What Do You Need to Rent a Car – The Ultimate Guide to Rental Cars

PUBLISHED ON Jan, 20 2023



Renting a car is a convenient and flexible way to explore a new destination or navigate through unfamiliar terrain. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, understanding what is required to rent a car is essential for a smooth and hassle-free experience. From driver’s license requirements to insurance coverage and payment considerations, being well-informed can help you make informed decisions and avoid any surprises during the rental process. In this guide, we will delve into the various aspects of renting a car, providing you with valuable insights and tips to ensure a successful car rental experience. So, let’s dive in and discover what you need to know before hitting the road in a rental car.

Renting a car abroad is becoming more and more common. Instead of getting around using public transportation or relying on hitch hiking to get to remote places that public transportation does not reach, you can simply rent a car for a certain period of time and start getting around easily, saving costs and transportation times. However, it is important to note that renting a car abroad can be different from that in your local country, so there are some things to consider.

Driver’s License and Age Requirements

One of the first things you need to know when renting a car is the driver’s license and age requirements. In most countries, a valid driver’s license is mandatory for renting a car. Typically, an international driver’s license is accepted, but it’s essential to check the specific requirements of the destination country or car rental agency. Additionally, some rental companies may have age restrictions, where drivers must be a minimum age (usually between 21 and 25) to rent a car. Younger drivers may face additional fees or restrictions. It’s crucial to review these requirements beforehand and ensure you meet the necessary criteria to avoid any complications or disappointments during the rental process.

Booking a Rental Car

Once you have a clear understanding of the driver’s license and age requirements, the next step in renting a car is to book your vehicle. There are several ways to book a rental car, providing flexibility and convenience. One popular option is to book directly through car rental agency websites. This allows you to explore various options, compare prices, and choose the car that suits your needs. Another option is to use online travel agencies or aggregators, which compile and compare prices from multiple rental companies, simplifying the booking process. It’s important to consider factors such as the duration of your rental, pick-up and drop-off locations, and any additional services or features you may require, such as child seats or GPS navigation. By booking in advance, you can often secure better rates and ensure the availability of your preferred vehicle.

Comparing Prices For Car Rental

As you probably noticed, two different car rental companies in the same country and the same city can offer the same car on the same terms of service – at completely different prices. There are many designated websites that compare prices for renting cars that allow you to find the cheapest prices between car rental companies on a wide range of countries and types of vehicles. The process takes a minute and can find cheap car rentals and save you hundreds of Dollars.

In order to compare prices between car rental companies, you should initially select the country in which you plan to rent the car abroad in the “Country” field (you can also use the search engine to compare car rental prices in your home country, simply select your country of residence as the destination country. Then choose the city where you plan to rent the vehicle in the “city” field and in the “station” field the exact location to which you want to pick up the car (such as renting a car at an airport, downtown or at a particular train station). Finally, enter the dates on which you would like to book a car rental abroad and click “Search” to see results of comparing prices between car rental companies abroad on a variety of car models.

Car Rental Search

Usually, all the companies that appear in the search results are companies that are considered relatively reliable and provide customer service in English, so in principle you should simply find the cheapest price for the car you are interested in. A well-known car rental company does not necessarily provide better service, and you will usually find the cheapest prices in a smaller car rental companies which are less familiar. For the wise traveler, there is no real reason to pay a higher price for a rented car just because the company that rents it is a large international car rental company like Avis or Sixt and not a smaller car rental company or a local company operating only in the same country abroad and not in the whole world. In order to make sure that the rental company provide good service, you can always search Google for “[company name] review” to see what other people think about this company.

When looking into the comparison search engine, you will probably not find all the countries in the world there, but almost every country in which you would consider renting a car should be listed – from renting a car in the US or Canada, through renting a car in Germany or France to renting a car in South Africa, Australia or Mexico.

Choosing the Right Vehicle

Note that when you travel by car in your home country you are usually not towed with luggage and equipment that should be enough for a few days or even weeks. Before you decide which car to rent for a trip abroad, make a calculation of the number of people traveling in the car, luggage, carts, safety seats and all the equipment you plan to bring with you. Also remember that when you travel abroad you might want to shop for some souvenirs or simply spend some tume in shopping. You might find things worth buying that may take up a lot of space, and you will not want to give them up.

For these reasons you may prefer to choose a larger vehicle than the vehicle you are traveling in your home country, especially if you are planning a vacation that has long trips. The difference in prices between different types of rental cars is usually not very large and in station wagons or minivans, you can load more luggage more easily and there is more space that allows children to rest and play on the long trips.

Payment and Deposits

When renting a car, it’s essential to understand the payment and deposit requirements. Most car rental companies require a valid credit card in the renter’s name to secure the booking and cover any potential damages or additional charges. Debit cards or cash may not be accepted for this purpose. Before picking up the rental car, you’ll need to provide the necessary payment information, including the credit card details. It’s important to review the rental agreement carefully to understand the payment terms, including the total rental cost, any additional fees or taxes, and the payment method accepted upon return. Some car rental companies may also place a hold or pre-authorization on your credit card for a certain amount as a security deposit. This amount will be released upon the return of the car in the same condition as when it was rented. It’s crucial to have sufficient funds available on your credit card to cover these charges and deposits. By understanding the payment and deposit requirements in advance, you can ensure a smooth rental process and avoid any unexpected surprises.

