During our trip to Las Vegas we had quite an experience picking up our rental car at the Budget Car Rental within the Las Vegas airport. We normally don’t have any issues when getting our rental cars, but this seemed like a special case, so I decided to write about it.
I usually do a pretty good job of getting a low price on rental cars when we travel. This trip was no different, as I as able to reserve a car for two days at $15 a day. In the end, the taxes are what hike up the price and we ended up paying around $70 for the two days. We also pay with Lynn’s Chase Ultimate Rewards card, which gives us double points on travel and has rental car insurance included. The rental car insurance is one of the reasons we like the card so much, as it saves us from spending $10-20 per day extra on car insurance through the rental car company. This is where we ran into a problem in Las Vegas…
Rental Car Insurance in Las Vegas
According to the Budget Car Rental representative, it is a Nevada state law that you must do one of two things:
- Supply the name of your current car insurance company, OR
- Purchase rental car insurance through Budget
They told us that having rental car insurance covered by our credit card was not good enough. We told them that we do not have actual car insurance because we do not own a car, so that is why we have always used our credit card which provides rental car insurance. Again, we were told that this was not good enough and we would have to purchase the rental car insurance through Budget… an extra $20 a day for the minimum coverage.
That just wasn’t something we were willing to accept, considering we were only paying $15 each day to rent the car. It seemed like the Budget representative was just not going to let us use the credit card as insurance, so Lynn got on her phone with her credit card company. The credit card company told her that the insurance was valid in the state of Nevada, but we needed to make sure that we declined all coverage from the rental car company or we would not be covered by the credit card’s insurance.
At this point, it was not looking good and it almost seemed like we were going to have to pay the extra money for the insurance or they were not going to let us rent the car. Lynn was persistent though and asked to speak with a manager. At first that didn’t help either because even the manager was telling us the same thing, but finally I think they realized that we were not going to just give in and pay the extra money. The manager told the representative we were working with to enter “credit card” into the field for the car insurance company and process the rest of the paperwork. That was the hold-up the entire time… they kept telling us that they needed to enter a company in the car insurance field in the system. Their workaround was to just enter “credit card” and the system accepted that.
What we learned from this is that it’s just another way for the rental car companies to make additional money. I’m sure that most people end up paying, but you should know that it is not mandatory to pay for additional protection if you have rental car insurance through your credit card.
Later that day, I did some research on rental car insurance in Nevada to see if it actually is a Nevada state law as the Budget representative had told us. From what I found, it’s not a Nevada state law. According to the Nevada state law, the rental car company is legally obligated to confirm only two things before you rent a car:
- that you have a current driver’s license
- that the signature on the rental contract matches the signature on the driver’s license
That is it, so don’t get pressured into paying extra money for something you do not need!
Other Rental Car Issues
Other than the insurance issue, the entire process seemed to take forever in general. That’s the one thing I’ll never understand about rental car companies… with all of the technology available today, why is there so much typing and clicking going on when renting a car? For the most part, they already have the majority of my information, so what is left to enter?
When we were there, they seemed to also be having issues with their computer system. We were not able to sign electronically, so they had to print out the paperwork and have us initial and sign in multiple places. Whatever, not a big deal. It was one o’clock in the morning though, so after multiple delays and a long flight were were ready to just get our car and head to the hotel.
About an 45 minutes after we got there, we finally got our keys and headed into the garage to get our rental car. Upon opening the door, the first thing we noticed was the strong smell of cigarette smoke. Ugh. We both agreed that we didn’t want to drive around in a car that smelled of smoke, plus we didn’t want to get wrongly charged for smoking in the car when you’re not supposed to.
So, I headed back to the rental car desk, and this is where it got frustrating. Apparently they can’t just switch the car in the system, they had to go through the entire paperwork process again… and I had to initial and sign everything again. Luckily, I didn’t have to argue about the car insurance again!
Finally, I was on my way out to the car again. We were originally given a small white compact car and they switched us to another small compact car… this time, bright green. I’m definitely not complaining, it was just funny. The main image for this article was our actual car. The great thing was that our new rental car was practically brand new and only had a couple hundred miles on it. I’ll take it!
Lynn and I will most likely visit Las Vegas again at some point, so it will be interesting to see what happens next time when we need to rent a car. I’m hoping we don’t have to go through the same back and forth that we did regarding the rental car insurance… that was frustrating. I also hope that this article helps some people though, because everyone should know that you don’t have to pay the extra money to get insurance through the rental car company.