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How To Avoid Underage Driver Fee Archives - Frequent Flyer University

Using Turo (RelayRides) To Save Money On Car Rentals

Why Is Renting A Car So Difficult?

While I’d say I have a fairly above average knowledge of frequent flyer miles and hotel points, one thing I have never understood is car rentals.

Up until a year ago, I was under 25 so it was difficult to rent a car but even now being 26, I still maybe only rent a car once a year.

I don’t know what it is about buying, selling, or renting out cars but the entire auto industry seems to be out to trick customers.

Renting a car is such an unnecessarily complicated process due to all the promos codes, different pricing on weekdays as compared to weekends, different classes of cars, etc.

Seriously what is the difference between a economy car and a compact car?

Below are all the different discount codes that Hertz accepts…

5 different types of codes that all have different restrictions and requirements.

"Hertz DIscounts"

“Hertz Discounts”

And this is all before you even get to the airport to pick up your car and are badgered about buying insurance.

All in all, it is a broken process that I try to avoid at all costs.

Enter Turo (Formally RelayRides)

For a long time, customers didn’t really have a choice when it came to renting a car. You either had to rent a car from the airport or take a taxi to your destination.

Now days thanks to companies like Lyft and Airbnb, collaborative consumption or basically the idea of renting out what you own to your neighbors, has really taken off and has now finally “disrupted” the rental car industry.

Turo is basically Airbnb but for your car.

Link to Turo

Most people have a car that basically sits idle for 23 hours a day unless they are driving to work or running errands, so it makes sense that people (or you) would want to rent it out and make some money.

I’ve used Turo 3 times now and I absolutely love it.

Turo Benefits

1. Everything But Gas Is Included

Unlike renting a car, where you are hounded about insurance and tons of up sells when you pick up your car, with Turo everything but gas is included in the final price. So you know the exact price when you book it online.

"Pretty Reasonable"

“Pretty Reasonable”

As for insurance, you can pick from 3 options.

Either you can decline getting insurance if you have your own car insurance, or get a $500 / $2,500 deductible policy and then you are fully covered for anything over the deductible.

"Insurance Options"

“Insurance Options”

In the above example, I chose the $500 deductible and it was $15.20 extra which I think is pretty reasonable.

If I had opted for the basic protection, it would have only been $6!

I am not sure if car rental insurance from your credit card would be applicable here, so it is best to call and ask them if you are planning on doing that.

I hate paying insurance as much as the next person but I appreciate that Turo options are at least transparent and basic protection is extremely reasonable.

2. You Pick Your Car

Unlike rental agencies, with Turo , you pick out the exact car you want.

No more dealing with compact, economy, mid-size shenanigans and then arriving at the rental car agency only to find out your preferred vehicle is sold out.

As you can see for Chicago, there are literally hundreds of cars that you can rent from all across the city and you don’t even have to go to the airport!

"Large Selection"

“Large Selection”

To make things even better, you can filter for the types of vehicles you want!

When we went skiing in Colorado in January, we needed a vehicle with all wheel drive, so with one click we were able to find one.

Try doing that with a rental car agency website…

"Pick What You Want"

“Pick What You Want”

We ended up renting a brand new Jeep Grand Cherokee.

"Jeep"

“Jeep”

3. Way Cheaper Than Rental Agencies

The above Jeep that we rented for 3 full days in Denver only cost us $166.25 total (including insurance). Only additional thing we had to pay for was gas.

"Talk About A Deal!"

“Talk About A Deal!”

If we had tried to rent an SUV from a rental car agency, the cheapest I could find was $150 a day!

Obviously I normally don’t rent SUVs since they are gas-guzzlers and extremely hard to park in cities.

Using Turo a couple times now, I’ve found the best value are hybrids.

Not only are they “green” but more importantly they can save you serious green on gas. When we went to Napa last August and rented from Turo , we got a Prius and barely had to fill the tank.

What is awesome about Turo is that since individuals are pricing their cars, there isn’t a huge mark-up for hybrids as you will see below.

In Chicago, I can rent a Toyota Prius for the day for only $38 total. That was just the top result, so I am assuming there are even cheaper hybrid options if I had chose to dug a little more.

