How to Rent a Car for a Yearby Brandon M. Dennis
While most people have had at least some experience renting a car, few realize that rental agencies offer month-to-month rental agreements and other long-term policies that allow you to keep your rental vehicle for long periods of time.
Unlike a lease, a month-to-month car-rental agreement can be terminated at any time before the next contractual month begins. Most rental agencies offer month-to-month rental agreements that allow you to earn more discounts the longer you keep your vehicle. For example, a rental agreement might start off at $800 per month but gives you $10 off the second month, $25 off the third month, $50 off the fourth month and so on. By the time you keep your rental car for a year, you might only be paying $400 per month.
While not all rental agencies provide long-term rental agreements other than month-to-month arrangements, it may be possible to sign a contract for six months, a year or even longer to secure lower monthly payments or fewer restrictions. However, long-term agreements such as these typically fall under the category of auto leasing rather than rental agreements.
While a lease is a long-term, legally binding contract that holds two parties accountable for their dealings with each other over an extended period of time -- usually 12 months or longer -- a rental agreement is typically a month-to-month arrangement that can be ended at any time but protects both parties from malicious intent as long as they agree to keep renewing the agreement.
Another way to rent a car for a year is to simply rent a car at the daily or weekly rate and book it for a year in advance. While you wouldn't have access to discounts that you may otherwise qualify for by setting up a long-term agreement with the rental agency, there isn't technically anything stopping you from doing so. However, many rental agencies place restrictions on your mileage usage, so you may be better off renting the car for a few days, weeks or months at a time and then renting a new car when the first agreement expires.
Renting a car in this manner would also allow you to avoid major damages and drive a fresh vehicle on a regular basis, but you may also be liable for more cleaning and repair fees if you don't keep the car in perfect condition, which could add up to a hefty bill if you keep renting new vehicles on an ongoing basis.
Adhere to Your Rental Agreement
Filling out the paperwork to rent a car for a year is as easy as going down to your local rental agency and telling an employee that you want a month-to-month agreement or another long-term policy, but ensure that you adhere to your rental agreement to the letter. Typically, you’ll be required to stay below a certain mileage each month, and you may be required to have the car serviced on a regular basis.
If you fail to follow the provisions specified in your rental agreement, you could face hefty fees when you return it to the rental agency.
Another concern is to avoid any damages that you can while you’re renting a car, as you could face thousands of dollars worth of co-pays forwarded to you by the rental agency’s insurance provider. Ask your rental agency about long-term insurance coverage and take care of any damages before you return the vehicle.
Brandon Dennis holds a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Central Florida with a minor in journalism. Since then, he has enjoyed working in the automotive aftermarket and has done so for the past six years. He is also currently seeking an ASE Certified Technician Certificate.