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Despite increased investment in public transit, high-speed rail, and bicycle infrastructure, the United States remains a country where a car is still the most convenient way to get places.
Are you in the market for a car but can’t or don’t want to commit to a lease or purchase?
Then a long-term car rental might be for you.
But what’s a long-term car rental, exactly? And is it really the best option for you? What is the best place to rent a car for an extended period of time?
In this guide, we’ll take a look, exploring both the benefits of long-term car rental and the best companies to get a car for weeks or months at a time.
To start, we need to define what separates a “long-term” car rental from a regular one.
- What Is Long-Term Car Rental?
- 3 Reasons to Get a Long-Term Rental Car
- Long-Term Car Rentals vs. Leasing a Vehicle
- The 5 Best Companies for Long-Term Car Rental
- How Much Does a Long-Term Car Rental Cost?
- Is Renting a Car Long-Term Worth It?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Get the Long-Term Car Rental You Need
What Is Long-Term Car Rental?
The precise definition of a long-term commitment will vary based on the rental company, but long-term rentals generally refer to those lasting longer than a month.
We use this definition because you can often get a discount for rentals lasting for months at a time instead of just weeks.
If you’re not up for a lease or loan, a long-term car rental is a third viable option.
It works just like renting a car for a short-term rental, only you’ll hang onto the vehicle for a more extended period.
But why would you want to rent a car for such a long time? Keep reading to find out.
3 Reasons to Get a Long-Term Rental Car
There are plenty of reasons to get a long-term rental car. Here are three of the most common and compelling:
1. You Don’t Want to Use Your Personal Car
This is probably the most common reason.
The classic example here is a cross-country road trip.
Unless you’re moving somewhere far away, then it probably makes more financial sense to leave your personal vehicle at home.
While you may balk at the cost of renting a car long-term, you need to consider that driving your own vehicle can have high costs in the form of depreciation and wear.
You may not have to pay extra upfront to drive your own car, but you will pay in the long run as all those extra miles cause faster wear on your vehicle.
With a rental car, you pay more upfront, but you don’t have to worry about the high long-term costs.
Plus, new car models — which rental car companies typically use — provide impressive mileage.
The longer the trip, the more financial sense a rental car makes.
Of course, you should always do the math for yourself, as every situation is different.
Curious what the average cost per mile is to drive your vehicle? Check out this guide from AAA.
While there are lots of situations where you shouldn’t use your personal car, there are also some situations where your personal car simply won’t work.
To start, you might be driving somewhere that your car just can’t go.
If you’re planning to spend a few weeks navigating dirt roads in the mountains, you should probably leave your Prius at home in favor of a Jeep.
There are also other, less extreme situations where your personal vehicle won’t work.
It’s possible that your car won’t meet these despite being a perfectly fine vehicle.
If this is the case, then there are services that will allow you to rent a car for an extended period of time to use for rideshare or food delivery.
You’ll find a few recommendations for this situation on our list of the best long-term car rental companies below.
Related: the Uber driver requirements you must meet to get on the road
3. You Don’t Own a Car
The final reason to rent a car for a long period of time is that you don’t own a car.
If you live in a city like New York or San Francisco that’s walkable, bikeable, and has good public transit, then a car likely isn’t something you need on a daily basis.
However, there will still be situations in which you do need access to a car for an extended period of time.
Long road trips are the most common, but you might also want to do some rideshare or delivery driving work to make some extra money.
Long-Term Car Rentals vs. Leasing a Vehicle
Although a rental and a lease might seem like the same thing, they’re pretty different.
The main difference is that a typical lease is at least two years, whereas the longest rental period won’t be more than one year.
Should You Rent or Lease?
Whether you should rent or lease depends on how long you need the car and why you’ll need it.
For example, if you’re going on a long trip far from home, a rental will probably make more sense.
Then, you won’t have to worry about breaking your lease or shipping your vehicle back home. Instead, you’ll simply drop it off before you leave.