"Going Green"

“Going Green”

Now you might be wondering how much would a hybrid cost from a normal car rental agency.

Glad you asked because I randomly selected a rental car agency (Hertz) and checked how much it was to rent a hybrid for 1 day.

"Hertz"

“Hertz”

$208 a day which is almost the monthly cost if you just straight up bought a brand new hybrid…

While the rate for Hertz is obviously ridiculous at $144, you can see that there are about $33 in taxes and other non-sense airport fees.

Again since Turo is peer to peer, they don’t have to deal with that!

So $208 a day from Hertz or $38 a day from Turo , you be the judge!

Under 25 Drivers

I have never really understood why you had to be 25 to rent a car. While I am sure there is “data” to back up their rationale, if you have a clear driving history and are insured, 25 seems like an arbitrary number.

What is even more bizarre is that most rental car agencies will conveniently waive any concern about being underage if you pay an additional fee…

Anyways, if you are 21 or older you can rent from Turo as long as your driving record is clean. No additional underage driver fees required!

Full details here

Airport Pick Up

While Turo in theory sounds great, once someone gets off a flight, the last thing they want to do is navigate offsite to pick up a car. 

This is why rental car agencies have had a strong hold on the car rental industry for so long. People (including myself) are lazy and want the quickest and fastest option.

Turo has addressed this 2 ways.

1. SFO & LAX Airport Parking

If you live in San Francisco (where Turo is based), you can park at SFO for free (more info).

In exchange, they will rent out your car to incoming RelayRiders.

So if you are landing in SFO, you can rent from Turo right from the airport!

If you are renting out your car at SFO, you don’t get any money from the rental BUT you do get free parking and a free car wash.

Your car is covered by  their $1 million insurance policy.

2. Airport Pick Ups

Outside of SFO, Relay Ride renters have basically figured out that if they offer airport pick-up / drop-off, they are more likely to get a potential renter.

Not all renters offer this but many people will add it to their rental description on the site.

"Airport Pickup"

“Airport Pickup”

If there is no message, I typically will just message the owner and ask them if they will pick us up for a small fee of like $20 each way.

I have also messaged Turo about adding in this “airport pick up” feature in their search. They said they have forwarded it to their product team, so we will see what happens.

In Denver, we had this exact issue given that the airport is in the middle of nowhere.

Our renter apparently rents his car out a lot, so he just parks his Jeep in the short-term lot when people are renting it out. When we landed, we took the shuttle to the lot, picked up the Jeep and then dropped it off in the same place when we were done. He even left cash in the car for us to pay for the parking.

Although airport pick-up is nice, I personally find it nice that there are so many potential rental options not at the airport.

When we were in San Francisco last summer, we landed at night and were driving to Napa in the morning. It didn’t make sense to rent a car from SFO that night and then pay to park it overnight in San Fran.

Instead we used Turo, found a hybrid literally 2 blocks from where we  were staying. Picked it up in the morning and we were on our way to Napa. No picking up or dropping the car off at the airport.

Recap

While not everyone is comfortable with staying at other people’s houses, ride-sharing with strangers, or renting out someone’s car, I for one have fully embraced this new sharing economy.

Not only is Turo substantially cheaper than rental car agencies, but often for the same price of renting a crappy compact car, you can literally get any type of vehicle you want from Turo and as an added benefit, no one will try to sell you extra insurance!

-Parag

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How To Avoid Under Age Driver Fees On Car Rentals

Under Age Driver Fee Discount

Although this post doesn’t pertain to 99% of you over the age of 25, there still might be some useful information on how to get car rental discounts via USAA.

While buying an Airline Ticket is pretty straight forward, for the life of me, I am still pretty confused how Car Rentals work. This is even worse if you are under the age of 25 (I’m currently 24 years and 10 months), since Car Rental Agencies will add an annoying “Under Age Driver Fee”, which can be upwards of $25 a day.

While occasionally Hertz or other companies will offer coupons to waive the Under Age Driver Fee, the most reliable solution I have found is to simply join USAA, which is free.

