Renting a vehicle equipped with a tow hitch can allow you to tow boats, RVs, trailers, and more to your destination. However, not all rental cars have a hitch installed. Finding the right rental car with towing capacity requires research and planning ahead.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Call rental car companies ahead of time to find out their policies on towing and renting vehicles with hitches pre-installed. Consider renting a pickup truck or large SUV which is more likely to have a factory installed hitch.

Expect to pay more for the vehicle rental and added insurance coverage.

In this comprehensive 3000 word guide, we will cover everything you need to know about renting a car with a tow hitch. We will discuss types of hitches, rental car towing policies, how to find a rental with towing capacity, additional fees to expect, insurance considerations, tips for safe towing, and top vehicles for renting with a hitch.

Types of Trailer Hitches for Rental Cars

Receiver Hitches

Receiver hitches are the most common type of trailer hitch found on rental cars. They consist of a square or rectangular receiver tube that is mounted to the rear of the vehicle. This type of hitch is versatile and can accommodate a wide range of tow accessories, such as bike racks and cargo carriers.

Receiver hitches come in different classes, with each class having a specific towing capacity. Class I hitches have the lowest towing capacity, while Class V hitches have the highest.

Fixed Ball Mount Hitches

Fixed ball mount hitches are another type of trailer hitch commonly available for rental cars. These hitches have a fixed ball mount attached to a receiver tube, allowing for easy attachment of a trailer. The ball mount is available in different sizes to match the trailer’s coupler size.

Fixed ball mount hitches are often used for towing small to medium-sized trailers, such as utility trailers and campers.

Gooseneck and Fifth Wheel Hitches

Gooseneck and fifth wheel hitches are designed for towing heavy loads and are typically found on larger trucks. These hitches require special installation and are not commonly available for rental cars.

Gooseneck hitches have a ball that extends from the truck bed, while fifth wheel hitches have a kingpin that attaches to a hitch in the truck bed. These hitches are commonly used for towing large trailers and RVs.

When renting a car with a tow hitch, it’s important to consider the type of trailer hitch required for your towing needs. Receiver hitches and fixed ball mount hitches are the most common types found on rental cars, providing versatility for various towing accessories.

However, if you need to tow heavy loads or larger trailers, you may need to explore other options. Always check with the rental car company to ensure they have the appropriate trailer hitch available for your needs.

Rental Car Company Policies for Towing

When it comes to renting a car with a tow hitch, it’s important to be aware of the policies and restrictions set by rental car companies. Understanding these guidelines will help ensure a smooth and hassle-free towing experience. Here are some key factors to consider:

Towing Restrictions

Each rental car company has its own set of towing restrictions that you should familiarize yourself with before renting a car. Some companies may prohibit towing altogether, while others may allow it under certain conditions.

It is essential to check with the rental car company in advance to ensure that your towing needs can be accommodated.

Some common restrictions may include limitations on the weight of the trailer, the type of trailer allowed (open or enclosed), and specific towing equipment requirements. Additionally, certain locations or vehicle models may have stricter towing restrictions, so it’s important to double-check these details before making a reservation.

Additional Fees

It’s important to be aware that renting a car with a tow hitch may incur additional fees. Rental car companies often charge extra for the use of towing equipment and may also require a deposit or an increase in the overall rental price.

These fees vary from company to company, so it’s important to inquire about them upfront to avoid any surprises.

Additionally, some rental car companies may require you to purchase additional insurance coverage specifically for towing. This insurance is designed to protect you and the rental car from any damages that may occur during the towing process.

While it may add to the overall cost, it is an important precaution to consider.

Insurance Requirements

Before renting a car with a tow hitch, it’s crucial to review your own insurance policy to determine whether it covers towing. In most cases, personal auto insurance policies do not extend coverage to rental vehicles.

Therefore, it is recommended to purchase the additional insurance offered by the rental car company.

It’s also worth noting that the rental car company’s insurance may have certain limitations or exclusions, so it’s essential to review the policy details carefully. If you have any doubts or questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to the rental car company or consult with your own insurance provider for clarification.

Remember, understanding the rental car company’s policies for towing, additional fees, and insurance requirements will help you make an informed decision and have a stress-free towing experience. Always read the terms and conditions carefully and ask questions if anything is unclear.

Finding a Rental Car with Towing Capacity

When it comes to renting a car with a tow hitch, there are a few important factors to consider. Whether you need to transport a trailer, RV, or other heavy load, finding a rental car with the appropriate towing capacity is crucial.

Here are some tips to help you find the right rental car for your towing needs.

Call Ahead to Rental Companies

Before making a reservation, it’s always a good idea to call ahead to rental companies and inquire about their towing options. Not all rental cars come equipped with tow hitches, so it’s important to check if this is available.

