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Car Rental FAQ’s: The Most Common Questions About Hiring a Car

Below are some of the top car rental FAQ’s “Frequently Asked Questions” that should be known when booking your vehicle hire for your next holiday, vacation or business trip.

Please understand that as Go4CarRental books and compares many car rental companies in lots of different countries, with different sizes and types of vehicle, the answers given are general in nature.

Drive to Milford Sound in New Zealand, Car Rental FAQ
Drive to Milford Sound in New Zealand

When booking car rental, please always check the “Terms and Conditions” for the car hire company through the link provided, when finalising your car hire booking.

This will include the relevant terms and conditions for your car rental booking.

Fees & Charges

There are several factors that affect the cost of renting a car so there is no fixed rate.

One of the main factors that affect pricing is the length of your rental. Most companies charge per 24 hours, but generally, the longer you rent the car for, the lower your daily rate will be. A 10-day rental will normally have a lower per-day rate than a 3-day rental.

Where you pick-up and drop-off your rental car can also affect pricing. Some companies charge airport and ferry terminal pick-up fees, and one-way rental fees. It is usually more cost-effective to pick-up and drop-off your rental car in the same location.

The type of vehicle you rent will also matter. Rental companies have different ways of classifying their vehicles but as a general rule, the larger and fancier the vehicle, the more expensive the rental is. For example, an economy car is normally more affordable than a sports car.

Rental bonds may also be required and imprinted on the renter’s credit card upon pick-up. This is normally 15 to 25 percent of the total rental cost. If you return the car without any issue or damage, the rental bond will be removed, and you will only be charged for the actual rental amount.

Other factors that can affect pricing are additional drivers’ fee, late return of the rental car, GPS, cost of refuelling your car, and insurance or excess charges if your car gets damaged in your care, among others.

Car rental companies at airports generally must pay extra fees and charges to local airport operators or councils in order to operate from the airport. These charges are usually passed on to the renter as an airport surcharge.

However, at most airports, there is a large range of car rental operators with access to the airport. This may be with a direct on-airport office, or a car rental company with a nearby off-airport office. Due to the competition from the different companies, this often results in cheaper rates being available; especially if a car rental company can see that they have many vehicles available over a date period.

Often the reduced cost of picking up a car rental at a city depot may not outweigh the cost of and inconvenience of having to get a taxi or shuttle to or from a central city location.

A quick search online will bring up rates and vehicles available for your dates. You can easily compare between car rental companies.

On top of the total cost of your rental, it is common for rental companies to hold an amount equivalent to 15 to 40 percent of the rental cost, as a security bond or deposit. It is best to check the amount when booking with your car rental company.

Car rental companies all have options to reduce your insurance excess if you take out extra insurance with them. This is normally charged at a daily rate, and the cost can add up. Insurance is very important when renting a car, but if you already have existing protection, this can only add unnecessary charges to your total bill. There are other options available.

  • If you already have personal insurance, check with your car insurance company if they can cover your car rental.
  • Travel insurance is another easy way you can get covered at a relatively cheap cost, as most travel insurance companies have options to cover your car rental excess.
  • Some credit card companies include travel insurance as a benefit, if you purchase the car rental with your credit card. So you may also be covered for damages you may incur on the rental car with your credit card provider.

However, with all these options, please remember if you have an accident, you will be liable to pay the car rental company the cost of repairs, up to the insurance excess applicable on your car rental. This will be payable at the end of your car hire. The amount charged by the car rental will then need to be claimed back from your insurance company.

The best way to cancel or modify your reservation is to click on the modification link which you will find in your email confirmation after making the booking. The amount of any “Cancellation and Amendment Fees” varies depending on the car rental company in each country. These charges are detailed in the “terms and conditions” when making your booking, and these fees are also advised in the email confirming your rental car booking.

The amount of deposit paid on booking does vary with the car rental company. Most rental car companies will require full payment on booking. Some car hire companies will require a deposit at the time of booking, with the balance paid at time of pick-up. Those car rental operators that charge a deposit, the amount will be around 10 to 15 percent of the total rental cost. The deposit amount also varies by location. The payment requirements will be detailed in your car rental booking. does not charge any booking fees.

The fuel policy depends on the rental car company, but you normally have the following options:

  1. Pre-paid – Pay for a full tank of fuel in advance. You can use as much or as little as you want but remember that some companies do not give a refund for unused fuel.
  2. Full to full – The company gives you a car with a full tank of fuel and you are expected to return it with a full tank. If the car was not given to you with a full tank, you are still expected to return it with the same fuel level.

