Budget Car Rental FAQ | Budget Car Rental

These frequently-asked questions were assembled to help you understand Budget’s fast and friendly car rental process. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact us.

Availability

Our standard fleet features Ford and Lincoln products. However, we also have many other fine car and truck types, depending on the location where you’re renting. For this reason, our online reservation process is the easiest way to see available cars at your particular location.

Select "car types" from the main menu to view our fleet

The rental car industry’s car-class terms and those of car manufacturers have never been fully synchronized. No matter which car rental company you do business with, you will notice that there are many more car groups offered than those described by manufacturers in their new car classifications. For example, Budget lists the Chevy Malibu within our full-size offerings, while Chevrolet classifies it as a mid-size. Budget considers the Malibu as a full-size product because it has the capacity in all metric categories (seating, trunk space, etc.) to qualify as a full-size vehicle

Yes. Although our standard fleet isn’t reservable by specific make and model, our Street Fleet is. Book your choice of any of our Street Fleet vehicles, and we’ll do our best to have that exact car waiting for you at the pick-up counter. And once you're behind the wheel of your favorite rental car, if you decide to keep your vehicle for a few more days, that's no problem at all. Since Budget offers each customer this same flexibility, please understand that we can't guarantee that the specific make or model you choose will always be available – some of our renters undoubtedly will decide to keep their favorite car longer than they originally planned, which might overlap your rental request. But if we have the car of your choice at the location when you arrive, you'll get it!

Express your unique style by arriving in a smooth-riding Cadillac STS, a sporty Crossfire, or one of our other distinctly different vehicles. Dream It. Reserve It. Drive it. With Street Fleet - you choose!

Cars listed on Step 2 of our online reservation process that have a specific make and model as opposed to a general car type, e.g., intermediate SUV, are reservable makes and models

 

Budget’s extensive fleet includes mid-size to large SUVs, many of which offer 4WD. We also offer a limited number of Hummer H3 SUVs for the ultimate 4WD experience. Although we cannot guarantee availability of our very popular mid-size to large SUVs with 4WD, you may request these vehicles at the car rental counter or contact the rental location directly.

The good news is that our Hummers with 4WD are easy to reserve through our Street Fleet reservable vehicles. Just go to the top of the budget.com home page and access "Car Types" and then "Reservable Make and Model." If we have a 4WD Hummer available, you may reserve it and we’ll do our best to have that exact car waiting for you at the pick-up counter.

We offer hybrids at many of our locations. Our SmartWaySM Certified Green Machines are eco-friendly and get great fuel mileage as well. If these vehicles are available at your rental location, you will have the option of reviewing them in Step 2 of our online reservation process

100% of Budget vehicles in economy, compact and intermediate classes, and 98% of standard and full-size car classes have met stringent U.S. EPA guidelines and are SmartWay Certified. Each vehicle receives an Air Pollution Score and a Greenhouse Gas Score, on a scale of 1-10. For the SmartWay designation, a vehicle must receive a 6 or better on both scores, and have a total score of 13 or higher. Vehicles that receive the SmartWay designation are very good environmental performers relative to other vehicles. Find out more about Budget's green initiative!

To save gas, consider these simple tips*:

  • Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking) wastes gas. It can lower your gas mileage by 33% at highway speeds and by 5% around town. Sensible driving is also safer for you and others, so you may save more than gas money.
  • While each vehicle reaches its optimal fuel economy at a different speed (or range of speeds), gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 MPH.
  • Avoid keeping unnecessary items in your vehicle, especially heavy ones. An extra 100 pounds in your vehicle could reduce your MPG by up to 2%.

    *These and other gas-saving tips available at fueleconomy.gov.

Permissable Usage

No. Budget maintains a 100% smoke-free fleet in the U.S. and Canada, and any type of smoking (pipe, cigarette, cigar) is prohibited in all Budget vehicles. Just as renters are assessed a fee for cleaning the car's interior for excessive stains, dirt or soiling attributable to the renter’s use, customers will be assessed an additional charge if the car smells of smoke when it is returned.

Rent a Budget car and breathe easy — because our stringent no-smoking policy is your assurance of a 100% smoke-free fleet. Isn’t it nice to know that, in this world of uncertainty, you can always depend on Budget for a clean, well-maintained, fresh-smelling vehicle? Rent now.

Yes, but you’ll need to let us know in advance. From the U.S., to make a modification to the return location after you have signed the rental agreement and have taken possession of the vehicle, please call Budget Reservations at 800-527-0700. If you are not in the U.S., please find the appropriate Budget phone number for calling within other countries.

Yes, but if you wish to extend any rental, in the U.S. you must contact a Budget reservation agent at 800-824-6287. To extend a rental in another country, please call the rental location directly. We will be happy to accommodate your request, if possible. Please note that at U.S. and Canadian corporate-operated locations, a service fee of $10 will apply and your original rental rate may no longer be available. Your reservation agent will provide all details when you call. If you don't call within 7 hours of your originally scheduled return time to extend your rental, a $10/day late fee will apply.

Also, if you choose not to return the car on or before your originally scheduled return date, we will place an additional hold on your debit or credit card to cover any additional expected rental charges. Upon your return of the car, the holds will be released, and the actual cost of the rental will be charged. Please note that your bank may take up to two weeks to post the released credit hold to your card. Unfortunately, we cannot be held responsible for any returned checks due to debit card hold processing.

Rental extension rules at licensee-owned locations and locations outside of the U.S. may vary, so it's always best to ask a counter agent if you have questions.