Leasing also tends to be more expensive than renting, especially if you only need the car for a few months or a year.
Not to mention, one-year leases are pretty tough to find, and breaking a lease early is difficult. Your better option would be to have somebody take over the lease for you.
The 5 Best Companies for Long-Term Car Rental
Several rental companies allow long-term car rentals.
In addition, some have partnerships with rideshare companies that let you rent when you work for the service.
The first company on our list is a well-known name in the car rental space.
They offer all kinds of vehicle types and car rental options, but for our purposes, we’re going to focus on the Hertz Multi-Month rental.
This product offers special car rental rates for monthly car rentals.
The precise rate will depend on the vehicle you choose, but the longer you book, the more you’ll save.
There are also no mileage limits and no down payments needed upon signing.
One-way rentals are also available for an additional fee.
In order for your reservation to qualify for Hertz Multi-Month, your rental must have a minimum length of at least 63 days.
So if your trip is shorter than that, you should consider other options, as they could be cheaper.
Some of the other benefits of renting with Hertz are:
- No mileage limits
- Includes wear and tear maintenance with cost
- One-way rental options
- No fees upfront
The next option on the list is Avis.
This is another well-known car rental brand, and they offer an appealing long-term car rental deal.
The product is called Avis Flex, and it can save you up to 10% on monthly rentals.
This deal is in many ways more appealing than the one that Hertz offers, as it’s both more transparent and applies to rentals as short as a month.
Therefore, Avis Flex is definitely worth considering for your next road trip.
Avis is available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and can also be booked globally.
Other benefits of renting through Avis are:
- The longer you rent, the lower the rates
- No long term commitment
- One-way rental options
- Swap your vehicle as-needed
Our next option takes us out of the world of traditional car rental companies and into the world of tech companies.
Turo aims to be the “Airbnb of cars,” allowing private individuals to list their cars for rent on the Turo platform.
Car owners get to earn some extra money from vehicles they aren’t using, and customers get a rental that’s more flexible and convenient than getting a car from a traditional company.
Unlike Hertz and Avis, Turo doesn’t have a specific long-term rental program.
However, many vehicle owners on the platform will give you a discount if you rent their cars for a month or more.
If you’re planning an especially long trip, you can even negotiate with the owner and see if they’ll give you an additional multi-month discount.
Plus, Turo offers tons of great benefits such as roadside assistance services and up to $1 million in liability insurance protection.
The car owner can even deliver the vehicle directly to you at your hotel, office, or airport so that you never have to worry about navigating to an inconvenient pick-up location.
A few of Turo’s benefits are:
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- Includes liability insurance in the cost
- Multiple physical damage protection plans
- Many hosts will deliver
Maven is not a traditional car rental company.
In addition to providing car sharing options like Turo, it also has a special service called Maven Gig in select cities.
This service focuses exclusively on people who want a long-term rental to drive for Uber, Lyft, or other gig economy apps.
You pay by the week, with weekly rates starting at $344 (and increasing for larger vehicles).
Maven Gig is a great option if you:
- Don’t own a car
- Don’t own a car that meets the Uber or Lyft requirements
- Don’t want to use your personal car for rideshare or other work-related driving
It’s a great service that we definitely recommend you check out.
The final option on our list is more of a place to get a short-term lease than a long-term rental.
At a certain point, however, the line between the two blurs.
Fair offers what they describe as “the future of car ownership.”
Essentially, in exchange for a flat monthly fee, you get a low-commitment car lease.
It’s low-commitment in that, unlike a traditional lease, you aren’t locked in for years.
Instead, you can choose to walk away from the program at any time.
Furthermore, you can also switch to a different vehicle whenever you like (something a traditional lease doesn’t offer).
And, you can do all of this on your smartphone through the Fair app.
Furthermore, Fair also offers a long-term rental solution for Uber drivers.
This program is currently available only in select cities in California, but it will likely expand to additional markets as it gains popularity.
Enterprise also offers long term car rentals.
Although you can rent by the week, having a rental for less than 28 days is a short term rental, not a long term.