Most rental cars have a full tank of gas upon pick-up, so you are therefore expected to return it the same way. Otherwise, you will be charged for fuel when you return the car, which is normally always higher than the regular price.

You can check the fuel policy in the terms & conditions when booking your rental car online.

When renting a car, it is important to note that the rental car company may add on required state, city, or county taxes. On top of that, you may also need to pay for other fees like the following:

  • Airport pick-up and drop-off fees
  • One-way surcharge
  • Parking fees
  • Late and Early return fees
  • Refuelling Fee
  • Extra drivers fee
  • Underage drivers fee
  • Car Insurance or Collision Damage Waiver
  • Excess charges in case the car is returned with damages
  • Optional extras like snow chains, booster seats, baby seat, GPS, ski rack, etc.

Bookings & Reservations

Snow chains and ski racks are available at the time of booking however not all companies offer this. At the time of booking, under “Would you like any extra items?”, just click on “Show all extras” to see if snow chains are available online. If they are not, they will probably not be available at the time of pick-up.

Please check the terms and conditions of your booking to see if some insurance is already included.

Excess Insurance

At the time of booking, you will be given an option to purchase an excess reduction insurance. If it’s not available online, you can always add this at the time of pick-up.

Young Drivers Insurance

If you are under 25 years old, you may be required to purchase a special insurance that normally costs around $20-$30 per day.

There is no fixed rule as to the required credit limit your card needs to have.

Typically, you will need to have enough credit to cover the total cost of your rental and an extra amount on top of that, which covers your security deposit (rental bond), in case there are excess charges. It is common for rental companies to hold an amount equivalent to 15 to 40 percent of your total rental cost. It is best to check the “Terms and Conditions” with your car rental company.

Most rental companies no longer accept cash as payment. You would need to have a major credit card to be able to book online. Please read the terms and conditions of your rental for more information.

Debit cards are rarely accepted now because of security reasons. You may be able to use your debit to secure a booking online, but you would need to present a major credit card in the driver’s name at the time of pick-up for the bond or security payment.

Some companies may allow a debit card, but only in certain circumstances. You may be subject to a credit check, depending on the car rental company concerned. For more information, please go through the terms and conditions of your preferred car rental when booking.

We understand that flight delays are out of your control. To avoid losing your reservation, when booking your rental car online, include your airline and flight information, so when your flight gets delayed, the rental company will be notified, and they will hold your booking until your flight arrival.

Not showing up on time for your car rental pick-up will make rental companies think you’re not coming. If you did not provide any prior notice as to your flight arrival details, they will cancel your booking and give the car to somebody else and may even charge your card with a no-show fee.

If you know that your flight is going to be delayed before taking off, it is also wise to call the rental car company to let them know you are arriving late, and then discuss your options.

Some companies require pre-payment or a deposit when booking a car online. Deposits are normally non-refundable in case of cancellations. Others do not require any sort of payment at the time of booking and you can pay for your rental car the time of pick-up.

Upon pick-up, you will also be required to present a credit card in your name (if you’re the driver). On top of the rental cost, a security bond or deposit will be held by the company throughout the duration of your hire. This will be fully refunded if you return the vehicle in an acceptable condition.

Payment policies vary by rental car company. Please check the policy on your preferred vehicle, when you’re booking online.

There can be penalties for returning your rental car after the agreed drop-off time, so it is best to read the company’s terms and conditions. Most rental car companies provide a 29-minute grace period at the end of the rental before they start charging you for new 24-hour period.

Yes. Most rental companies charge a small daily rate per day for child and infant safety seats. There is normally a maximum charge per seat per rental, so that long car hires will not keep being charged the daily rate.

Yes. Some locations offer four-wheel drive SUV vehicles. When doing a search, just select SUV to filter the results. In some cases, the vehicle listing may not indicate that it is a 4WD. Choose full size SUV models which are more likely to have 4WD types.

Please check the terms and conditions if you’re renting a 4WD. Most rental companies have limitations on the types of vehicle you can rent if you are under 25 years old.

Yes, definitely. Just choose a pick-up and drop off location, dates of rental, and your age when looking for a car rental online and click on “Search.”

Yes, there can be more than one driver. Additional drivers must meet the same license requirements as the main driver. Most rental companies charge for additional drivers, though occasionally some will allow for an extra driver at no charge.