Some companies may have specific vehicles dedicated to towing, while others may offer hitches as optional extras. By calling ahead, you can ensure that the rental company has the right vehicle for your towing needs.

Consider Renting a Truck or Large SUV

If you have a significant towing requirement, it may be worth considering renting a truck or a large SUV. These vehicles often have higher towing capacities compared to regular cars. Trucks are especially suitable for towing heavy loads, such as boats or construction equipment.

Renting a truck or large SUV will provide you with the necessary power and stability to tow your items safely and efficiently.

Verify Towing Specs Before Booking

Once you have narrowed down your options to a few rental companies, it’s important to verify the towing specifications of the vehicles they offer. Pay attention to important details such as maximum towing weight, tongue weight, and trailer brake requirements.

This information will help you determine if the vehicle is suitable for your specific towing needs. Additionally, make sure to inform the rental company about the type of load you plan to tow, as they may have additional recommendations or restrictions.

Ask About Hitch Installation Options

If you already have a tow hitch and only need a rental car with the appropriate towing capacity, ask the rental company if they offer hitch installation services. Some companies may have the option to install a tow hitch on their vehicles upon request.

This can save you time and effort, as you won’t have to worry about installing the hitch yourself. However, it’s important to inquire about any additional fees or requirements associated with hitch installation.

Remember, when it comes to renting a car with a tow hitch, it’s essential to plan ahead and communicate your towing needs with the rental company. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared to find a rental car that meets your towing requirements and ensures a smooth and safe journey.

Additional Costs to Expect

When renting a car with a tow hitch, there are a few additional costs that you should be aware of. These costs can vary depending on the rental company and the specific terms of your rental agreement. Here are some common additional costs to expect:

Increased Rental Rates

One of the first things you’ll notice when renting a car with a tow hitch is that the rental rates are often higher compared to renting a standard car. This is because cars with tow hitches are typically larger and more powerful, making them more expensive to purchase and maintain.

The increased rental rates reflect these additional costs.

Added Insurance Fees

Another cost to consider when renting a car with a tow hitch is the added insurance fees. Most rental companies require you to have additional insurance coverage when towing a trailer or other heavy loads.

This is to protect both you and the rental company in case of any accidents or damage that may occur while towing. The insurance fees can vary depending on the level of coverage you choose.

Extra Charges for Hitch Installation

If the rental car you choose doesn’t already have a tow hitch installed, you may have to pay extra for the installation. This can vary depending on the rental company and the specific type of hitch required. It’s important to inquire about this cost upfront so that you can budget accordingly.

Taxes and Surcharges

In addition to the base rental rate and insurance fees, don’t forget to factor in taxes and surcharges. These additional charges can vary depending on the location of the rental, the duration of the rental, and any specific regulations in place.

It’s always a good idea to ask the rental company about these charges upfront so that you’re not caught off guard.

Remember, while renting a car with a tow hitch may come with additional costs, it can also provide you with the convenience and flexibility to transport heavy loads or tow trailers during your trip. Make sure to carefully review the rental agreement and ask any questions you may have before finalizing your rental.

Insurance Considerations When Towing

When renting a car with a tow hitch, it’s important to consider the insurance options available to protect yourself and the vehicle. Towing can sometimes be risky, so having the right coverage in place can give you peace of mind during your rental period.

Damage Coverage

One of the first insurance considerations when towing is damage coverage. This type of insurance protects you from any damage that may occur to the rental car or the towed vehicle while in your possession.

It’s a good idea to check with the rental agency to see what their policy covers and if there are any additional options you can purchase for extra protection.

In the event of an accident or damage, having adequate damage coverage can help minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. Remember to thoroughly inspect both the rental car and the towed vehicle before embarking on your journey to ensure any pre-existing damage is documented.

Liability Protection

Liability protection is another important consideration when towing a rental car. This type of insurance covers any damages or injuries you may cause to other people or their property while using the rental car and tow hitch.

It’s crucial to have sufficient liability protection to avoid potential legal and financial consequences.

Before renting a car with a tow hitch, make sure to check the liability coverage limits provided by the rental agency. If the limits seem low, you may want to consider purchasing additional liability protection through your personal insurance or the rental agency itself.

Rental Agency Insurance Options

Most rental agencies offer insurance options specifically tailored to towing. These options can vary in terms of coverage and cost, so it’s important to review them carefully and choose the one that best suits your needs.

Some rental agencies may offer comprehensive insurance packages that include both damage coverage and liability protection for towing. Others may provide separate options for each type of coverage. Take the time to compare the different insurance packages and consider the value they provide in relation to the cost.

