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Old Oct 3, 05, 3:33 pm   #1
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Car Rental: UK license for US car rental

Have a friend from the UK that is renting a car in the US....any tips on what is needed to rent from say, Alamo, National?
o UK drivers license is a paper document with no photo
o What kind of insurance/coverage is needed

Any tips of car rental agencies that are recommended for rental by UK resident? Thanks...
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Old Oct 3, 05, 4:35 pm   #2
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A UK paper licence is no problem, although the company will probably want to see a passport as well.

I usually take liability insurance and collision/loss damage waiver to the maximum extent. I reckon I am more dangerous in a car I don't know in a place I don't know. But personal accident/personal effects cover is usually already provided by my travel insurance.

Dollar has a UK site which does all-inclusive rates priced in sterling. Sometimes these rates can be good. Otherwise, I'm normally to be found playing with the Hertz site - different countries of residence, different frequent flyer discount codes; none of it ever (IME) checked when you collect the car, even though I could demonstrate everything that I claim to be.
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Old Oct 3, 05, 6:24 pm   #3
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Depending on legnths of stay and car rental, the friend may want to consider buying comprehensive travel insurance. I am sure AmEx U.K. offers one such that includes auto insurance (3rd party liability, CDW, etc).
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Old Oct 3, 05, 9:49 pm   #4
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The rental itself costs $120 but with CDW and Extended Protection, the rental totals $400 for a week?!? Is that what someone visiting from the UK spends for a one week car rental?
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Old Oct 3, 05, 10:18 pm   #5
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They really really want to look at this:

http://www10.americanexpress.com/sif...1,12756,00.asp

Yeah, CDW and liability run at least $25/day.
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Old Oct 4, 05, 12:44 am   #6
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You can get an international driving licence in the UK which is valid for countires where a photo id driving licence is required. It can be obtained from the RAC and is valid for a year.
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Old Oct 4, 05, 2:25 am   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by terenz
They really really want to look at this: http://www10.americanexpress.com/sif...1,12756,00.asp
That looked good until I found the price!

But then, I don't normally rent cars for more than 4 or 5 days a year in the US. I can see its value if there's going to be a longer rental.

I usually expect to pay in the region of $35 a day for SLI and CDW. So an extra $280 for a week's rental isn't outrageously over the top. This is one of the reasons why those Dollar inclusive packages can sometimes be good value for UK residents.
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Old Oct 4, 05, 3:04 am   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Globaliser
That looked good until I found the price!

But then, I don't normally rent cars for more than 4 or 5 days a year in the US. I can see its value if there's going to be a longer rental.

I usually expect to pay in the region of $35 a day for SLI and CDW. So an extra $280 for a week's rental isn't outrageously over the top. This is one of the reasons why those Dollar inclusive packages can sometimes be good value for UK residents.
I agree. I'd pre-book and possibly even pre-pay on in the UK. Americans usually have some other kind of cover so they don't have to take the the expensive insurances offered by the rental companies hence your friends experience at the counter. We Brits are also accustomed to the price being an all-in price so booking through the UK website ought to give you that.

One tip, don't book your reservation on the phone. I once did that with Hertz and asked for satnav, I arrived at Miami to find that there was no car for me equiped, and they refused to call the UK office to confirm my reservation details. In the end I had to take what I was offered at 3x the price. I sorted it out in the end and Hertz made amends, but it was still very annoying.
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Old Oct 4, 05, 6:07 am   #9
 
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I think that UK driving licences (note the spelling ) are covered in the training for US car rental agents, and doubtless other licences as well. Of course at Orlando airport they see them every day, at Hicksville South Dakota probably less so. But I've never had any problem.

On one occasion :

"Hoo-whee. Your drivers licences don't have no photograph on 'em, do they. Wow !"

Followed by the usual showing of passport picture, and all was fine. Farewell phrase from the counter was :

"Y'all have a good day now. And hey, you tell that Queen of yours that you gotta get yo' pictures on yo' drivers licences".

You can tell I was in New Orleans, can't you !

The British are used to driving on the right in continental Europe, so not really a problem, but there are a few things worth explaining if (as I am guessing) they haven't driven there before. Right turn on red is one. Yield to pedestrians when turning is another. Stopping for a flashing school bus is a third. And at railroad crossings slow right down and look up and down the tracks. I always open the window to hear any whistle better.
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Last edited by WHBM; Oct 4, 05 at 6:10 am..
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Old Oct 4, 05, 6:08 am   #10
 
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A UK license is perfectly valid in the U.S
Prebook and pay everything before you leave the UK.
Do not upgrade in the US, if you need a bigger car pay for it before you leave the UK.
I recently hired a full size car, fully comp, all insurances, tank of petrol and extra drivers for 320 for 2 weeks from Dollar via www.airline-network.co.uk
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Old Oct 4, 05, 6:20 am   #11
 
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If you get asked at the desk if you would like an upgraded car for $x it's often a sign they haven't got any left in the group you have reserved, and will have to give you a larger one anyway if you don't buy the upgrade. Respond by asking what they have actually got in your group !

There was a charming post here on FT a while ago from a midwest non-frequent flying couple who got to Florida late one evening, the rental agency was low on cars, and they got given a convertible, which they said made them feel like teenagers all over again !
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Old Oct 4, 05, 12:22 pm   #12
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Thanks for all the replies so far...I checked the Dollar.uk site but they don't list Savannah, GA (SAV), neither did the other website...

If you have any other sites you can suggest for prepaid rentals, it would be appreciated.

Last edited by sggolf; Oct 4, 05 at 7:15 pm..
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