No one enjoys paying tolls in a rented car. It’s because these expenses accrue on top of the car company’s fee. But determining the tolls is essential to navigating to your destination properly. So, knowing how to pay for tolls in a rental car is important to not end up overpaying.
Paying for tolls is mandatory while driving through express lanes, toll bridges, and roads. There are chiefly two options for paying tolls. The first is to pay as they arrive, and the second is to rent a toll pass from your car rental company. Keep reading to know more about paying tolls so you can enjoy your trip by worrying less about these expenses.
How Do Tolls Work with Rented Cars
Rental cars need to pay a toll fee when taking toll roads. There are no exceptions to these tolls for general vehicles. But the rental agency’s policies determine if the toll fees are paid by the driver of the rental vehicle or the agency.
You can pay the toll fees by cash, debit, or credit card for manned toll plazas. On the other hand, if you are at an electric toll plaza, it will detect your car through the license plate and deduct the toll amount from the associated account.
If you are not in a position to handle tolls, they can increase your entire car rental prices significantly. Thus, it is important to ask the car rental provider about their toll policies. You must check if the policies have any programs that boost your convenience in paying tolls and minimize the costs.
Many rental agencies provide a toll pass to drivers for a convenience fee. If you choose it, the company will bill the whole toll amount and the convenience charges to your car. This happens instantly upon getting the toll data from the toll authority. Usually, the process consumes eight weeks for rental providers to get the toll data from the authorities.
Toll programs allow you to streamline paying tolls via cashless toll. But they can increase the vehicle rental costs by around $30.
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How to Pay for Tolls in a Rental Car?
There are various important things to know about paying the toll. Understanding how you can pay is a good step in this direction. You can pay toll through the following ways:
- Pay with cash – There is the option to pay cash and settle tolls. However, today, with the emergence of digital payments, more people favor cashless tolling. It has also led to the disappearance of many cash toll routes. Many toll roads, bridges, and express lanes in California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, and Texas do not accept cash payments.
- Pay through a credit card – When you pay with your credit card, the toll amount is subtracted from your card. You may be required to pre-register your car before using a toll road. The rental car registration is applicable for tolls only on California State Routes (73, 133, 241, and 261).
The following locations do not permit paying through credit card:
- 125 South Bay Expressway (San Diego)
- San Francisco Bay Area Bridges
- 10/110 Metro ExpressLanes (Los Angeles)
- 91 Express Lanes (Orange County)
- I-15 Express Lanes (San Diego)
- I-580 and I-160 Express Lanes (San Francisco Bay Area)
- Pay through an electronic transponder – Usually, rental vehicles are equipped with an electronic transponder. However, you have the option to use your transponder too. But when using your transponder, ensure that the company’s transponder is turned off. If you don’t have a transponder yourself, you will need the rental company’s transponder, which will add to your cost.
- Be aware of the convenience or administration fee – There may also be convenience or administration fees that you may have to pay. It depends on your rental car company. This is a small fee of $10 or less that you may be charged during the rental period, daily, or every day you use the pass.
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How to Lower Your Car Rental Toll Cost
Your cheap car rental can become expensive if you don’t know how to avoid overpaying for tolls. Here are some points to remember when using a rental car.
1. Never pay for toll passes from your rental company.
The professionals of a car rental company are aware that most drivers don’t consider toll roads when choosing a car. So, they encourage you to pay for their agency’s transponder. But this only bills you for the tolls, and you are charged a day-wise fee for the transponder. So, don’t pay for a toll pass when prompted for it.
2. Ensure that you have your personal transponder.
If you don’t have a toll pass or a transponder on your vehicle, find out if your own transponder can work. A single transponder can help you on a trip from, say, Florida to Maine as you go through Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, New Jersey, and the like.
3. Modify the route settings.
Change your GPS settings to discover a route with fewer or no tolls altogether. Change these settings in a way that lets you see alternative routes to your destination. Also, you must be able to see the distance of every route and the number of tolls on them. These details will enable you to discover the best alternate path to your destination at affordable rates.
4. Be aware of the cashless toll.
In the US, you will find many tolls where only a camera reads the transponder on your car. It captures the license plate number. If your rented vehicle does not have a transponder, the toll charge will go to the rental car company. It, in turn, will forward it to you.
Also, this charge will include an additional administration fee. So, suppose you don’t register in a toll program service of a car rental company. If you use the cashless toll, you’ll need to pay for many things. These include not only the toll fee but also the administrative amount of $15 for every unpaid toll.
Encountering tolls can soon add up to your overall expenditure. Even if you have been able to get a car rented at a nominal cost, these tolls can soon blow up your expenses. So, knowing how to pay for tolls in a rental car is crucial to navigating through this process. Use the tips above to avoid overpaying and benefit from a seamless ride.