What’s The Longest You Can Keep a Rental Car? (Checked)

We cannot overemphasize the advantages of a rental car. Rental cars are so useful that there are people who use only rental cars for their daily commute.

Such people refuse to own cars and consider renting cars as a better alternative. We can relate this to renting a house instead of owning one. However, do such people have to renew their contracts? Does the contract last for months at a time?

Fin out in this article.

Here’s the short answer to how long you can keep a rental car:

These days, the rental duration for any car can last from a single day to up to 6 months. Some companies may even offer contracts with 12 month durations. However, not all rental car companies offer such long durations. In another context, you can keep a rental car in your possession about half an hour after the contract expires.

How Much Do Long-Term Car Rentals Cost?

Rentals are more expensive today because of rental car shortages around the country, as a result of supply chain disruptions and other factors.

Monthly car rentals, which once cost only about $1,500 on average, now cost way more, some amounting to over $2,000.

Cars are now costlier than before, because of a wide range of issues, ranging from chip shortages and other market forces.

Whatever the case, you’d still get to save better with long-term rentals because daily rates can amount to $100 today.

Are Long-Term Car Rentals Worth It?

Considering the discounts that come with long-term car rentals, we’d say they’re worth it. Other than the discounts, long-term car rentals can sometimes be a better alternative to actually owning a car.

The advantages of long-term rentals are endless. Let’s say you have a busy schedule. You may not always remember the routine maintenance that your car needs.

This means you run a risk of skipping the regular maintenance.

Of course, that’ll do more harm than good to your vehicle. With a long-term car rental, however, you never have to worry about changing the oil yourself.

If the car needs oil, you can easily swap it for another one and be on your way. They would usually do this service at no charge for you. Another option would be to drive to their service center and they’ll conduct the maintenance for you.

These services are the perks of being a full-time customer. You get to enjoy them for a monthly subscription fee for the car. They’re better equipped and more experienced in handling cars, anyway.

What Rental Car Companies Offer Long-Term Rentals?

There are many rental car companies that offer long-term rentals. However, some companies may require you to check in monthly, irrespective of how long the rental may be. It may be their way of ensuring you’re maintaining the car properly.

SIXT is a great rental company for long-term rentals. They also offer one-way rentals which help with minimizing mileage. With SIXT, you can easily rent a car for up to 6 months or 180 days.

Budget offers rentals for up to 11 months at a time. You can rent a car from Hertz for up to three months with no mileage limits.

Avis, Enterprise, Alamo are also well-known companies that offer long-term rentals to customers. These companies have distinct features which may or may not suit you individually. Good thing you have a wide range of options to choose from.

Related: What Is Considered Damage To A Rental Car? (Explained)

What Rental Car Companies Have Good Prices for Long-Term Rentals?

The longer the duration of the contract, the more you’ll save on daily costs. Thus, weekly costs are cheaper than daily costs. Renting a car for a month will no doubt cause a greater decrease in the daily costs.

Overall, cheaper car rentals offer cheaper prices for long-term rentals. However, there are top-notch companies that offer great deals.

SIXT is one of the rental companies with great prices and many discount options. Besides their great discounts and many packages, they also provide the option of swapping your car anytime.

With such a system, it’s impossible to tire of a specific vehicle, as you have several options. They also allow customers to rent cars for the exact duration they need it for. This means there are no fixed durations they must follow.

Budget Car Rental Company, as the name implies, also has good prices on long-term car rentals. The rate gets cheaper the earlier you book the car. They also offer one-way rentals and a discount on their Loss Damage Waiver.

They are flexible with car swapping, no matter your preference.

Hertz offers huge discounts almost up to 60% for rentals up to 3 months. They offer massive discounts on any rental that’s over 2 months.

Enterprise is another car rental company that provides attractive discounts on long-term rentals. A three-month rental with enterprise can have over 50% discount than the daily rates.

They can also provide this service with no mileage limit. However, it doesn’t exactly apply to all vehicle classes.

Don’t allow discounts to make you rent a car for a longer duration than you require. If you only need a car for 3 days, don’t be tempted to rent it for a week. The discounts aren’t worth the redundancy.

Related: Car Leasing Process Explained Step-By-Step For Beginners (For Beginners)

What Happens If You Keep a Rental Car Longer Than Agreed?

As expected, this will attract a fee. However, most rental car companies have a grace period. Once you exceed that grace period, you’d be charged extra.

The grace period usually ranges from 30 minutes to an hour. It helps in case situations that are beyond your control. You may be stuck in traffic or need to refill the tank before returning the vehicle.

Enterprise gives a 29 minute grace period after the contract expires for customers to return the car. After that, if you return the car within the next 2½ hours, they’ll charge you an hourly rate.

However, if you exceed 2½ hours before returning it, they’ll charge you for an extra day. Other than the charge for the extra hours or day, they may also charge a fee for breaching the contract.

This is because car rental companies always work on schedules. A different customer may have already booked the car and would need it from the moment your rent expires. Returning the car late may lead to an unhappy customer who’ll no doubt blame the rental company.

If you discover you cannot return the car on time, call the company and inform them beforehand. This will enable them to find an alternative solution for other customers in time. It may also cause them to waive the late return fee if they believe your reason to be genuine.

Also, call them as soon as you realize you want to extend the duration of your contract. You can’t go wrong with informing them quickly.

Related: Are Rental Cars Generally Reliable? (Read This First)

At What Point Is Leasing Cheaper Than Renting?

Leasing is simply an agreement that allows you to drive a car for a specific amount of time. The advantage of leasing is that you don’t have to pay the full price the car is worth. Since leasing is closer to owning the car than renting, it’s usually a long-term contract.

There is hardly ever a point where leasing becomes cheaper than renting. First, the shortest practical duration for a car lease is one year. However, even one year leases are difficult to find today.

Most leasing companies offer contracts from 2 years and above.

The longest practical duration of renting a car is one year.

First, we’ve established the fact that renting a car for longer durations attracts significant discounts. The same applies to leasing a car. It is cheaper to lease cars for longer periods like 3 years and above.

Based on these facts, we can say that using a one year duration, renting is at its cheapest. Leasing, on the other hand, will be more expensive if the duration is for only a year.

Of course, leasing companies deliberately offer discounts on longer term leases to increase patronage. However, there are other reasons one year leases are so expensive.

A car experiences the most severe depreciation in its first year. The years that follow have lower depreciation rates. If you lease a car for only the first year, the responsibility of paying for depreciation would rest on you.

The processes involved with renting a car are simpler than leasing one. With rentals, you can easily switch cars, while leasing means you’re stuck with your car.

Hence, renting a car is usually cheaper than leasing one. Except, of course, you’re considering a long-term lease, say for 3 or 5 years.

Final Thoughts

Even though rental companies offer a grace period after rental contracts expire, it’s always best not to abuse it. When you rent a vehicle, do your best to return it before time elapses. Only return the vehicle late if you find yourself in a complex situation beyond your control.

This would help put you in favorable terms with the rental car company. They may even waive certain protocols next time you decide to rent a car from them.

Before renting a car for a long period, ensure you compare prices from different rental car companies first. Compare their policies, packages, charges, and so on. While these fees may be negligible for short-term rentals, they are usually more pronounced in long-term rentals.

Sources

One Year Car Lease: Can You? Should You? | cars.usnews.com

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