Do You Need Insurance for Rental Cars Abroad?

If you have decided to rent a car abroad, it is necessary to take care of three main insurance policies. The first is compulsory insurance that provides coverage in the event of injury to the driver or others, the second is comprehensive insurance that cover the vehicle against damage, and the third – third party insurance designed to cover damage to the driver’s and other passengers’ property.

It is important to know what the rental company’s insurance won’t cover when your rental car is damaged. It is also important to know that even if you are covered with CDW insurance, in the event that the rental vehicle is damaged, you are still liable to pay a certain amount known as “excess” (or deductible). In order to reduce you excess to zero, it is recommended to obtain car hire excess insurance. If your hire car is damaged, car hire excess insurance protects you from excess. We offer daily protection as well as annual insurance for frequent travelers.

It is important to research and understand the coverage options and costs to make an informed decision that best fits your needs. CarInsuRent car hire excess insurance starts from as low as $6.49 per day* to $94.90 for an annual car hire excess insurance policy. Our policies covers the excess on damage and theft up to €2,500 and provide full protection that Includes single vehicle damage, roof and undercarriage damage, auto glass and widescreen damagetowing expenses, misfuelling, loss of car key and tire damage. We cover multiple drivers between the ages of 21 and 84 years.

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Additional Drivers

The cost of adding a second driver to your rental agreement rises with the number of drivers, with a driver under 25 costing an additional US$ 15 per day on average. Is it really worth the extra money if one of you will drive 90% of the time? If this is significant to you, take into account the cost while making the reservation because different firms charge differently.

If you’re not the only person planning to drive the rental car, it’s important to consider the policy regarding additional drivers. Many car rental companies allow you to add one or more additional drivers to the rental agreement, but there may be certain requirements and fees associated with it. Each additional driver must meet the age and driver’s license requirements specified by the rental company. They will typically need to present a valid driver’s license at the time of rental. Some car rental companies may charge an extra fee for each additional driver, while others may include one or more additional drivers at no extra cost. It’s crucial to check the specific terms and conditions of the rental agreement to understand the policy regarding additional drivers. Adding authorized drivers can be beneficial, as it allows for more flexibility and sharing of driving responsibilities during your trip. However, it’s important to ensure that all additional drivers are listed on the rental agreement to ensure they are covered by the rental car’s insurance and avoid any potential issues in case of accidents or damages. CarInsuRent car hire excess insurance cover 8 additional drivers with no additional cost!

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Rental Duration and Mileage Limitations – Are There Mileage Restrictions on Rental Cars?

When renting a car, it’s essential to understand the rental duration and any mileage limitations imposed by the rental company. Rental durations can vary, ranging from a few hours to several weeks or even months. It’s crucial to book the car for the duration you need to avoid any additional charges or penalties for late returns. Make sure to carefully read the rental agreement and understand the rental period specified.

Additionally, pay attention to any mileage limitations that may apply. Some car rental companies have mileage restrictions, which means there’s a maximum number of miles or kilometers you can drive during the rental period without incurring extra fees. If you plan to cover long distances or embark on a road trip, it’s important to check if there are any mileage limitations and consider whether they align with your travel plans. If the mileage limit seems insufficient for your needs, inquire about any additional mileage packages or options available for purchase.

Understanding the rental duration and any mileage limitations in advance will help you plan your trip effectively and avoid any unexpected charges or restrictions during your rental period.

Should You Book a Car Rental at the Airport or in the City Where the Hotel is Located?

In many cases it is advisable to rent a car already when you land at the airport. In many cases these rentals may cost a bit higher, as you might pay “airport surcharge”, however renting the vehicle at the airport may save you time and money when moving to the nearest city. In some cases, renting a car at the airport might even be offered to you at a significantly cheaper price than those you will find in cities. Even if you do not intend to use the car on the first or second day of your arrival, it is sometimes much more lucrative to rent it from the airport than from anywhere else.

See if It Pays to Rent a Car For a Long Time

This is a small ploy by quite a few car rental companies. If, for example, you are only interested in renting a car for two or three days, check how much it will cost you to rent the same car for another two days. Sometimes car rental companies abroad prefer you to rent cars for long periods. And even if you do not intend to use the car during the entire trip, you will not pay more for it to stand in the parking lot for a few days. In addition to that, having a car will allow you to be spontaneous if you want to go on a long and unplanned trip. In this case, it would be good if the vehicle is already available.

Are the Car Add-ons Really Worth It?

When you rent the car, you will be offered extras like a child booster seat or a GPS device. Sometimes these add-ons are offered at exorbitant prices, so you should consider bringing the booster with you from your home country and buying a SIM card for the Internet so that GPS can be used on the mobile phone.

