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rental cars and chasing?

Lets say I am planning on flying out to the plains for a week or so of chasing in may, and intend to rent a small SUV for the purpose. with the 1000s of miles likely to be put on the car, what kind of money am I looking at?


Thanks
 
First off, make sure you get unlimited miles.

Second, just guess. 1,000 miles at 20mpg and $2.50 per gallon would be: $125.

Third, hope you get better than 20mpg.
 
My average chase is about 500 miles.. Of course I live in KC which isnt too bad of a spot to be close to the action. I guess it really depends on how many setups youll chase in the time alotment given.. Then you can determine possibly an estimate of costs.. for max # of possible setups vs min setups..
 
Myself and a few friends of mine were thinking of doing this...just remember these fine words:

"Buy the insurance"
 
Be sure to tell them what you are going to do with the car to just to make sure they rent it to you. After Katrina some of them put it in there clauses they wouldn't cover storm damage.
 
Myself and a few friends of mine were thinking of doing this...just remember these fine words:

"Buy the insurance"

I don't agree with this. It depends on the person/policy. My current insurance covers me if I am driving a rental car. I also use my American Express which has extended coverage for rental cars. Many major credit cards offer this service, but only if you decline the CDW.
 
its not my fault agent. I didnt know that 3 inch hail would be there. act of god. I was driving to see an old friend and this storm came out of no where... What am I supposed to be, a meteorologist???

:p
 
its not my fault agent. I didnt know that 3 inch hail would be there. act of god. I was driving to see an old friend and this storm came out of no where... What am I supposed to be, a meteorologist???

:p

This will probably work ONCE

If some of you guys have any information about thise, we are going to the plains and, yes, we'll probably rent a van and we'll sure need to buy insurance.
 
http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/showthread.php?t=7677

http://www.stormtrack.org/forum/showthread.php?t=6321

Renting a car for chasing is a common practice, but is a very risky one if storm damage happens to the car.

I completely understand about those coming from overseas or via air, there really isn't much else you can do but rent a car. But that doesn't eliminate the risk that if you get a car and pay for the insurance, you could be stuck with the FULL repair bill if the car gets trashed. Comprehensive insurance does not, at least by the book, cover knowingly putting the car in harm's way. As has been mentioned, rental companies are wising up about hurricanes and storm chasing.

You might 'get away with it', but that's just it - you're taking a risk that you'll get away with it. I'm not saying don't rent a car, but if you do, you need to accept the risk that you might have to pay for the car's repair or replacement if it is damaged. If you trash it in a storm, even the extra insurance may not cover it - and you'll be stuck with the full cost of replacing a totaled car.
 
We've rented several times out of Denver, and once out of Santa Fe. Hertz has special rates and terms if you're a AAA member.

I just did a search for 5/17 - 5/31, pickup at AMArillo. For a 4WD Ford Escape, unlimited miles, no state restrictions, and very handy benefits like no charge for additional qualified drivers so long as they're AAA members, the total rental charge including taxes is $836.42. This is not too bad. What's nice is you can do it all on the AAA website and get a confirmed reservation already that far ahead. Sedans and such are less, of course.

The Amex extended coverage is an excellent deal, especially so if you return the vehicle undamaged and pay the final charges with another card.

Oh yes, and the answer I've rehearsed if asked the purpose of the trip is "nature and landscape photography mostly on the Plains", which is a true statment.
 
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If I go to the USA this year ( from Australia ) I intend renting from California as the rental prices are much cheaper. I will be getting full insurance. I also think that California rental will be less likely to associate hail dents with storm chasing - " it happened on my way across Amercia"

Do you think this is a good way to go ?
 
There's certainly awesome scenery between California and the Plains! On the other hand it's a solid two days and over 1000 miles to get to chase country -- each way. If your objective is chasing and you have limited time here, you're cutting yourself out of four possible chase days. Flights via Southwest Airlines from, say, Orange Co. Airport to Tulsa, OK, may be available for <$250 RT per person -- a 1,500 mile trip. Flying seems like a lot, but for two people you're saving maybe 150 gallons of gas and several nights on the road, plus potentially more days chasing or fewer with the rental vehicle at >$50/day with insurance.

In any case, you can save a bundle choosing a major national rental car agency with off-airport locations, and renting off-airport. Just be sure you know the local restrictions before you get to the rental desk to avoid surprises.

I checked the off-airport location in Amarillo. The Hertz-AAA cost, including local taxes, for two weeks the end of May with a Ford Escape is $629.70 vs. $836.42 at the airport....
 
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If some of you guys have any information about thise, we are going to the plains and, yes, we'll probably rent a van and we'll sure need to buy insurance.

In my experience, it has been very difficult to find vans to rent for interstate trips. Cargo vans without seats are readily available, but on a few occasions when I've sought a seated van to make a trip from Alabama to Colorado or Texas I couldn't find a single availability. I also attempted to rent from Amarillo to Durango, Colorado, without success.
 
A few things I have picked up from along the way:

1.) Make sure you ask them if the vehicle can be driven in all the states you may be visiting. Some rental places limit the travel radius, or will charge you a few extra bucks to grant you permission.

2.) I would definitely pick up the insurance. Too may clauses buried in those 'my own insurance or credit card' has it covered. I always pose the simple question 'I just want to double check your insurance. Am I covered if I bring back nothing but the hood ornament'? You may get a chuckle, but it's worth the piece of mind. Persons dressed at least somewhat professionally will ALWAYS get respectably better service inside the rental places -- maybe because you appear responsible?

