing the basic route to your accommodation is a must, the last thing you need is your stress levels to be raised by driving “blind”. Google maps is a great tool for plotting your route, failing that you can prepay in theUK for a GPS system to guide you.

Tip, do a couple of laps of the car park where possible to get use to the vehicle.

Who moved the stick?

So as mentioned before you will mostly likely be driving an automatic vehicle, if you’ve never driven an automatic its very much like driving a giant go-kart.

Most automatics will have the following options

  • P meaning Park
  • R meaning Reverse
  • N meaning Neutral
  • D meaning Drive
  • 1 first gear
  • 2 second gear.

Remember an automatic vehicle is driven with one foot (your right) many automatic virgins assume you use the left foot for the break and the right foot for the accelerator, this isn’t the case. Using your left foot for the break will possible result in whiplash for you and your passengers.

Rules of the road

Obviously every Country has its own rules of the road and many differ from ours, here are a few examples.

  • They drive on the right hand side.
  • The drink driving laws are very strict, as a rule of thumb; don’t drink and drive. You will spend a night in the cells if caught.
  • Right turn on a red, I know this goes against your natural driving instinct but if it is safe to do so, you can turn right if the traffic lights are red.
  • When parking in a space remember to drive in with your boot facing out, it is not illegal to only have a licence plate at the back of the car.
  • They take their public services very seriously so, don’t park within 10ft of a Fire Hydrant, you must also change lanes (where possible) if a police vehicle is parked along side the road, if this isn’t possible you must reduce your speed to 20mph.
  • On the same note; do not park in front of red or yellow painted curbs, these area’s are strictly for emergency vehicles.

I think that about covers it, remember driving in theUSAis easy don’t stress about it you’ll be fine, just because you’re in another Country doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten how to drive :-)

Have I missed anything you think could help virgin USA drivers?

regards,

James

 Florida car hire

Winter Weather Car Hire USA Driving Tips

Hi all,

This morning I finally had to submit to the cold and pop my gloves on, winter is truly upon us.

Today we thought we would post the top 8 tips on Winter Weather Car Hire USA Driving Tips as produced by General Motors

  • Be prepared for emergencies – keep a blanket, boots, an extra pair of gloves and a flashlight in the trunk of your car
  • Be sure your car has a communications lifeline in case of emergency
  • Keep your fuel tank at least half full to prevent fuel line freeze-ups in cold weather climates
  • Have your battery and coolant system checked. Older batteries and weak antifreeze might not provide the protection and functionality in the cold weather, and worse, can cause damage to your vehicle when it’s not running
  • Understand how anti-lock brakes work. Do not pump your brakes. Instead, press firmly on the brake pedal when braking and let the system do the work to stop your car
  • Traction mats, kitty litter, or sand can be used to improve traction on icy surfaces
  • Be sure to have the proper winter-rated tires on your car and be sure to keep them properly inflated
  • Keep an ice and snow scraper with you at all times and be sure to stow it safely when driving.

Can you add any further tips to help with driving in the winter months?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

What Is The Difference Between Our Inclusive And Gold Rates

Hi all,

Car hire insurance in the USA can be very confusing for even the most seasoned of travellers.

I thought now with the very busy Christmas period about to start, I’d knock up a quick post explaining what is included within our Inclusive and Gold rates, and hopefully point out the advantages of prepaying your USA car hire.

What’s Included

All our rates include the following (Inclusive & Gold).

  • Unlimited Mileage.
  • Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) which is a combination insurance of both Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and Theft Waiver. As long as you adhere to the rental policy of the supplier you will not be held responsible for the cost of replacement or repair to your hire vehicle.
  • Uninsured Motorist Protection (UMP) up to $1m Liability Cover. Offers an Uninsured/Underinsured/Hit-and-Run Motorist Protection (UMP) that provides the renter and family members traveling together in the rented vehicle with up to $1,000,000 of non-stacked coverage for bodily injury sustained while driving the rental car, and caused by another driver who has no insurance, minimal insurance, or is a hit-and-run driver.
  • Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) up to $1m Liability Cover. All drivers included on the rental agreement will not be held liable for third party claims for bodily injury or property damage resulting from an accident.
  • Basic Roadside Assistance.
  • All Taxes and Airport Fees.

At present our Budget Rent A Car rates include 1 additional spouse driver within the Inclusive rate in all USA budget locations.

