When planning to rent a car, many people are unsure of the requirements to do so. In most cases, a security deposit is necessary. In fact, all car rental firms in the US require a deposit, save for a few. Here’s more information if you’re looking for a no deposit car rental.
So, what’s a security deposit? And can you hire a vehicle without such a deposit? If these are some questions at the back of your mind, stick around to learn more.
Why A Security Deposit Is Necessary
A security deposit is a sum of money paid in advance to secure the rental of a car. The money is usually held by the rental company. Usually, the rental company refunds the deposit once you return the car in the same condition as when you rented it. A car hires security deposit takes the form of a hold on your card- debit or credit. The sum held is generally excess or deductible on your insurance policy.
The hold means you are responsible for paying up to that amount in case of damage to the rental car. Simply put, the purpose of a security deposit is to cover any damages that may occur to the car during the rental period. It also covers the cost of refueling the car if you don’t return it with a full tank of gas. As a result, the rental service you consider will likely charge such a deposit before they allow you to hire their car.
Best Ways to Rent a Car
Many car rental companies will allow you to prepay for your rental car. This implies you can pay for the entire cost of the rental upfront. By prepaying, however, you are not eliminating the need for a security deposit.
A debit card is a convenient way to rent a car. When you use a debit card, the rental car company will place a hold on your account for the estimated rental cost, plus any additional charges that may apply. This hold ensures that you have the funds available to pay for the rental, and it also serves as your security deposit. When you return the car, the rental company will release the hold, and you will only be responsible for any actual charges incurred during the rental period.
Still, some credit cards offer car rental insurance. You may use your credit card to pay for the rental. Check with your credit card company beforehand to see if this is an option. A credit card is a more feasible alternative, as it limits a rental firm’s access to your bank account. You are also better positioned to dispute erroneous charges if they arise once you pay via a credit card.
You may snag a discount on your rental car if you are a AAA member. In some cases, this discount can be applied to the rental cost, effectively eliminating the need to pay a security deposit- technically.
Ways to Hire a Car Without a Deposit
Just because most firms require a deposit doesn’t mean you can’t work around it- by avoiding it altogether! Some of the possible ways to hire a car without a security deposit include:
- Having a history with the service provider. If you’ve rented from them before and have always been a responsible customer, they may be more likely to waive the deposit.
- Buying supplemental insurance at the time of rental. This will usually cover any damages during your rental period, so the company won’t need to hold onto your deposit.
- Renting from a local firm. A local entity may be more likely to forego the deposit than a national company. Plus, a small company in your neighborhood may be more willing to take the gamble than one with a larger footprint.
So if you’re looking to avoid paying a security deposit, these are a few options worth considering. All the same, you’ll need to be wary of some potential downsides.
Potential Downsides of Not Paying a Deposit
A no-deposit rental sounds like a great idea. But, such a service may be more expensive than one requiring a deposit. The arrangement means the service provider risks not asking for a deposit. As a result, they will likely charge more for the rental to cover themselves in case of any damages.
In addition, some companies may require a higher excess in the event of damage. Carefully go over the terms and conditions before booking. Besides, without a security deposit, you are fully responsible for any damage to the rental car- no matter how minor. This could end up costing you more in the long run.
At the end of the day, renting a car without paying a security deposit is possible. But, the options are few and limited. And while opting for a firm with a liberal policy may be tempting, it’s advisable to weigh the pros and cons before taking the plunge.