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Topic: Car hire in US  (Read 452 times)

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Car hire in US
« on: March 13, 2019, 12:42:39 PM »
Hi. My wife (USC, living in UK on spouse visa) and I are heading to the states this month to visit her family, and have hired a car with Thrifty from a UK price comparison website.

I've just re-read the rental agreement, which states 'rates not valid for U.S or canadian citizens or residents or holders of US or Canadian license'

This is a dilemma, as my wife is the only driver in the relationship, and only has a US license, and we've already paid the presumably non refundable rental fee.

Does anyone have any experience with US car hire, booked abroad, with a US license? Any advice?


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Re: Car hire in US
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2019, 02:15:16 PM »
Is her US license still valid? I would recommend getting the UK license ASAP. (you can only drive in the UK for one year on a US license)

I would definitely contact Thrifty to cancel or get clarification because you don't want to run into issues.

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Re: Car hire in US
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2019, 02:25:47 PM »
Yes, valid US license... We don't drive or own a car here in the UK so we're not rushed to have her take the UK test right now.

This is frustrating - googling car hire in USA from the UK directs you to UK sites only, and it's not at all clear that bookings are only valid for non-US visitors until you look at the second to last line in 3 pages of terms & conditions


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Re: Car hire in US
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 05:08:26 PM »
Have you tried direct on enterprise, hertz, budget or any of the other companies at the airport you'll be landing at? It won't be as straightforward and you may run into insurance issues trying to use a US license with a foreign residence address but its worth calling around.

If I remember right, Nan had to get a UK license for the purpose of travelling at home, because in her home state the license becomes invalid as soon as you move out of state. That's true for many, so even if the license hasn't officially expired its invalid and if you were in an accident insurance would certainly deny the claim. I would make sure you're 100% certain it's still valid once you've moved. And for future visits to get better rates, definitely get the license here. It will allow you to hire cars in the country and Europe too, so it's a handy thing to have. :)

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Re: Car hire in US
« Reply #4 on: March 14, 2019, 08:56:04 AM »
We used Europcar.  I paid $212 for 9 days for a Camry out of LAX. That cost included all the insurances, with $0 deductible! Europcar partners with Advantage in the USA.

I had checked with each of the car companies individually, and nobody came close to this rate.


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Re: Car hire in US
« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2019, 10:13:46 AM »
We had the exact same issue the first time we went back to the US. I had booked car hire from the UK website of Budget Cars and paid in full, it was non-refundable. I too only had my US license (registered at my sisters US address so still valid) and we did not see the terms and conditions stating that it must be a license from the country you booked from.  On arrival at Boston Logan hire center and asked for license and credit card we soon discovered that we could not continue with the booking and worse still we would have to apply for a refund at the discretion of Budget Cars! so we ended up have to do a walk up rental, costing three times as much as we had been quoted from the UK  website.  We contacted Budget Cars UK and explained what had happened and we were told to put our request in writing.  We eventually got a partial refund after many months of discussion between us and Budget Cars UK.  I also discovered that my US license is not valid, we thought as long as we had it registered at my sisters address it would be good to use but in Massachusetts you have to be resident withing the state as your primary residence to hold a MA state license.  Please check with your state as you may find even the US license is no longer valid.
US Citizenship - March 2009
Online Application Spouse Visa - 27 Jan 2015
Biometrics Appointment - 4 Feb 2015
Application received Sheffield - 6 Feb 2015
Visa Received - 16 Feb 2015
FLR(M) In-Person  (Approved)- 4 Jan 2018
BRP Received - 9 Jan 2018
ILR (M) online application  - 14 May 2020


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Re: Car hire in US
« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2019, 10:20:31 AM »
Apols for the late response, we're just back from the states.

It turned out we were able to cancel the original booking for a full refund, but we had to get a last minute booking from Thrifty directly which ended up being a fair bit more expensive.

A heads up for anyone looking to hire cars in the US to check that small print!


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Re: Car hire in US
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2019, 05:16:45 PM »
Yep, always read everything.

When we went to pick up the car I got a "that's not an English accent I'm hearing" from the desk clerk who was scowling at me a bit. To which I responded, "No, it's not. We're from Scotland -  different country." And then proceeded to give her my Irish passport as ID.  She really wanted to say something, but as I had a UK license and and Irish passport, there wasn't diddly she could do.  ;)


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