Rental Car Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q - What will the Lab reimburse if Enterprise or National charge a premium at a location and the traveler chooses a different company?
A - The Lab will reimburse the compact rate for Enterprise for the city of travel. If Enterprise is not available, the Lab will reimburse for the compact rate of National for the city of travel.
Q - What will the Lab reimburse if the traveler chooses a different car company than Enterprise and rents a SUV or other large vehicle?
A - The Lab will reimburse up to the compact rate for Enterprise. The traveler can rent a tank and the Lab will reimburse the base rate (plus usual taxes and fees) up to the comparable cost of the Enterprise compact rental. In this case, if the tank rental includes a "highway destruction fee" which is not normal for other car rentals, the Lab will not reimburse this fee without further justification.
Q - If a traveler has the option of renting from ISU or Enterprise will they be forced to choose the lowest cost option?
A - The traveler may choose which ever option works best for the traveler. The Lab encourages use of the lowest cost option but only the traveler can determine which option will work best for their trip. For instance, factors affecting a decision may include one's teaching schedule, availability of the necessary vehicle at time of departure, uncertainty of the duration of the trip, or variation in the number of occupants throughout the trip.
Q - What approvals does a traveler need to rent a car locally for travel to/from the airport or travel within the "day's drive" circle from the Lab?
A - When using the ISU car pool or Enterprise for compact up through standard sized vehicles, no exception request will have to be processes to justify the use of a vehicle. This will be consistent with using other forms of transportation departing Ames. For instance, no exception is needed for use of a personal vehicle or using a limo so none will be required when using a rental car. Keep in mind that the traveler will still list the car rental on the travel authorization and the Lab's carpool policy still applies where multiple travelers are going to the same destination.
Q - If a trip combines business and personal travel is it the responsibility of the Travel Office to force the traveler to rent two separate vehicles?
A - No. Travelers should be informed of the terms of the Enterprise rental agreement in regards to personal vs. business travel and be informed of the risk to the traveler if an accident occurs during personal use. After that it will be up to the traveler to decide how to rent the vehicle.
Q - Do the rental cars policies apply to visitors?
A - A visitor will be encouraged to use the Enterprise contract where the terms of the Enterprise agreement are favorable. However, there are mileage limitations within the Enterprise agreement that may make the Enterprise contract more expensive. It will be up to the host of the visitor to determine whether Enterprise makes sense in each situation. In any case, the visitor will be able to rent up to a standard sized vehicle without an exception request. Exception requests are still required for non-Ames Lab staff, and must be completed with Program Director approval for all non-Ames Lab staff car rentals. COO must approve if the car is larger than standard size.
Q - Will approvals still be needed for use of rental cars at the destination city (when flying)?
A - Yes. This will require the usually exception form for the PD to approve. However, the form will change so that the COO will approve larger than standard sized vehicles. Also, in cases where the traveler indicates they will pay the excess cost over the standard rate or they are using a vehicle larger than standard but the cost is less than the standard rate the form will not need to be approved by the COO. In essence COO approval of exceptions is only needed where there will be an increased cost to the Lab for the rental.
Q – If I rent a car from Ames Enterprise, can I leave my personal car at Enterprise during the rental?
A – Yes, but at your own personal risk. The Ames Enterprise has a parking lot behind the Enterprise building where you may leave your car. The parking lot is lit at night, but is not gated. It is also located in a flood plain near the river, so be aware of the season and the river level since that lot has flooded in the past.
Q – What information does the traveler turn into the Accounting Office with a direct-billed car?
A – Traveler should continue to turn in their rental agreement so that Ames Lab Accounting Office can verify that the bill and rental agreement match dollar for dollar.
Q – Does Enterprise agreement cover all drivers with license?
A – Enterprise agreement is available for drivers 21+ years of age. If program has a driver younger than 21, contact the travel office for accommodation.
Q – Does Enterprise agreement allow for multiple drivers?
A - The contract does allow for additional drivers (as long as they work for, or are on Lab business) at no additional charge.
Q – Does agreement allow for one-way rentals?
A – Enterprise is currently limited with regards to one-way rental capability. One-way rentals are available between Ames and Des Moines airport. One-way rentals may also be available within Iowa, central Illinois, Sioux Falls, SD, and Omaha, NE. However, please check with travel office before renting a car for one-way availability. Enterprise does have $1/mile drop charge to many locations outside designated area.
Q – What is billing cycle?
A – Enterprise has 24-hour billing cycle. Base rental charge is calculated per every 24-hour cycle.
Q – I noticed Ames Enterprise location has limited hours. I normally leave for business on Sunday when they are closed. May I still rent a vehicle?
A – Enterprise is open 9 a.m – 12 p.m. (noon) Saturday. Traveler may pick up vehicle early for a flat $14.99/day fee. Ames Lab encourages traveler to consider most economical means to travel. (If traveler has a flight that leaves early Sunday from Des Moines airport, rental fee will be the same if car is picked up Saturday before Enterprise closes as long as car is returned to Des Moines Enterprise location within 24 hours of pick-up.)
Q – If I rent a vehicle through the Ames Lab direct billing option, what will I need to provide to Enterprise to rent the vehicle?
A – Enterprise will require a valid driver’s license at time of rental if your rental is being direct-billed.
Q – If Enterprise is unavailable and I do not choose National, will I get reimbursed per an Enterprise rate or the National rate?
A – If National is available and Enterprise is not, and you choose to use alternate rental car company, the Ames Laboratory will reimburse up to the compact size of the National rate in that city of travel plus applicable taxes.
Q - How do I print my Enterprise Car rental receipt?
A - Click on this link to view instructions.