As one of the oldest rental agencies, Enterprise is a good choice for flexible long term options.
Enterprise’s main long term rental benefits include:
- Unlimited mileage
- Indefinite rental period
- Lower minimum rental period than other companies
Budget is another popular car rental company you can do a long term rental with.
With Budget by the Month, you can choose a rental option that you pay by the month instead of the day.
The longer you rent, the cheaper your bill.
Budget’s main long term rental benefits are:
- Flexible rental contracts
- One-way rentals make long trips easy
- Loss damage waiver discount for monthly rentals
- Swap your car as-needed
Sixt’s long term rental gives you an excellent opportunity to secure a vehicle for an extended period without the hassle of a lease.
Their minimum long term rental period is 28 days, although that can vary by branch.
Sixt’s long term rental benefits include:
- Swap your vehicle when you need to
- Rides can be canceled and rebooked with no penalties
- Rates will be decreased the longer you rent
How Much Does a Long-Term Car Rental Cost?
If you know the standard car rental rate, you’re likely wondering how it could be cheaper to rent a car long-term instead of a lease.
The average cost of a long-term rental will depend on several factors, including:
- Length of rental
- Vehicle class
- In some cases, how many miles you put on the car
For almost every company, the daily cost to rent will go down significantly the longer you keep the car.
Is it Cheaper to Rent a Car Long-Term?
In most cases, renting a car long-term will be cheaper than leasing or purchasing. This is especially true if you only need the car for a few months.
This is because leases and purchases require down payments, registration fees, and insurance costs.
Additionally, you’ll have to pay for your own maintenance. A long-term rental will let you pay for what you need.
In most cases, they include basic maintenance, such as oil changes, in the cost. If you need a car for several years, purchasing it will be more worthwhile.
However, if you only need a car for a few months, you could potentially save a lot of money with a long term rental.
Is Renting a Car Long-Term Worth It?
Whether a long-term rental is worthwhile depends on your circumstances.
It’s most beneficial for drivers who need a vehicle but for whom it doesn’t make financial sense to purchase or lease a car.
Here are a few pros and cons of choosing a long-term rental.
Pros of Long-Term Car Rentals
- Mileage is usually unlimited
- Includes preventive maintenance in the cost
- Change out your vehicle whenever you need to
- End the rental when you’re ready
Cons of Long-Term Car Rentals
- In most cases, cars can’t be rented indefinitely
- No trade-in option
- Renting for too long will end up costing significantly more than leasing
Conclusion: Are Long-Term Car Rentals Worth It?
The pros of a long-term rental weigh in favor of someone choosing to rent for less than a year.
However, it might not make financial sense if you need to rent for longer than that.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still curious about long-term car rentals? Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Do You Need Insurance for Long-Term Rentals?
Car rental agencies typically provide insurance for month-long rentals, but you’ll have to check with the agency to know your responsibility.
Can You Leave The Country With a Long-Term Car Rental?
Some car rental companies might allow you to leave the country with your rental.
However, this isn’t the case for all companies in all countries. Check with the rental agency before taking your car out of the country.
Can You Buy a Car That You’ve Rented Long-Term?
Certain car dealerships offer a rent-to-own option for subprime borrowers.
In other words, if you have poor credit and can’t qualify for a decent interest rate, a rent-to-own option might be a good choice.
Can You Rent a Car Permanently?
You can’t rent a car permanently. Cars cannot be rented from most companies for more than 6-12 months.
However, you might be able to turn in your rental vehicle and rent a new one once your initial rental period is up.
Get the Long-Term Car Rental You Need
We hope this guide has shown you all the different options that exist for long-term car rental.
Whether you need a car for a road trip or a vehicle you can drive for Uber, there’s a company out there to provide it.
If you’re not a full-time driver, but still want to rent a car to earn extra money with Uber, read our guide to Getaround promo codes to learn about a company with hourly rates and get a $60 off coupon code.
If you’re interested in long-term car storage, we also have options for you.