Budget

Budget Rent-A-Car did not earn its namesake by trying to be all things to all renters, but by simply offering rates well below the competition.

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7.5
Grand Score
8
User Score
7.5
Grand Score
8
User Score
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Budget Rent-A-Car is a low-cost, no-frills car rental agency with 800 locations nationwide, 150 company-owned international counters and 1,800 licensees rounding out the fleet. The company averages some of the lowest rates available and will beat the competition with its Budget Best Rate Guarantee. If you find a better price elsewhere, Budget will match the price and throw in an additional 10% off your agreement to prove it is the low-cost leader in the car rental industry.

Grandfolk Scoring
Cost 9/10
Warranty 9/10
Ease 7/10
Customer support 6/10
Limits to coverage 7/10
Restrictions 7/10
Insurance 6/10
Extras 9/10
Cancellation 6/10
Cost
What is the average cost per day?
Rates vary, but the average is $35/day
Warranty
Is there a guarantee?
The Budget Best Rate Guarantee includes price matching and discounts
Ease
How easy is it to rent a car?
Easy; reservations can be made in person, on the phone or online
Customer support
How easy is access to customer service?
Call the company 7:30 AM-7:30 PM CST
Limits to coverage
What services are excluded?
Budget does not reimburse a taxi or bus expense to reach the location
Restrictions
Cost or difficulty to upgrade?
AARP members are at an advantage, as they get a free car class upgrade
Insurance
What additional coverage is required?
Additional coverage is not required, but strongly encouraged
Extras
What extras are available?
GPS discount to AARP members, spinner knobs, transfer boards and more
Cancellation
Is there a fee to a cancel a reservation?
Yes, be sure to check with an agent for details
Age Score:
7
50-64 Years
8
65-74 Years
9
75-84 Years
6
85-Above

Budget Rent-A-Car locations are not only wallet friendly, but also senior friendly! This company partners with the AARP to offer you up to 30% off Budget base rates throughout the U.S. and Canada. Additionally, the service offers free car class upgrades, Garmin GPS add-ons for only $6.99 per day, and unlimited mileage on most rentals. Budget even goes so far as to waive additional driver fees and 24-hour roadside assistance, which is great for seniors that need a surrogate driver, or would simply like the added peace of mind of knowing they will be cared for in the event they need a rescue service. 

The company relies heavily on its website for correspondence and discount offers, but does have customer service via phone. The best part may be that Budget does not have a maximum age limit in the U.S.

Health Score:
5
Great Health
7
Good Health
9
Fair Health
10
Poor Health

Budget is proud of its commitment to renters with special needs and disabilities. The company offers spinner knobs, transfer boards, swivel seats and panoramic mirrors, but does advise the consumer to call ahead to make sure a particular location has the device in question. While additional drivers on a standard contract can result in fees of up to $65 per agreement, this is not the case for a renter with a disability, as Budget waives the extra charges. 

The company also offers wheelchair-accessible vehicles, but, again, the customer is strongly encouraged to call ahead to their location of choice to ensure the reservation request can be met.

Pros:

  • Budget offers its very own rate matching program with an additional 10% off the new rate.
  • The company works closely with the AARP to ensure seniors get the best deals and discounts.
  • Budget does not charge an additional daily fee for surrogate drivers with disabilities.
  • The company offers the lowest rates in the industry, with many being 23% below industry standards.
  • The number of senior-focused and disability-based add-ons is tremendous, with many locations capable of renting lift-equipped vans for wheelchairs.

Cons:

  • As a franchise and company-based organization, each rental location is free to offer additional add-ons, as well as to restrict certain types of coverage.
  • Cancellation fees range from $50 to $150 depending on how the reservation is being held.
  • Budget offers rates based on a daily, weekly and long-term basis, which means an early return may cost you.
  • The company is very website-focused, which may not be appealing to the non-tech-savvy among us.

Bottom Line:

Budget Rent-A-Car is a great deal for those willing to put in a little work upfront. The company averages the lowest rates in the industry and offers a vast fleet of vehicles, potentially including wheelchair-equipped vehicles (depending on location). Budget does its best to work with customers in order to ensure they have what they need to get their journeys started, which includes discounted daily GPS rentals for AARP members, pedal extenders, panoramic mirrors and much more. 

Customers have the ability to check rates across various companies in order to ensure they get the best deal based on the terms and conditions of the Budget Best Rate Guarantee program. Ultimately, based on the organizational structure of Budget Rent-A-Car, would-be consumers are strongly encouraged to investigate their rental region to ensure the location has everything they need for a safe and worry-free journey.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Does Budget require a deposit?  

Yes. The company accepts credit card and debit card payments as well as cash.

Can I return a car early?  

Yes, but Budget does not encourage this practice as rates are calculated by day, week or longer. If, for example, you return a weekly car rental on day four, you will not receive a refund and will essentially lose money on your original contract.  

What are the restrictions of use?  

AARP members get unlimited miles and the fewest restrictions. Not a member? Budget strongly recommends you call ahead to the location where you intend to rent to make sure you understand local limitations.

More Information:

Product Details

Overview:  Budget Rent-A-Car is the everyman’s car rental agency, with daily rates as low as $35, an average of 23% less than the national average. The details of each agreement are very dependent on location, however, as many national and international locations are owned by franchisees. While this allows the company as a whole to offer lower rates, there may be a few add-ons that are not readily available for the senior driver. That said, Budget is a great place to start your car rental search.

Package Details:  Budget does not push insurance add-ons or premiums, but is clear that renters are held liable for any and all damages to a vehicle. AARP members are, again, at an advantage, with 24-hour roadside assistance and Loss Damage Waiver coverage up to $5,000.

Add-on Services:  Budget Rent-A-Car is an extremely flat organization. This means that while there are 600 company-owned locations in the U.S., there are 200 franchised-based locations as well.Customers need to call ahead to their preferred agent to ensure specific add-ons are available. The company does not skimp on add-ons, though, offering everything from surrogate drivers to pick-up services, as well as mobility equipment to get you out the door and onto your next adventure fast.

Additional Company Details

Contract Details:  Budget Rent-A-Car offers the lowest rates on a daily, weekly and longer-term basis. That said, customers are strongly encouraged to make sure they maximize their savings by avoiding early returns and not extending their daily rentals longer than necessary. Budget does go above and beyond most car rental agencies, and offers its namesake Best Rate Guarantee in order to ensure you get the best rate available, as well as an additional 10% off your agreed-upon rate.

Warranty:  Budget is extremely clear in that it offers no warranties. The rental car company does, however, offer the Budget Best Rate Guarantee, which can result in an additional 10% off your prepaid Budget rental if all conditions are met satisfactorily. 

Accreditations:  While Budget Rent-A-Car is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, the parent company is rated at a low C-. The company could certainly do with more standardized offerings across the various franchises and wholly-owned locations, so as to mitigate the number of customer complaints associated with the car pickup process.

Company Details:  Budget Rent-A-Car began life 59 years ago in Los Angeles, California. The company lived up to, and continues to live up to, its namesake as a low-cost option in the car rental industry. It has grown to over 800 locations in the U.S. by undercutting standard rental car rates. The company was ultimately acquired in 2002 and combined with Avis to form parent company Avis Budget Group, Inc.

Contact: 

Budget Car Rental Customer Service
P.O. Box 699000
Tulsa, OK 74169-9000
Tel: (800) 621-2844
Website: https://www.budget.com/en/home
Email: budgetcustomerservice@budgetgroup.com

Kate Papenberg - Senior Advisor

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