Usually there is a fee for extra drivers over and above the main driver. Depending on the car hire company this may be a set charge for the whole rental; or alternatively a daily rental charge based on the length of the booking, with or without a maximum number of days charged. The extra driver’s names and license details need to be given at the start of the car rental.

As you will have signed a contract with the car rental company, and you will be bound by that rental contract; don’t allow anyone else to drive the vehicle. Doing so will make the main driver fully liable for all damages incurred.

When doing a search on the Go4CarRental site, check the car rentals in the first screen, and any that include a free second driver will be highlighted with a tick in the box immediately under “FREE benefits included with your rental”.

Renter Requirements

The requirements vary between rental companies but as a rule, all drivers must:

  • Meet the minimum age requirement of the rental company
  • Have a local or international driver’s licence valid in the country where the rental takes place
    • Major car rental companies require a full drivers’ license, however some smaller local companies may allow a provisional drivers’ license.
  • International driving license or accredited translation are required for driving licenses not written in the language similar to that of the renting country
  • Valid ID or passport may also be required if renting outside your country
  • A major credit card in the driver’s name. Some companies may accept debit cards. Acceptance of debit cards in the USA is common, where these are used the car rental company normally puts a hold on the funds required. Check in the “Terms & Conditions” of the car rental company, when booking your prefered car hire.

All major car rental companies, including Avis, Budget, Hertz and Europcar require you to be at least 21 years of age to rent a vehicle. However, this can vary according to country and vehicle category. Only a very few car hire companies in some countries will allow drivers with a minimum age of 18 years. Generally, drivers under 25 years are required to purchase a special insurance or pay a young drivers’ surcharge.

Some rental car companies may have a maximum drivers age, or require drivers over a certain age to have a doctor’s certificate confirming they are able to drive.

The minimum age requirement varies between locations and companies. Normally, you need to be at least 20 or 21 years of age to be able to rent a car in US and Canada. If you are below 25, you will be required to take out a special insurance or a young driver fee. Some companies will also not allow you to rent luxury vehicles if you’re under 25 years old. There is no maximum age in the USA or Canada.

In Michigan and New York states the minimum age is legislated at being 18 years old. However surcharges applying for 18-20 year old drivers are considerably higher.

Drivers in Canada aged between 21 and 24 years of age and wanting to rent a vehicle, are not allowed to hire luxury cars, SUV’s or people movers. This is due to insurance regulations.

Most car rental companies require a full license, but this can vary by location and type of vehicle. The rental company may require you to have an International Driving License if your current license is not in the same language as the rental country.

Only a few companies allow Provisional Drivers Licenses, which are subject to special insurance conditions and/or car rental surcharges. Provisional license holders are only allowed to rent certain types of vehicles, such as economy, compact and intermediate size cars. Generally SUV’s, minibuses and luxury or full-size cars are not allowed.

General Questions

When booking online with, your credit card details will be required to ensure that your reservation is confirmed. The amount paid is subject to the car rental companies “Terms & Conditions”. Most hire car companies will need full payment on booking, others may require a deposit with the balance payable when you pick up your hire vehicle. This amount will be the charge for the full rental period, plus any extra charges or taxes agreed.

Upon return of your car hire, you will then settle any extra costs with the credit card provided.

Renting a car can be tricky. You need to be able to make a series of choices like comparing costs, choosing the right car for you, which car rental company to go with, and even buying car insurance to cover you for the rental duration.

Here are some of the things you need to know before booking your first car rental:

  • Check if your driver’s license is valid. Your license needs to be current. If you don’t have a full driver’s license, check if the car company will allow you to rent a vehicle and if there are special requirements.
  • If your license is in a language that is different from the one that is used in the country of hire, you might also need to get an International Driving Permit (IDP) or have your original license translated by an authorised translator.
  • Look beyond the airport. Most car rental companies charge an extra fee for picking up and dropping off your car rental at the airport.
  • Check with your insurance company if they can cover your car rental. Insurance is very important when renting a car, but this can add up to the total cost. Some card companies may cover the damages you may incur on the rental car, so it is best to check before purchasing a third-party insurance.
  • Young drivers cost more. Most car rental companies require drivers to be at least 25 years old to be able to hire a car. Drivers 18 to 24 years old may be allowed to rent but they need to pay for a special insurance or a young drivers’ surcharge.
  • You may need to pay for extra drivers. Think about how many drivers you actually need on your trip before you sign everyone up!
  • Think about the duration of your rental. Some rental companies give a big discount if you’re renting a car for more than a week.
  • One-way rentals. Picking up and dropping the car off in different locations? Car rental companies may charge a one-way fee, depending on the length of the rental. Sometimes car hire companies need vehicles moved away from or to a different location. So if you are flexible in your itinerary, you may find cheaper rates if you reverse the direction of your car rental. Alternatively think about returning your car rental to the same location if possible.
  • Check your rental vehicle before taking off. You don’t want to pay for damages you didn’t cause.