At present our Alamo and Dollar Rent A Car rates include additional drivers within the inclusive package in California only.

Petrol policies differ per company but most are moving to a purchase full return empty scenario.

What does the gold rate offer me?

The gold rate offers all of the advantages of the inclusive rate plus

  • Multiple drivers over 25.
  • Your first tank of fuel.

Where not included within the Inclusive rate, suppliers will charge approximately $10 per day plus tax to add a driver to your hire, so prepaying those extra drivers makes sense.

The advantage of prepaying your petrol is purely financial, being able to budget for your first tank of gas takes the currency fluxation and petrol price factor out of the equation.

Its no surprise to me that our customers generally take the gold rate over the inclusive.

I hope this little guide helps, remember terms for our suppliers can change without much notice so please check our terms and conditions for the latest inclusions.

regards,

James

 car hire USA


Tips And Hints On How To Secure A Ford Mustang

Hi all,

One of the questions I get asked time and time again is “How can I guarantee a Ford Mustang?” the simple answer is, you can’t 100% guarantee it.

Which is why we always quote “or similar”. Reason’s for this can be found on my previous post – Car Hire USA or similar

However there are certain things that can be done to reduce the chance of missing out.

Below are my top tips for hiring a Ford Mustang in the USA.

  • Let us know – If you drop us an email or give us a call we’ll be happy to place your preference on your USA car hire voucher and via our supplier manifest.
  • Select Dollar – As part of our rental procedures and via our voucher app we ask our customers to tell us which vehicle makes they have collected, the supplier with the greatest success rate of providing Ford Mustangs is Dollar Rent A Car.
  • Be Flexible – If they don’t have a Mustang when you arrive ask when they will have one, or if a local office could swap your model for one?
  • Choice Product – Select suppliers who operate a choice system, where you select the vehicle you want from the category of vehicle you have hired. Alamo and Dollar offer this.
  • Airports – Collect from an Airport, suppliers generally have larger fleets at Airport locations therefore increasing your chance of renting a Mustang.

I drove a Ford Mustang on my last visit to the U.S. and loved every minute of it.

Do you have any tips to help our customers get their dream vehicle?

regards,

James

 car hire USA

Car Games To Keep The Kids Entertained

Hi all,

On Sunday I drove myself and the family up to Birmingham to visit the inlaws (don’t judge me), now the drive is only 3 hours but to my children it seemed like at least 10!

To pass the time we tried a few car games to keep them entertained and they seemed to work. The U.S. is such a huge place driving to theme parks and attractions are usually a minimum of 20 mins and if you’re on a road trip even longer.

Here are a few games you could try in conjunction with your USA car hire.

The Licence Plate Game

There are two ways to play this, the first one is very much suited to the U.S. Basically the idea is to spot a licence plate registered to every state in America, first to do it, or gets the most is the winner.

The second game evolves around making words out of licence plates incorporating the letters on the plate, the longer the word the more points you score.

The A-Z Game

This game requires the players to know their alphabet and is probably only suited to day time play. Players take it in turns to work through the alphabet, A-Z  spotting various things outside of the car – so the first player must find a sign with a word beginning “A” and so forth. A winner is decided when their opposition cannot think of a word.

Yellow Car Game

Now this one is strictly down to parental discretion but one me and my brothers enjoyed playing when we were young, but one my own children are banned from playing due to over eagerness.

However the idea of the game is simple, if you see a yellow car you punch your opponent on the arm stating “yellow car”. An incorrect punch earns the puncher a double punch. Punching hard enough to make some one cry is strictly forbidden.

Ghost

Players take turns at saying letters. If you say a letter which completes a word, or which means the letters can no longer be used as a word, you lose, so that play might proceed thus: “A”… “P”… “P”… “L”… “E”… The player saying “E” will lose here, having completed a word. An alternative might have been “I” which would leave the other players having to work towards “application”. The game is clearly named for its passing similarity to an Ouija board.

Guess the intro

In my day this was harder to play as we only had a cassette sterio, now a day the use of MP3 players makes this game a lot quicker.

This is how it works, the games master (usually the passenger in the front) play’s a few seconds of a given song’s intro, players then “buzz” in and guess the intro. Points are awarded for guessing correctly and subtracted for incorrect guesses.

I hope these games can help you pass the time. Are there any games I’ve missed or you could share?

regards,

James,

 car hire USA


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