I’m looking into long term car rentals. I live car-free in San Francisco. In fact, I have been without a car for the whole thirteen years I’ve lived here. I prefer not to drive if I don’t have to.
However, I’m planning on spending a big chunk of the summer in LA, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to go car-free in that car-focused city. Therefore, I’m looking at my options.
Long term car rentals have changed a lot in recent years. Renting from a major car company used to be the only option. You just had to look around for the best rate from the few companies available. Not so anymore. These days you can choose from big companies, small companies, and by-the-month car shares.
Monthly Car Subscriptions
In looking at long term car rentals, the option for car subscriptions really stands out.
For example, there’s Canvas. You can sign up online, select your car, and choose a rental length of 1-12 months. The price includes:
- Comprehensive insurance
- Roadside assistance
I don’t have a car. Which means I also don’t have insurance to cover a rental car. These long term rental cars include that, which is important for me. This company is based in San Francisco and serve people here, as well as in Los Angeles. As a result, this works well for me. However, it wouldn’t work for people in other areas of the country, at least not as of yet.
Other companies that offer similar car subscriptions as long term car rentals include:
- Flexdrive, which has terrific variety in terms of rental length
- Fair, which allows you to pay monthly for as long as you want the car
- Mobility, which lets you trade in cars monthly if you’d like
- Revolve, which is for luxury vehicles
- Borrow, which is for electric vehicles
In addition to these, you can find similar programs through most car manufacturers. For example, BMW has traditional sales and lease options but now also offers a monthly car subscription service. Volvo, Cadillac, and Porsche also offer similar subscriptions.
One thing to look out for with these, as well as other long term car rentals, is whether or not there’s a limit to your allowed mileage. If there is, then going over that amount can end up costing you a lot of money.
Long Term Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing
I like peer-to-peer car sharing programs. For example, Getaround and Turo are two convenient options. As a city dweller, I can easily find a car in my area. Then I can rent it by the hour. It is convenient and easy. These services typically also include the insurance.
But does it work for long term car rentals? Yes, to an extent.
Here are some of the options:
- Maven allows you to rent a peer’s car for up to 28 days.
- Turo doesn’t seem to have a general limit on the length of rentals. However, in Texas, the rental must be 180 days or less.
- Getaround says that as long as the car is available, you can rent it for any duration.
The trick is that these cars belong to other people. That’s nice because you can help someone in your local area earn some extra money. However, it also means that only a few cars will be available for long term car rentals. Furthermore, the monthly cost is higher through these programs than most other options.
Traditional Long Term Car Rentals
Of course, there is always the option of going the traditional route. You can get long term car rentals through any major rental car service. They typically offer a monthly rate. If you shop around and look for deals, you can get a good price. However, it’s important to factor in the insurance fee. After all, it can drive up the cost significantly once you start adding all of the different types of insurance.