For those of you not familiar with USAA (Wikipedia), it stands for United States (Army) Automobile Association, and primarily serves military personnel, although you can join USAA regardless if you are a member of the military. I personally joined without issue and have no military affiliation.

By joining USAA, you are then eligible for all their car rental discounts including a WAIVED Under Age Driver Fee for Hertz, Enterprise, Budget, and Avis!

I have rented a car from Budget 3 times now using this USAA discount and it has saved me quite a bit of money on Under Age Driver Fees!

You don’t need to sign up for any USAA financial services or products to be a member of USAA. All you have to do is simply create a User Name and that is it. I was expecting to get some spam from them encouraging me to sign up for some of their financial products, but I have not received a single thing from them!

How To Get The USAA Car Rental Discount

1. Sign Up For USAA

To sign up for USAA, you can either go to www.USAA.com, or use the link below and follow all the instructions.

Link To USAA

2. Log Into USAA

Once you have signed up for USAA, simply log back into USAA.com and then either search for “Car Rental Discounts’, or just click this link and scroll down you should see the image below. If you don’t log-in first, you won’t see the page below.

As you can see, all 4 major Car Rental companies waive their “Under Age Driver” fees as long as you are a USAA member. Additionally, you get up to a 25% discount for being an USAA member, as well as no additional driver fees.

3. Click On Company

To book with any of the Companies, at the top under each Companies logo, you will see a link for “Rent Now”. Simply click on the Company you would like to use and it will take you to their website and pre-enter the discount code for you.

4. Price Out Your Car

Once you are at the Companies website, you can go ahead and choose your car.

5. Cross Check Prices

Typically, when I am renting a car via USAA, I open up all 4 Companies and check their prices to make sure I am getting the best deal. Typically they are all about the same, give or take a few dollars.

If you are above 25 and not impacted by Under Age Driver Fees, I’d suggest also doing a quick Kayak.com search to see if the prices via USAA are cheaper than normal.

Things To Note

Although you are a member of USAA, they don’t send you a USAA Membership Card or anything like that. I have never had any issues with having to show any proof of affiliation with USAA when I have rented a car.

Another Cheaper / Better Option

While using the USAA membership will help you waive the underage driver fee, the regular rates of renting a car can still be a bit expensive.

Another option that you can use to avoid paying an underage driver fee and get a better car rental deal, is to use car sharing companies like RelayRides or Getaround.

With both companies, you basically “rent a car” from people in your neighborhood who aren’t using their cars. Many times, you can even rent the cars directly from the airport!

With Getaround, full insurance coverage is included in the price. While for RelayRides, full insurance coverage is only $10 more!

As I said earlier there is no underage driver fee for either services. For RelayRides, you can use their service as long as you are 21 and above. For Getaround, you can rent if you are 19 or above.

As you will see below, typically you can get a far better type of car for the same price you would spend at an actual car rental agency.

For example, I am going to San Francisco next week and wanted to rent a car to go out to Napa.

If I went thru a car rental agency, the cheapest option was $43 a day from Advantage and I’d get a basic Nissan Versa, plus I’d be subjected to an underage driver fee (unless I used USAA).

However by searching RelayRides and Getaround, I was able to book a Toyota Prius on RelayRides for only $38 a day!

Not only is it a far better car but it is also cheaper and there is no underage driver fee!

If you are renting a car, I’d highly suggest checking out these car sharing programs because honestly it is a far better deal than renting a car from a car rental agency.

For RelayRides, you get $10 off your first car rental. While for Getaround, if you search “Getaround Coupon”, you can typically find codes for up to $25 off!

Recap

Although renting a car can be extremely annoying and expensive, with USAA and car sharing programs like RelayRides and Getaround, you can avoid many of the unnecessary fees that come with being under 25.

These fee waivers and car sharing programs will save you upwards of $25 a day, which is substantial given that it typically costs $25 a day to rent a car.

If anyone uses these tips, please feel free to comment below on your experiences using either USAA or car sharing!

If this tip saved you money, please consider following me on Facebook or Twitter for even more savings!

-Parag

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