Renters must return the vehicle to Budget on the due date and at the time and location specified by you when you booked the reservation. If you return it earlier or later, a different or higher rate may apply and, if returned later, you may be charged a late return fee. You may not return the car at a time when we are closed, unless you have made advance arrangements to deposit your keys in an official and secure key drop box. If you drop off a car to a closed location without making official arrangements, your responsibility for damage to or loss of the car will continue – and all charges stated on the rental document as a periodic rate will continue to accrue until the return location reopens and we retake physical possession of the car. If we do not find the car when that location reopens, your responsibility for all charges and for damage to or loss of the car will continue until the car is actually returned or recovered and possession is returned to us.

Housebroken pets are invited to travel in your rental car, just as they do in your personal car. Although Budget doesn't assess an extra fee for pets, pet owners will incur an additional charge for any damage caused by animals, or any special cleaning required as a result of shedding or accidents.

Budget is committed to providing clean cars to every customer. When a vehicle is returned excessively dirty, it is our policy to charge the renter a cleaning fee.

In some cases, our customers are disabled and require service animals. Budget embraces and supports our disabled customers, and generally we will waive the cleaning fee when the excessive dirt is primarily animal hair. If, however, the vehicle is returned with more than a tolerable amount of animal hair or other types of soil, the manager at the location may elect to impose a cleaning fee. In such cases, the location will take photographs of the excessive dirt to support the extra cleaning charge.

Vehicles are rented on a daily (24-hour) basis. There is a 29-minute grace period for returns. After 30 minutes late, hourly car rate charges and taxes may apply. After 90 minutes late, full-day late charges and taxes may apply. After 7 hours late, if you didn't call to extend your rental, an additional $10/day late fee applies. There is no grace period for rental fees, surcharges and optional equipment or protections charges. Full-day late charges will apply for these items.

If you wish to extend any U.S. rental beyond 7 hours from the original return time, you must contact a Budget reservation agent at 800-824-6287. To extend a rental in another country, please call the rental location directly. We will be happy to accommodate your request, if possible. Please note that at U.S. and Canadian corporate-operated locations, a service fee of $10 will apply and your original rental rate may no longer be available. Your reservation agent will provide all details when you call. If you don't call within 7 hours of your originally scheduled return time to extend your rental, a $10/day late fee will apply.

Also, if you choose not to return the car on or before your originally scheduled return date, we will place an additional hold on your debit or credit card to cover any additional expected rental charges. Upon your return of the car, the holds will be released, and the actual cost of the rental will be charged. Please note that your bank may take up to two weeks to post the released credit hold to your card. Unfortunately, we cannot be held responsible for any returned checks due to debit card hold processing.

 

 

Operational Issues: Accidents/Damage, Roadside Assistance, Traffic Violations and safety recalls

Please check with your personal auto insurance company to confirm whether your policy will cover any or all damage to the car. In addition, you may have coverage available to you through your credit card company. You should contact your insurance company and/or credit card company to confirm what coverage, if any, is available for rental cars before renting any vehicle. Only then will you be able to make an informed decision whether to accept our optional Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) protection.

 

Before you start driving, take a few moments to familiarize yourself with the vehicle's equipment and operation, including heat and A/C, radio, lights, windshield wipers, spare tire, seat belts and door locks, and gas tank access. Getting distracted trying to figure out those things while driving can be dangerous. Don’t wait until the fuel warning light goes on to think about buying gas, especially if you don’t know how far it is between gas stations. If, in the unlikely event that an emergency light illuminates on your control panel, don’t ignore it. Use good judgment about whether you can get back to our location safely and don’t hesitate to call our toll-free 24-hour roadside assistance in the U.S. at 800-354-2847.

If, in the unlikely event that your car malfunctions on a major thoroughfare, lock the doors, turn on the hazard lights and, if you have a cell phone, call the police or, in the U.S., phone 24-hour roadside assistance at 800-354-2847. Do not leave your vehicle. Wait in the car for service or the police to arrive. Accepting help from strangers, no matter how well intended, is not a good idea unless you can’t call for help and they can.

If you happen to lock your keys out of the vehicle, lose your keys or run out of gas, you may be assessed a service charge depending on the nature of the incident. You also are responsible for any and all loss of or damage to the rental vehicle resulting from causes including but not limited to collision, rollover, vandalism, theft, seizure, flood, fire, hail or other acts of nature. Please phone 24-hour roadside assistance at 800-354-2847 as necessary.

If you run out of fuel, you will be responsible for the delivery of fuel to your location as well as the cost of the fuel.

Accidents happen. Learn what to do immediately after you damage your rental car, as well as who pays for the repairs, how to file a claim, and how to handle accidents caused by another party.

Ensure that you get the other party's contact information so we may pursue them and/or their insurance company on your behalf for damages. Please note that our pursuit of the other party does not absolve you from your contractual obligation to pay for the damage.

In accordance with the terms of your company's corporate contract with Budget, you must complete an accident/incident report, fax it along with any accident reports from local or state authorities to 720-479-4034, and notify your employer that the rental vehicle was damaged. Ask your employer if you need to file a claim with your personal insurance, corporate credit card insurance or whether there is coverage offered through your employer's insurance. If applicable, Budget will contact your employer to verify that you are eligible for the corporate damage waiver coverage. If Budget does not receive a response from your employer, you will be billed and held responsible for the vehicle damage.

At the time of rental, the counter agent gave you a rental agreement and, in the jacket of your agreement, you will find an accident/incident report form; or you can download the form here. Please maintain a copy of your completed Accident/Incident Report for future reference.