5 tips on renting a car abroad worry free
Renting a car abroad can be complicated and costly but it doesn’t have to be. Here are 5 tips to make this an enjoyable and affordable experience.
1. Be informed
Do your homework on the driving laws and practices in the country you’ll be visiting:
- What’s the minimum age to rent a vehicle?
- What’s the minimum age to drive a vehicle? This information will be useful if you decide to add a second driver.
Is the Canadian driver's licence valid there? If not, you’ll need an International Driver’s Licence.
Are the laws — speed limits, turning right at a red light, etc. — the same as in Canada?
2. Think insurance
For peace of mind, contact your insurance company to inform them that you will be renting a car abroad.
Make sure that...
- You are sufficiently covered for material damages when driving a rented car
- You have enough civil liability insurance (C$2 million). You wouldn’t want to be held responsible for damages caused to another vehicle or for injury to another person.
Do you have travel insurance? Make sure it covers collision, fire, theft or vandalism to rental cars.
Will you be paying the rental with a credit card? Your card may offer some form of coverage against damages.
If you don’t have the necessary insurance coverage, you should get it before leaving. It will cost you less to purchase it from an insurer than from the car rental company.
3. Select a car that meets your needs
Will you be travelling light (i.e., with very few suitcases)? You probably won’t need an intermediate car or full-size SUV. A mini or more fuel-efficient model should do the trick. Easier to drive and cheaper to rent!
4. Compare before choosing
Check out several car rental companies before making your decision. Prices will vary from one company to the next.
Also, consult them regularly because prices fluctuate over time.
Find the ANSWERS to all your questions BEFORE renting:
- What does the rental price include?
- Are there any other charges to pay?
- How much does renting a GPS cost?
- What insurance coverage is included in the price?
- Can you drop the vehicle off in a different location than where you rented it? If so, this may cost extra. Find out!
- Will you able to use a transponder to pay tolls?
Regular gas or diesel? Check the prices before making your decision. That way, you can estimate the cost based on the distance you’ll be driving and the vehicle’s fuel efficiency (km/litre).
5. Respect your contract
Getting your rental car should be very easy when you’ve done your homework before leaving.
Have a paper copy of your contract on you and a digital version in your phone. This will definitely help you in the event of an issue with the rental company.
The rental company may try to offer you an upgrade (i.e., a larger, more equipped vehicle). Don’t accept this unless the new vehicle suits your needs and there are no additional charges.