10 Tips for Renting a Car in New York City

When visiting New York City (especially Manhattan), renting a car is totally unnecessary and not worth the hassle of dealing with our notoriously bad traffic, bad drivers and badly potholed streets. Renting a Car in New York City Add to that the city's horrendous shortage of parking, and it makes driving in New York City something you definitely want to leave to the natives.

Despite my advice, there are some who will still want to rent a car. So for all you brave souls who insist on trying to put the pedal to the medal in New York City, here are some car rental tips that will help make driving in New York City a little bit easier (but not by much).

  1. Car rental companies are prohibited by law from refusing to rent you a car unless you purchase the additional insurance coverages they offer. If you have insurance on your own vehicle, check your policy. Most policies cover rental cars and you'll save yourself a lot of money.
  2. Car rental companies are required by law to allow your spouse to drive the vehicle if he or she is licensed and at least eighteen years of age. They are permitted to charge $3 per any additional driver per day.
  3. Car rental companies in New York are required to rent to licensed drivers who are at least 18 years of age or older, however they are allowed to charge a surcharge for drivers who are under 25.
  4. While imposing a maximum age limit for renting a car is common in some countries, car rental companies in the United States do not typically have a maximum age limit for renting a vehicle.
  5. You do not have to have a credit card to rent a car in New York. If you want to use cash, the rental company may require you to go through a screening process that may take several days to complete and they may also require a cash deposit.
  6. Of course it is illegal for car rental companies to refuse to rent a car to someone because of their race, color, ethnic origin, religion, disability, or sex.
  7. Do you work for the government or are you in the military? Check with the car rental company you are planning to use to see if they offer discounts.
  8. The Car rental company will hold Renting a Car in New York Cityyou responsible for any traffic tickets or parking tickets you receive on your rental car, so it's to your advantage to obey the traffic laws.
  9. In the United States, traffic laws differ from state to state (and sometimes from city to city). Here are the basic New York City Traffic Rules:
    • The default speed limit is 25 mph unless a higher speed limit is posted.
    • While it is legal to do so in most of the country, it is illegal to turn right on red in New York City.
    • The driver and any passenger riding in the front seat must wear seat belts.
    • Children under 8 years old must be restrained in a car seat.
    • Drinking and driving is irresponsible, unsafe, and illegal and can result in the loss of driving privileges, fines, and jail time.
    • Texting while driving is irresponsible, unsafe, and illegal. Pulling over to read and answer texts makes more sense and you'll avoid loss of driving privileges and fines.
  10. Make sure to read the street signs when parking your rental car. New York City has some of the most confusing rules for when, where and how long you can park a car on a given street, and the fines can be hefty.

Hopefully you'll find these car rental tips useful, but I still encourage all visitors to New York City to give the subway and buses a try. The public transportation system in New York City is one of the most extensive in the world and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now that's convenient.

Please drive safely and Happy Traveling!