Rental cars are like hotel rooms. You may be allowed to check in early at your hotel if there is an available room. Similarly, you may be allowed to pick up your rental car earlier than scheduled, if a vehicle that matches your booking is available.

Some car rental companies may charge you an extra fee, so it is always best to contact them if you plan on arriving earlier than scheduled.

Yes, it is possible to earn rewards or frequent flier miles when renting a car. For frequent flier miles, you need to check if the car rental company is a partner of the airline you want to earn points with.

Some major car rental companies also have their own rewards program that you can join to start earning points every time to book a rental with them.

Most rental car companies allow pets in their vehicles however there are a few rules that you need to follow. Pet policies vary by company, but the most common ones are:

  • Pets need to be crated or properly secured in pet car seats, kennels, etc.
  • The rental vehicle must be returned free of pet hair, odour and damage. You could get charged for a cleaning fee of up to $125.

Most rental companies do not allow towing on their vehicles. However, there are a very few companies that may have specific type of vehicles, like trucks, which can be used for towing.

Yes, always check your car prior to returning the keys against your rental agreement. If you notice any discrepancies you must inform the staff at the counter. They will then check the vehicle with you.

The rental car company can then check this against the previous rental report from the previous hire.

Always check with your branch if you intend to return your vehicle after their operating hours. It should be OK, as long as the branch allows it.

However be careful!

When returning outside office hours, remember that you are still responsible for the rental vehicle until it is checked by the branch on the next business day. Most times you will be all right. However if there is damage incurred in the intervening period, the driver will be liable.

Most rental car companies now offer both unlimited and limited mileage or kilometers however this varies from vehicle to vehicle and there may be restrictions. Some companies charge for additional mileage if the vehicle is driven outside the areas defined in their terms and conditions.

Other vehicles come with limited mileage or kilometers. In these cases there may be for instance a maximum of 100 kms per day allowance, with any extra kms driven, charged at a set rate per kilometer.  Please read the terms of your rental to see the price details.

Twenty-four-hour roadside assistance is included in most rental vehicles. Generally this is for mechanical failure of the vehicle only. Roadside assistance for such events as flat tyres, lost keys, empty fuel tank or road accidents will be liable as a charge to the rental company.

When doing a search on the Go4CarRental site, check the car rentals in the first screen, and any that include “24 hour Roadside Assistance” will be highlighted with a tick in the box immediately under “FREE benefits included with your rental”.

Best Deal

Looking for the best car rental deals can be tricky as most companies have very competitive rates. One of the most convenient ways to find a good deal is to find a website that lets you compare rental vehicles from different car rental companies. Local budget car rental companies often have cheaper rates, however if you would prefer a newer vehicle and probably more reliable vehicle from one of the major International brands such as Hertz, Europcar or Alamo you can expect to pay a little more. Then you need to consider if these savings are worth renting them, if you have better peace of mind with the more well-known car hire companies.

Here at, we endeavour to make your car hire experience an amazing one by living up to our goal to provide you with top quality service, a fantastic choice of vehicles and the lowest prices available at city and airport car rental locations around the world.

“The early bird catches the best car hire rate!”

Book your rental as far in advance as possible. Like airline tickets, car hire rates are very dynamic. The prices can change within a day and normally get more expensive the closer you get to your travel date.

Seasons also play a huge role in determining the rental rates, as with all products and services in the travel industry. If you’re planning to travel during the peak season, book a few months in advance to make sure there’s availability.

However, last minutes deals may also be possible. Shop around different car rental companies first to see who has the best rates. Search for the best deals around the world.

Accidents & Claims

Some car rental companies run credit checks as a way to determine liability and risk associated with renting a vehicle using a debit card.

With debit cards, rental companies run the risk of running into problems associated with insufficient customer funds. As you are already aware, you would need to have than enough funds to cover the cost of the rental plus extra fees in case you return the vehicle with damages or you forget to refuel your tank.

Check with your car rental company to see what their policy is for debit card holders.

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