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  1. Default Help! Advice needed!


    I am 31 and from the UK and will be looking at travelling for 90 days from New York to Los Angeles in March 2009 to June 2009. I really want to do this trip by car however I am finding it a nightmare to find a rental company quote under $4000 for the trip. I have tried some UK rental companies but they have given me quotes of £3000 upwards.

    I was thinking about buying a car rather than renting one. I have a relative in Pittsburgh that may be able to purchase a car for me before we arrive. However, I'm not sure about getting it insured for just 90 days. From what I've read here insurance only goes in 6 month blocks. Also, I'm not sure how strict the registration, insurance regulations etc are there.

    It's really a bit of a nightmare because the car rental quotes are so high and I'm not sure whether it is the most cost effective to rent or to buy.

    Any advice whould be much appreciated. :)

    Last edited by killbi11; 02-06-2009 at 08:40 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default fixed costs

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    If you're going to be on the road for 3 months, then you might be better off buying. Often a trip needs to last 2-3 months for the costs of purchasing a car to break even with rental costs. Part of the reason is that there are some costs that you have to pay for in longer term intervals, like car insurance (typically 6months to a year policy) and registration, good for a year. There's really no good way to find things that are a shorter term than that. And purchasing insurance without being a resident can be a challenge, with high rates because of a lack of US driving record. Here is more information about the pros and cons of purchasing and renting.

  3. Default

    Thanks Michael. I've been searching the posts about this but seem to have missed that post. It's very useful. Thanks again.

  4. Default

    Just to let people know, I have been quoted $3425 by National/Alamo for an 87 day hire of a Chevrolet Cobalt 2 Dr or similar or similar. This includes the one way drop-off fee of $500. This rental price includes breakdown cover and insurance as well.

    On reading some of the other posts it seems that a decent car (one that wouldn't breakdown) to buy would be $4000 at least. And this is without insurance, registration fees, breakdown cover etc.

    Am I right in saying that I am best renting over this 3 month period?

    Many thanks,


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default sounds reasonable

    I don't think that's a bad move at all. Its possible that this might end up costing a little more, but the extra money could very well be worth it. If you rent you'll have the confidence knowing that you are getting to drive a nearly new car, that you'll be able to drive off the lot quickly, and even if something breaks down, you won't be responsible for fixing it. If you purchased a car, you'd have to spend several days finding, inspecting, and then going through all the other red tape. You'd certainly be spending more than $4000 up front just for a car thats pushing 10 years old, although you might get some of that back when you sold the car, and you'd still need to have money available for any repairs that could arise.

    One thing I would do is see if they will give you a free upgrade to a larger car. A cobalt is a fairly small car, and while it will certainly get the job done, you might be more comfortable in a larger sedan. Since you'll be spending more than $3000, I'd think they'd want to keep you happy with a small gesture like an upgrade. You'll probably have the most luck if you talk directly to someone at the rental office, rather than a faceless national phone number of internet site.

  6. Default Adventures on Wheels

    Thanks for the ideas Michael.

    I have also been getting quotes from Adventures on Wheels. Their quotes are even better than National/Alamo. To make things more complicated I am also thinking about a Sleeper Van (from Adventures on Wheels). This is because we would like the freedom of being able to camp on some of the nights in National Parks/RV Parks around the country.

    The quotes that AoW (Adventures on Wheels) have given are (these quotes include one-way drop off fees):-

    Chrysler Sebring Conv. - $3286 (1998 model) / $3624 (2003 model)
    Dodge Sleeper Van 17ft - $4842 (1998 model) / $6150 (2003 model)

    As you can see there is quite a difference between the prices for a 1998 model and a 2003 model. My question really is does anyone know of any reason(s) why I shouldn't go for the cheaper 1998 models?

    I emailed AoW to ask them a few questions regarding the rental arrangements. I have copied them below:-

    Q: What happens in the event of a breakdown? Will I need to pay a fee to get the vehicle towed to a garage? Will I need to pay for the repairs? What happens if it unable to be fixed?
    A: Since you are traveling for more than 30 days, we consider this a long term rental. With long term rentals, the renter has to assume some responsibilities, such as going for oil change every 5000 miles etc. All regular maintenance repairs will be reimbursed by Adventures on Wheels at the time of drop off. You have to keep the receipts. We recommend that you sign up with (AAA) road side assistance. This membership also gives you a lot of discounts for campgrounds etc. In case of a repair, you have to call Adventures on Wheels for authorization to repair the vehicle. If the repair is less than $100.00 you don't need to call us. If the vehicle needs to be repaired and it takes longer than 24 hours, we will reimburse you for a lost day.

    Q: What happens in the event of a collision? Is there an excess to be paid? Will the car be replaced? What happens in the event of theft or vandalism (while parked)?
    A: You can get additional insurance to reduce your deductable to $500.00 in case of an accident or theft. The car will generally not be replaced, unless the accident was not your fault.

    Q: What happens if there is general 'wear and tear' to the car (ie. stone chips from road)? Will I have to pay for these to be repaired?
    A: glass damages, tire damages due to negligence will not be covered by our insurance, unless you are involved in an accident.

    Should there be anything here that I should be worried about? Are there any other questions I should really be asking?

    I'm sorry about all the questions but because of the amount of money I will be spending I just want to make sure that in the 'worst case scenario' I will be covered.

    Thanks for your help,

    Last edited by killbi11; 02-12-2009 at 01:54 PM.

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