3.) Make sure you turn in the vehicle to someone. Heard a terrible story here last March. Lady rented a car and was done with it early. She turned the vehicle on Saturday March 11th after hours and put the key in the drop box with the paper work. March 12th outbreak destroyed the car with baseball size hail. Lady was responsible because the car was technically still in her posession (office closed on Sunday) and had not been signed back to the rental place -- even though it was in their lot. She did not have insurance on it.

Evan
 
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Avis to offer 3G in-vehicle wi-fi at $11/day

Just saw this in the news.... http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/02/t...&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

In case this is unavailable to those without a NYT subscription, some excerpts:

Autonet Mobile, a start-up wireless technology company based in San Francisco, is expected to announce this week that it has reached an agreement with Avis Rent A Car System to provide a rolling Wi-Fi hotspot to Avis customers by March. For $10.95 a day, Avis will issue motorists a notebook-size portable device that plugs into a car’s power supply and delivers a high-speed Internet connection.

For the moment, the service is intended for business travelers. But Autonet sees its service appealing to families traveling with their children, although its unit is expected to cost $399, about twice as much as current cellular card technology, plus $49 a month for service.
...

Sterling Pratz, the president and chief executive of Autonet, said the device uses the 3G cellular network and will work in all major metropolitan areas and in about 95 percent of the country.

Mr. Pratz said his technology minimized dropped connections but did not eliminate them, and noted that the In-Car-Router had been modified to reduce battery consumption.
 
Quick story for fun:
Had a rental b/c the tahoe was in the shop for hail damage. Intercepted a tornadic cell in Corpus, with the rental, and got baseball size hail. Make sure you tell them what you are doing, or you could just say you drove through a storm.
 
Another thing is to watch what you say if you do rent a car or SUV. Not to the rental car company but to any chasers that might get jealous. A chaser told me that someone called the rental car company he used to rent a car that was hit by hail last May just to try and get him in trouble. WX Narc is what it has come down to in chasing.
 
Another thing is to watch what you say if you do rent a car or SUV. Not to the rental car company but to any chasers that might get jealous. A chaser told me that someone called the rental car company he used to rent a car that was hit by hail last May just to try and get him in trouble. WX Narc is what it has come down to in chasing.

Might also apply to those chasers who rent cars and then proceed to drive like maniacs out there; many of the rental companies have decals or license plate holders with the company name on them.
 
We hired an SUV from Alamo last year from DFW. We made sure we were as insured as we could be as.

We said that there had been stories in the English press about problems of insuring against weather after Katrina and just wanted to make sure we would be covered.

The lady said "all you need to do is just bring the car back, drive it over a cliff...or whatever just bring it back!"
 
Might also apply to those chasers who rent cars and then proceed to drive like maniacs out there; many of the rental companies have decals or license plate holders with the company name on them.

From what I was told, they were narced on by other chasers who were not there. It boiled down to some chasers got into the storm by accident and others were jealous of the chase after seeing the video and chase reports. They called the rental car company and narced on them to try and get them in trouble.

Sad but true, that is the state of chasing today.
 
You guys have a dozen excuses - how clever. Doesn't the ethics of driving someone elses car into a severe thunderstorm bother anyone? :confused:

I'd like to think no one has yet (?) deliberately driven a rental into gorilla hail, just for the hell of it. But even a prudent chaser has vastly greater odds of damaging the car that the average Joe Tourist or travelling sales flack. Also, I tend to think that even the 'prudent' guys will be somewhat less so when any potential vehicle damage is 'not their problem.'

I've no love for the insurance racket, but the fact remains: everyone else's premiums WILL go up to pay the thou$ands required to repair your nuked rental.
 
I've no love for the insurance racket, but the fact remains: everyone else's premiums WILL go up to pay the thou$ands required to repair your nuked rental.

Not really. When I rented in all of the hurricanes since I flew into the areas getting hit, I asked about the fact that I'm in the hurricane zone. I was told several times by several different rental car companies that they are self insured and if the storm is coming then it is ether they take the risk of getting their car damaged by me and make money or they take the risk of getting the car damaged by the storm while it sites in the lot and not make any money.

When I went on a dive trip this summer, one of the guys on the trip worked for a major rental car company and he pretty much told me that all the cars are leases from the Detroit and the amount of money they make off the insurance they self insure the cars is insane. Plus if you factor in that they keep the cars for only a few months until the miles add up then they ship them back to be sold as lease returns. The way he put it is that they make a killing on the rentals.

For the rental, just be upfront and say your on a vacation to photograph the midwest landscape and clouds and weather. Say you need the full insurance incase you blow out a tire, get a rock kicked up in your windsheild, or get stuck in one of those midwest hail storms and thunder storms.

On the case of chase ethics, I could go on for pages and pages with the stuff I have seen others do in the chasing scene from long time chasers to the up and coming flash in the pan. But it really is not worth it because my point is that you not only have to watch out for other chasers driving these days since it is pretty nuts now but you also have to watch out what other chasers will do just for spite because you got on a storm or you got better video or were more succesful.

But at least we don't have to worry about everyone racing to sell video now since all the networks have their new TV Shows and are trolling the web for free video. The age of the storm chasing stringer is pretty much dead.
 
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