Note: It’s always a good idea to consult your personal insurance provider to see if your existing policy covers towing with a rental car. This can help you avoid paying for duplicate coverage and may provide additional peace of mind during your rental period.

Remember, accidents can happen when towing, so having the right insurance coverage is essential. Take the time to understand the insurance considerations when renting a car with a tow hitch and make an informed decision to protect yourself and your belongings.

Tips for Towing Safely with a Rental Car

Verify Towing Capacity

Before embarking on your towing adventure, it is crucial to verify the towing capacity of the rental car. Each vehicle has a specific limit on how much weight it can safely tow. Exceeding this limit can put strain on the engine, transmission, and other components, potentially leading to accidents or breakdowns.

You can usually find the towing capacity in the car’s manual or by contacting the rental company. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so double-checking this information is essential.

Double Check Hitch and Connections

When renting a car with a tow hitch, it is important to thoroughly inspect the hitch and its connections before hitting the road. Make sure the hitch is securely attached and that all the connections are tight and properly aligned.

A loose or improperly installed hitch can lead to detachment while towing, resulting in a dangerous situation for you and other drivers on the road. Take the time to ensure everything is in place before you start your journey.

Adjust Driving for the Load

Towing a heavy load can significantly impact the handling and braking of a vehicle. It is crucial to adjust your driving accordingly to maintain control and ensure safety. Increase your following distance to allow for longer stopping distances, especially when towing a heavier load.

Take turns wider and slower to compensate for the increased weight and potential sway. Being aware of the changes in your car’s handling will help you navigate the road smoothly and avoid any accidents.

Watch Speed and Use Tow/Haul Mode

When towing with a rental car, it is important to be mindful of your speed. Towing a heavy load can affect the car’s acceleration and braking capabilities. Drive at a speed that is safe and comfortable for both you and other drivers on the road.

Additionally, many rental cars have a tow/haul mode option. This mode adjusts the transmission’s shift points and helps improve control while towing. Engaging the tow/haul mode can provide a smoother towing experience and reduce strain on the vehicle.

Brake Early and Carefully

One of the most important aspects of towing safely is braking properly. Towing a heavy load requires more time and distance to come to a complete stop. Always brake early and gradually to avoid putting excessive strain on the vehicle’s brakes.

Sudden or aggressive braking can cause the rental car to sway, potentially leading to loss of control. By braking carefully and allowing for extra distance, you can ensure a safer towing experience.

Best Vehicles for Renting with Tow Hitches

Pickup Trucks

When it comes to renting a vehicle with a tow hitch, pickup trucks are a popular choice. With their powerful engines and sturdy frames, pickup trucks are designed to handle heavy loads and towing. They are perfect for hauling trailers, boats, or other large items.

Whether you need to transport furniture for a move or tow a camper for a weekend getaway, a pickup truck with a tow hitch is a reliable and capable option.

Full-Size SUVs

Full-size SUVs are another great option for renting with a tow hitch. These vehicles offer the best of both worlds – ample seating and cargo space, combined with the towing capacity needed for hauling trailers or other heavy loads.

Full-size SUVs are ideal for families or groups who need extra room for both passengers and their belongings. They provide a comfortable and versatile solution for road trips, camping adventures, or any other situation that requires towing.

Heavy Duty Passenger Vans

For larger groups or those with extra cargo to transport, renting a heavy-duty passenger van with a tow hitch can be a practical choice. These vans are designed to accommodate a significant number of passengers while still having the towing capacity needed for trailers or other heavy loads.

Whether you’re planning a group outing or need to transport equipment for an event, a heavy-duty passenger van with a tow hitch can handle the job with ease.

Renting an RV Instead

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive solution for your towing needs, renting an RV instead of a traditional vehicle may be worth considering. RVs are specifically designed for towing and offer a range of amenities and comforts for long trips.

They come equipped with built-in tow hitches and offer ample living space, making them a great option for those planning a camping trip or a cross-country adventure. Renting an RV can provide a unique and enjoyable experience for both the driver and passengers.

When renting a vehicle with a tow hitch, it’s important to consider your specific needs and the requirements of your towing job. Be sure to check the towing capacity of the vehicle and ensure that it meets your requirements.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with any regulations or restrictions regarding towing in the area where you will be driving.


Renting a car equipped with a tow hitch opens up many possibilities for transporting boats, trailers, RVs, and equipment to your destination. While most standard rental cars cannot tow, many truck, SUV, and van rentals include towing capacity and pre-installed hitches.

The key is researching rental policies, calling ahead to verify towing specs, and reserving well in advance. Expect to pay more in rental fees, insurance, and taxes. And always tow responsibly within safety limits.

With proper preparation, renting a tow ready vehicle can simplify transporting your gear on road trips or vacations.

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