The average cost of a sat nav rental in Frankfurt with Avis is $7.99/day. Frequently, this amount is not disclosed to you when you make your reservation. It is typically less expensive to use your smartphone or to upgrade your detachable satnav at home to European mapping and carry it with you.

A child’s car seat can be rented with Avis for about US$ 9.89/day. Consider bringing your car seat with you since many airlines will accept it for free in their hold. Why not buy an inflatable booster child seat for older kids?

Avis Car Rental Add-ons prices

Avis Car Rental Add-ons prices

How Old Do You Have to Be to Get a Rental Car?

There are quite a few countries that do not allow renting a car to new drivers or to drivers under the age of 25 or to older drivers over the age of 70. In any case, even if the companies allow renting a car to people belonging to the categories mentioned above, the cost may be higher than usual.

Is Your Local Driver’s License Enough?

Some countries accept your local driver’s license, but others require the presentation of an international driver’s license. When renting the vehicle, it is important to check whether they accept your local license, or whether it is necessary to issue an international driver’s license as well. The latter gives you the opportunity to drive abroad, taking into account the limitations of the original driver’s license.

Beware of Parking Lots

Over one in five (25%) of CarInsuRent’s claims in the summer of 2021 involved parking lots, and over half (55%) of occurrences there were not the claimant’s fault. For instance, 17% of claims involved damage to parked, stationary cars. To prevent dings and scratches, park whenever feasible in lots with adequate space and lighting.

Returning the Rental Car

Returning a rental car is an essential step in the car rental process. It involves returning the vehicle to the rental company once your rental period is over. Here are some key points to consider when returning a rental car:

  1. Review the Return Terms: Familiarize yourself with the return policies and terms of the rental company. Take note of the return location, operating hours, and any specific instructions provided by the company.
  2. Plan Sufficient Time: Allow enough time to return the car before the designated return time. Consider traffic conditions, distance to the rental location, and any potential delays that may occur.
  3. Clean the Car: Take a few moments to clean the interior of the car before returning it. Remove any trash, personal belongings, and other items that you may have brought into the vehicle during your rental period.
  4. Refuel the Car: Check the fuel gauge and refill the tank if necessary. Some rental companies require you to return the car with a full tank of fuel. Failure to do so may result in additional charges.
  5. Inspect for Damage: Conduct a thorough inspection of the car’s exterior and interior. Look for any new damages, scratches, or dents that may have occurred during your rental period. Take photos or videos as evidence, if needed.
  6. Return the Keys: Make sure to return all sets of keys provided by the rental company. Some companies may require you to drop the keys off at a specific location or return them directly to a representative.
  7. Get a Return Receipt: Request a return receipt or confirmation from the rental company. This document serves as proof that you have returned the car and can help resolve any potential disputes or issues that may arise later.

By following these steps, you can ensure a smooth and efficient return process when returning a rental car. It’s important to adhere to the rental company’s guidelines and return the car in the same condition as when you received it.

To What You Should Pay Attention When Picking Up Your Hire Car?

When you pick up the vehicle we recommend that you pay attention to a few things:

Is the car you’re about to drive off is of the same model or category that you booked? Some rental companies will try to provide a smaller car or one of a lower quality. Don’t forget to bring with you a copy of your order to present it just in case you need a proof.

Check the car for any dents and scrapes and make a note of them in the rental agreement to avoid having to pay for damage that you didn’t cause when you return the vehicle. We encourage you to take photos of the car before returning, as this may to safeguard you from any unexpected charges.

Check your credit card statement to ensure that you have not been charged for something you shouldn’t have. If you want to dispute anything, don’t hesitate to report it to the rental company and your credit card provider.

Be Familiar With the Local Driving Laws and Regulations

Renting a car abroad should be done in accordance with the laws of the country in which you are located. The country you are visiting may do things slightly differently. Do your research, from road signs to speed limits and speed cameras. Gathering information on driving safety rules when you are traveling abroad is important.


Renting a car can provide convenience and flexibility during your travels, but it’s important to be well-informed and prepared. By understanding the requirements and considerations involved in renting a car, such as driver’s license and age requirements, booking procedures, payment and deposits, additional drivers, rental duration and mileage limitations, returning the car, and other tips, you can ensure a smooth and hassle-free car rental experience. Remember to research and compare rental companies, read the terms and conditions carefully, and ask any questions you may have before finalizing your reservation. With proper planning and knowledge, you can confidently navigate the world of rental cars and enjoy a seamless journey wherever your travels take you.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Can I buy a plan for just one day?

Yes. Insurance for a single day is available.

Can I buy a plan for part of my rental only?

No. We provide a single journey plan. You are covered from the time you pick up the rental car up to the time you return it or on the last date written on your Certificate of Insurance, whichever comes first.

Can I buy a plan when I pick up my rental car?

No. You should purchase a policy before starting your travel.

Find the answers you’re looking for to the most frequently asked car hire insurance questions as well as other questions relating to our products and services.

Visit the FAQ page