Your dream vacation is about to start and your traveling plans are in place. If you have decided to forgo the public transport and taxi route, you will need to hire a car while you are there. It is not as common as opting for the public transport route, but it can end up being cheaper. Especially, if you have a lengthy stay.
So, what are the things you need to know about hiring a car while in another country? How do you ensure the car is properly covered? We take a look at answering some of these questions below:
Firstly, you will need to hold a valid driving license. If you are visiting the country for a short to medium length of time, your South African license will be accepted. You will have, however, have held the license for over 12 months. It will also need to permit you to drive the group of car that you are hiring. Should your driving license not be in English, you will need to obtain an international driving license. Both licenses will need to be presented together.
Make sure that you are, at all times carrying a valid passport as you will need to present this, together with your license. It is important to note here that a photocopy of your license or passport will never be accepted. So make sure you have both originals.
In the USA, many car rental companies will not allow a person under the age of 25 to rent a car. Make sure to check before you leave which companies you can approach if you are a younger driver.
Insuring The Rental
All rental cars come with standard insurance cover at the time of hiring the car. The insurance is a standard third party cover which indemnifies the driver. What you need to keep in mind, however, is the fact that damage caused to the vehicle through driver negligence is not covered. So, if you hit a bridge, a parked car, a barrier, or an overhead object, it will not be covered. This will be an additional option for you to choose to take. Should you not take the collision damage waiver, you will be charged the agreed upon excess to cover the damages.
In the case of the US, insurance is rather offered at a separate charge. Insurance is sold as a separate entity and the agents usually get commission off the sale. Insurance prices in the US can be exorbitant. But, it is too risky to waive any kind of insurance. Rather, prior to leaving, go through a few websites and try out different options. Rather than just arriving at a rental desk in the country. In this way, you could find a rental fee with insurance built in. You can also call your credit card company and find out whether they will cover the insurance of your rental in the US. If you are spending a lot of time in the USA, another option could be non-owner car insurance, which gives you liability coverage
Where Could Extra Costs Come In?
Age could be a big factor in you paying more for insuring your rental car. If you are under 21 and renting a car in another country, you could end up paying more for the insurance costs. In the same way, of you are over 70, you will also be seen as a larger risk, and could be slapped with additional insurance costs. Should your trip be quite long, you could look into leasing a car. You will need to ensure, however, that this is a more viable option.
Additional insurance will also be factored in should you be driving the car over borders. Should you be visiting Europe, and doing a multi-country tour, you will need to inform the agency. The insurance might be increased dependent on the country you will be visiting. This could be the case if you are visiting an eastern or southeastern European region. Especially one that still has closed borders. Countries like Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, or Montenegro could spike your insurance. In this case, you might need to take a cheaper car option due to the high cases of theft. You might also be asked for the proof of insurance once entering the country. So have this handy at all times.
State / Country Dependent
In the US, many insurance companies will not rent to persons under the age of 25. The insurance will also be excessively higher to rent a car. In the case of Europe, you will be charged extra should you be doing cross-state travel. Bear in mind, each state in the US has very different laws on insurance. The best thing would be to do your research on each state and their requirements.
Before renting, make sure you are absolutely aware of the cost that you will be paying. Also find out what is required by each state. Will you need the personal accident insurance (PAI) or the collision damage waiver (CDW/LDW) Sometimes the personal effects protection (PEP) may be included in your travel insurance. Should you not have signed for the collision damage waiver, you could be held responsible for all damage to the car. Even if it is just a minor scratch.