Rental cars are cars temporarily available to travelers and tourists for an agreed period and fee. Companies known as car rental companies offer these cars, and they operate globally, especially in countries and cities with tourist attractions.
There are several rental packages available, including daily, weekly, monthly, and long-term packages. This means in most rental companies, you are charged for the number of days, not the number of miles.
Now, while car rental companies offer unlimited miles, there have been questions about whether the unlimited is really unlimited. This article aims to put these questions to rest by examining the concept of “unlimited miles” in rental cars at an extended level.
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Here’s the Short Answer to Whether Rental Cars Really Have Unlimited Miles:
Most rental companies offer unlimited miles on their rental cars. However, they also have restrictions for some of their packages, which may limit renters to a certain number of miles per day. This makes it important to read the fine print before renting a car.
What Exactly Does Unlimited Miles Mean in Car Rental?
Unlimited miles in a car rental literally means there is no restriction on the number of miles you can rack up on your rental car. While this is the literal meaning, it isn’t very practical. Car rental companies are wary of customers using up excess miles, and so they place a number of understandable limitations on customers.
The unlimited miles package is available for most regular cars, especially in the United States and Canada. However, for special vehicles like cargo vans, passenger vans, large SUVs, and luxury cars, companies like Enterprise offer them for rent at a limited mileage.
Limited mileages are often capped at 100-300 miles per day, and car rental companies often charge about $0.20 for every mile past the agreed limit.
For folks who aren’t sure just how long they will be on the road, rental cars with unlimited or free mileage work best for them. As long as they don’t exceed the agreed duration, there should be no penalties or extra charges.
Can Car Rental Mileage Really Be Unlimited?
Car rental mileages can really be unlimited. As a matter of fact, the unlimited package is available in most vehicle classes. As we mentioned before, exceptions include speciality rides like cargo and passenger vans, large SUVS, and exotic cars.
So, for an unlimited mileage option, you get to pay the same price for 10 miles as you’d pay if you used up 1,500 miles. In short, you don’t even have to look at the odometer when you are on this package; just drive on.
How Far Can You Go on a Rental Car?
As we have mentioned before, having unlimited mileage basically means you can go as far as you want within the agreed duration. However, if you have a limited mileage on your rental car, you usually would not be able to go beyond 150 miles.
Also, some unlimited mileage packages come with a “fair usage policy” tag. This often applies to long-term rẹntals beyond 25-30 days, and it means the “unlimited mileage” will come with some restrictions to ensure fairness.
Just to be sure, even if you have opted for an unlimited mileage option, it’s important to ask the “how far can I go” question. While unlimited mileage may be gratuitous, racking up an “excess” amount of miles on the odometer may be considered unfair to the company.
But then, who determines what is “excess” and what is not? It is for this reason that we suggest you always ask the “how far can I go” question, even if you pay for unlimited mileage.
Once the agreement reads “unlimited mileage,” you really can go as far as you want, except there are fair usage caveats.
On some car rental forums, we found people who have put as much as 5,000-6,000 miles on an unlimited mileage rental car, and they didn’t have to pay extra.
Usually, if you use up that much on an unlimited mileage, the worst that could happen is the obvious displeasure on the representatives’ faces.
What Does Unlimited Miles for Non-Local Renters Mean?
Some companies only offer unlimited miles to renters who do not live in the locality. This is called “unlimited miles for “non-local renters.”
So, for some companies, if you are a local renter, you cannot get unlimited miles. Matter of fact, you are likely to be restricted to about 150 miles per day.
Besides that, as a local renter, these companies will not allow you to go out of state.
Basically, “unlimited miles for non-local renters” means only out-of-state or international renters enjoy unlimited mileage on rental cars.
What Other Cost to Expect When Driving Really Far in Rental Cars?
If you are going to be driving really far in your rental car, the obvious thing to do is settle for unlimited mileage.
However, even with unlimited mileage, some rental companies will not allow you to go beyond the pickup states and the neighboring states. Breaching this rule will amount to very hefty penalties even if the mileage is unlimited.
Also, you may face severe charges if you cross country borders, i.e. cross bordering charges, even when you have unlimited mileage on your rental car.
Not to mention the fact that if you settle for a limited mileage for whatever reason, you’ll be restricted to 100-150 miles per day. And, in respect to this, any additional mile will attract extra charges.
4 Best Car Rental Companies When You Are Driving a Long Distance?
There are several rental companies to choose from, and most of them offer unlimited mileages. However, some are much better for long distances than the others. Below are four rental companies perfect for when you are driving a long distance:
Budget is one of the top car rental companies worldwide, and they offer unlimited mileage. They also have a reputation for very low rates and offer long-term discount programs for up to 11-month rentals.
Hertz is a major rental company with offices worldwide. They offer unlimited mileage as well as a quick reservation and pickup process.
The company offers a package known as the Hertz Multi-Month rental with subsidized rates for rentals beyond 63 days. They also offer one-way rentals, although those come with extra charges.
Avis is also one of the most renowned car rental companies and they just so happen to have great long-distance deals.
They have a program known as the Avis Flex which can help you save 10% on rentals for a month and beyond. They also offer unlimited mileage, and their services are available throughout the U.S.
The truth is, Turo is not a traditional car rental company. It is just a platform that allows private individuals to put their cars up for rent. Like an Airbnb of some sort, but for vehicles.
And since they aren’t a traditional rental company, Turo does not offer definite long-distance discount programs. However, the car owners on Turo offer discounts for monthly and multi-monthly rentals, more often than not.
They also have roadside assistance offers and tremendous insurance programs to go along with that. Some car owners on Turo also offer unlimited mileage, and prices are very competitive on the platform.