What is the cheapest car rental company?

The cheapest car rental company will depend on a number of factors, including where you are renting the car and what type of car you need to rent. Cheap options for renting a car include using a low-cost rental site or renting directly from a company like Budget. Make sure you have the right car insurance before you rent so that you don't pay for additional coverage.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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Reviewed by Leslie Kasperowicz
Farmers CSR for 4 Years

UPDATED: Jan 11, 2022

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What You Should Know

  • Car rental companies located by the airport will significantly impact prices
  • Check to see what your insurance policy covers prior to buying additional coverage for your rental car
  • Paying for your rental car upfront could save you money in the long run

If you’ve ever needed a rental car for a vacation, a work trip, or a move, you know it can be difficult to find the cheapest car rental company. With deals, promotions, discounts, and ever-fluctuating daily rates, every rental car company is fighting to undercut the competition.

A few companies are known for their consistently low rental rate, but that may come at the expense of quality or availability. Alternatively, some higher-end companies known for being more expensive may have discounts, making them effectively cheaper than their seemingly inexpensive competitors.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the most prominent cheap car rental options so you can decide which one is right for you. We’ll also discuss rental car insurance and how to save on coverage.

Before you find out how to get the best price on a rental car, get the best price on car insurance. Enter your ZIP code above to compare auto insurance rates from top companies.

Finding the Cheapest Car Rental Company

Rates for rental cars vary depending on a lot of factors. Where you’re renting the car, for how long, and what type of car you need to rent will all impact what you pay. As a result, comparing rates from more than one company is the best way to save.

That said, there are a few companies you can put at the top of your comparison list to get the cheapest rental car. Take a look at the list of the cheapest places to get a rental car below.

#1 – Budget

Budget is a well-known rental company that stays true to its name. Their average car rental price is $35 per day, and they have an enticing car rental discount for paying upfront. Making your payment at the time of reservation could save you up to 35%.

One downside to Budget is that it frequently receives complaints about customer service. So, if you choose to rent from them, be aware that your car rental discount may result in frustrations later on.

#2 – Enterprise

Enterprise has a reputation for being one of the more expensive options in car rentals. This is supported by the fact that their daily rate averages around $50.

However, they uniquely avoid any extra fees and additional charges that other companies add on later in the transaction. These hidden fees don’t show up until you are about to submit the reservation, and you can end up paying far more than what you initially expected. Enterprise avoids the issue by reducing or eliminating many of these hidden charges.

They also have the bonus of availability and convenience. Enterprise has locations across the US and thus can accommodate longer rentals and farther distances.

#3 – Low-Cost Booking Sites

A few well-known rental booking websites provide significantly lower base prices than the top names. Sites like Alamo, Payless, and Thrifty are known for consistently undercutting name-brand prices.

These sites will frequently offer rentals that are at least $100 cheaper per week than some of the other companies we have talked about so far. This benefit is enough to win many people over.

However, this low car rental price can be a trade-off for quality. These third-party agencies can’t offer many of the add-ons, upgrades, or additional services that high-end companies can. If you join a loyalty program or take advantage of extreme discounts on other sites, you may end up paying more and getting less.

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How do I save money on a car rental regardless of what company I choose?

No matter which rental company you end up borrowing a car from, you can still save money by using these tricks.

  • Avoid airport pricing – Car rentals at any airport location will have some of the highest prices out there. They know that people need their cars and will rent them for exorbitant prices out of necessity. Instead, look for rental locations outside of the airport ahead of time. Factoring in the price of a taxi or rideshare over to the rental location, determine whether outside prices are cheaper for your purposes.
  • Don’t get upsold – Many car rentals will try to offer you extra amenities. Although they may have a small price on the surface, it can add up if you buy into their sales tactics. In reality, you usually won’t need them and won’t notice if they aren’t there.
  • Use your memberships – If you have memberships or subscriptions to large organizations or businesses, check whether the membership includes rental car benefits. Costco, AAA, and AARP are a few examples. In addition, frequent flier programs from certain airlines may also give you discounts or benefits on rental cars.
  • Use your own insurance –  If you already have insurance, check if your policy covers you when you rent a car. For insured drivers, rental car insurance is an unnecessary add-on that could add up to hundreds of dollars for a week-long rental period. Take a look at the best credit cards for rental auto insurance to see if you have a card that can save you money on coverage.

Of course, shopping around is always the best way to save money on a car rental.

The Cheapest Car Rental Company: The Bottom Line

Finding the best car rental prices is a matter of comparing prices from multiple companies. While there are some companiw that promise lower rates, beware of potential issues with availability and service. Make sure you’re getting the rental car that suits your needs.

Whether you are renting a car or driving one you own, the open road is unpredictable. As a driver, you need to protect yourself from unexpected damages. Before you rent a car, you should know you have the right insurance. While you can rent a car without a personal auto insurance policy, it’s much more expensive to pay for coverage that way.

Know that you know how to find the cheapest rental car company, make sure you’ve also got the best price on your auto insurance. To compare quotes from top companies for free, just enter your ZIP code below.

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