Growth Strategies

Rental Health

Don't get taken for a ride by your rental car bill--look out for these hazards.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Nearly all business travelers have experienced last-minute surprises when their final car-rental bills far exceed what was quoted. Here's what to look out for:

  • Local taxes/fees: When shopping for car rental rates, be sure you're comparing apples to apples--meaning all taxes and fees should be part of every rate quote. Always ask. Taxes and fees (often used to fund construction of convention centers or stadiums) can increase your final bill by up to 71 percent, according to a study, which ranked airports where rental car fees are steepest.
  • At Houston's Intercontinental Airport, for example, if you rent a car for two days at $50 per day, you'd expect your bill to be about $100. But with taxes and fees, you'll end up paying a whopping $171. Other airports that ranked high on's list include Austin, Cleveland, Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston-Hobby.

  • Frequent fliers: Most rental car companies now add a surcharge to those customers earning airline frequent flier miles for their rentals. Expect to pay 50 cents per day, up to a maximum of $2 per rental, for the honor of earning those miles.
  • Insurance: This is one car-rental fee you can do something about. When it comes to collision or liability damage waivers, don't fall for rental car agents' hard sell (they earn a commission selling these add-ons, which can cost as much as $30 a day). Typically, if you own a car and have insurance, you're covered when driving a rental car. In addition, many major credit cards offer insurance if you charge the rental car on the card. Before your next trip, call your insurance company or credit card company and ask whether you're covered.

Chris McGinnis, travel correspondent for CNN Headline News, is author ofThe Unofficial Business Travelers' Pocket Guide.

More from Entrepreneur

Grow Your Business at Entrepreneur LIVE! Join us on Nov. 16 in Brooklyn, NY, to learn from legends like Danica Patrick and Maria Sharapova, pitch our editors, meet with investors, and potentially walk away with funding!
Register here

One-on-one online sessions with our experts can help you start a business, grow your business, build your brand, fundraise and more.
Book Your Session

In as little as seven months, the Entrepreneur Authors program will turn your ideas and expertise into a professionally presented book.
Apply Now

Latest on Entrepreneur

My Queue

There are no Videos in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any video to save to your queue.

There are no Articles in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any article to save to your queue.

There are no Podcasts in your queue.

Click on the Add to next to any podcast episode to save to your queue.

You're not following any authors.

Click the Follow button on any author page to keep up with the latest content from your favorite authors.