How to Handle the Rental Car Shortage

While it’s a dream of many drivers to get their own car, sometimes a rental is the way to go. Rental cars leave the driver free of a lot of responsibility. The rental payments are often cheaper in the long run than buying a new car. Sometimes rental companies pay for repairs and insurance fees that you would normally account for if you were the owner.

The problem is that finding a rental car is difficult right now. There is a severe lack of rental cars available, and customers are going to have to find ways to get creative if they still want one. Cheap car rental companies like Budget and Enterprise are still your best bet for finding an affordable rental car.

We’ll also talk about some other options you have if you want a rental car but can’t find one. This ranges from borrowing cars with your friends and family to calling a ride share or a taxi if you are only in need of an occasional ride.

Decide How Much You Need to Drive

How you handle getting a rental car depends on what you need it for. If you need to drive to work every day, a rental car might not be the best transportation option for you. Think about buying or leasing a car, as this is a more long-term option for your lifestyle.

The same thing applies if you are someone who likes to take a lot of road trips. Say you live in a wide-open area like Montana and enjoy taking road trips in the state with your family. You may be someone who loves going on these trips as your main avenue for entertainment.

This means buying a car is better than renting. If you’re going to be driving on a daily basis for many miles, buying is the way to go. You want to have the freedom of owning your own car if you’re a frequent driver.

Traveling for Fun or Business

One of the top reasons for getting a rental car is that you are on a vacation in a different state or country for weeks on end. You need a way to get around in this foreign area. If it is a business trip, your company will usually rent the vehicle for you. If you are taking a vacation to Germany, for example, you will need to find your own rental car.

How to Handle the Rental Car Shortage

You need to think about getting additional rental car insurance if you’re going to be traveling a lot in a short period of time with your rental car. Getting into an accident with the basic rental car insurance the rental company has could leave you paying a lot yourself. Check into some additional comprehensive coverage.

What if you can’t find a rental while traveling?

Since there’s a rental car shortage, you might be faced with a situation where you can’t find a rental once you’ve arrived at your destination. This means you should think about alternative ways of getting around. Perhaps only travel to the location of a friend or family member so they can drive you around. This limits your ability to go exactly where you want, though.

If you’re traveling to a region with no family or friends, plan your outings close to the hotel so you can walk from your suite to the destination. Going to a resort where most of the fun is on the hotel property is a decent way to have fun without needing a rental car.

Alternatives to Renting

Get creative to find alternatives to renting a car if you can’t find a rental car right now. If you have a friend who enjoys going on trips with you, see if both of you can share the costs of the rental car. If your friend has their own car they own, you can carpool with them, or vice versa. Make sure you help them pay for gas money, though.

If you only need to get a ride somewhere occasionally, see if you can call an Uber or take a taxi. This is expensive to do if you are going to be riding a lot, so save this option for the rare occasion that you can’t find your own means of transportation.

You can also go through a car-sharing company like Zipline that allows you to book a car for as short as a single day. No matter what your reason for needing a car is, renting might not be the option right now due to a shortage of rental vehicles. Thinking about why you need a temporary car will give you a way to evaluate your situation and find the right ride for you. Car-sharing companies, carpooling with friends, or taking an Uber are all great options.

Shawn Laib

Shawn Laib writes and researches for the auto insurance comparison site, He wants to help people find a car during the rental car shortage and figure out alternatives to traditional renting.

Evan White
Knowledge sharing helps to strengthen your personal brand! We all have a personal brand and it's always being altered by what we do, whether we are aware of it or not. I have seen mine shaped in a positive way because of the information I have freely shared.

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