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Some Qs re Car Rental

Destination Expert
for Derry
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Some Qs re Car Rental


What is a transponder and is it recommended?

We will be renting a car in October at Boston airport so I'm trying to research my options.

The 2 sites I've been looking at are carhire3000.co.uk and usrentacar.co.uk.

I didn't see any mention of a transponder on the quotes I received.

Is it better to book directly with the US rental company for the best price?

Would the sites mentioned above include adequate insurance for damage/collisions within the standard quotes?

Also, when I am quoted for eg.' Ford Focus or similar' can they not be specific about the type of car provided?

Sorry for all the Qs!

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental


I have no clue about a transponder related to car rental. Where did you find that information ?

I guess you will get better deals if you book via US sites. This is they way I go about it.

1. check in hotwire.com or priceline.com for the prices for your rental period. Both of these sites show masked rates for the lowest quote ( They reveal the actual car renting company only after you book )

2. I dont like paying to a third party sites above to avoid any confusions regarding cancellation or any issues during rental

3. Having seen the lowest price on the above sites, I go to the individual car rental company sites and check the rates. one or other should be having a price close to what is there in the hotwire.com.

few sites to check are , Enterprise, Dollar, Budget , National, Sixt , Thrifty, Avis , Hertz, Alamo. (yes check all. believe me I have saved around 100$ in 10 minutes spent). One you find a similar price, book it on the rental car site. Paying early should give you better rates than at counter. If you dont see a similar price, book on hotwire or priceline itself.

99.99% rental car companies dont specify exact model. So you can get any vehicle which is available in the same class. If none in the booked class is available they generally give to next big size as free upgrade.

insurance is whole big deal. So i will post it as new comment.


Liverpool, UK
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2. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

In general terms it's not recommended for foreign visitors to book via the US websites as they wont include all the necessary insurances and you might need to add these later which could be expensive.

If you book via the UK or Irish website you'll normally have all the relevant insurances included in the quote.

None of the major rental companies specify specific vehicles except for some individual cars where you cn rent that specific model but they normally cost more.

Not sure what you mean by transponder unless you are referring to the device for use on toll roads which are become increasingly cashless and rental firms include the necessary equipment in the car, for a fixed fee normally, allowing you to access toll roads.

Charlotte, North...
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3. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

Car insurance:

The following things are my views and you are requested to use it with your own discretion.

I guess you are from UK. I am also new to US ( 6 months ) and have rented cars few times only (I did lot of online research though).

All drivers in USA should have a valid insurance while on the road. The minimum required insurance depends n the laws of the sates you drive in.

insurance has generally two parts

1. Liability cover - covering the damages caused by you to third party . this doesnt include damage to your car.

2. Damage cover - covering damage happened to your car.

first part is mandatory and second part is optional.

If you are flying down from UK and have no valid US insurance for liability cover, You will need to purchase it from the counter ( Dont take the ones which appear on the websites. They are junk ). The policy taken from the counter most probably include both the coverage ( It means even if you crash the car to a wall or jumped over cliff by accident, you can walk away without paying a single cent if you survive !! ) and so it is expensive . about 20 - 35 dollars per day of rental.

I have a car in US and my insurance covers rental cars as well. However it has 500$ deductible per claim. So if something happens I need to pay the car company 500$ upfront and rest of the cost will be paid by insurance. Some car companies charge you 'loss of use' charges if you wreck the car, which is not covered by the normal insurance.

Visa , Master card and Amex has car rental insurance for absolutely free. You can check with the credit card provider. They often cover the expenses which are left by the insurance .

I assume that you are flying down to US from UK for a short trip and doesnt have an auto insurance (not sure if you are fine with left hand side driving) . If I am in your position. I would take the full insurance from the rental counter though it is expensive and will drive around like a mad dog with piece of mind!

have a nice time on road.


Edited: 21 May 2013, 17:35
Wednesbury, UK
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4. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

If you want a toll transponder you pay for it at pick up, but there is next to nothing cashless in that part of the US, depending where you are headed, so you can just pay as you go.

Lewes, United...
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5. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

Hi Shells

With respect to Arun, please may I suggest you take much of his suggestions with great caution. They are written from the point of view of somebody based in the USA. This is absolutely NOT your circumstances. Your needs are therefore totally different.

While you always need to be careful when making bookings for anything via a third party website, the third party consolidators for car rental frequently mentioned on this forum by the regulars seem to enjoy a good reputation, but it's always up to you to be careful that you get what you want in writing, and have made sure the dates, locations, details are all correct that you enter on the website, of course.

Always book your car rental in advance of travel for the best prices.

Here's a link to a really long topic on car rental and insurance, which I started ages ago. Buried in the details in the responses are tons of tips:


As you're in Ireland, so prices in Euros work for you, I'd suggest you start with this consolidator, well recommended by the most senior DE on this forum:


I assume you saw the answer to what a transponder is on the other topic!

Any more questions, don't hesitate to ask. Have a great trip, and please post a TR on this forum! ;-)


Marina, California
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for Tucson
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6. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

If by "transponder," you mean GPS, you can request that at the rental counter. If you're going for a long trip (I recall you mentioning two weeks), then it will be cheaper to buy your own.

It is generally cheaper for Europeans to book through sites based in their home countries or in Europe. They will offer you a better price on the necessary insurance than if you just came up to the rental counter and opted for it.

Park City, Utah
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for Utah, Winter Sports
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7. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

Just a followup note on toll transponders in rental cars. In most U.S. markets where there is a toll system that uses transponders, rental cars from major companies are generally equipped with them. But when traveling in an area like the northeast where you can usually pay with cash or credit card at the toll booths, it's not a wise idea. You will generally pay a daily fee for the duration of the rental once you use it one day, plus a surcharged toll. Just keep the transponder in its case and don't slide it into the active mode if the car is equipped.

Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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8. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

Transponders are the gizmos that allow you to do two things:

1) Pay at "cashless" (non-manned) toll booths for roads and bridges

2) Use the express lanes on major freeways

You should post also on the forums for Boston and Massachusetts and other states you may be visiting. Many states are fast getting rid of their manned toll booths so you need very current information on that.

If your area still has manned toll booths then I agree a transponder is not necessary.

You MUST get good insurance for your rental car. You honestly cannot have too much! SussexWorldtraveller is correct in that your needs are completely different from those of a person living in the USA.

9. Re: Some Qs re Car Rental

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