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Can I rent a car if I don't have a credit card?

No, unfortunately – in almost all cases you will need a credit card.

The car hire company will put a deposit on the main driver’s credit card before they hand over the keys to the rental car. Without a credit card, they can’t take the deposit, so won’t hand over the keys.

You can find out if you need a credit card in a car’s terms and conditions, under ‘What you need at pick-up’.

What do I need to take to collect the car?

The main driver needs three things (all held in their own name):

  1. A credit card with enough credit to cover the deposit for the car
  2. Full driving licence, that they’ve held for at least two years
  3. Rentalcars.com Rental Voucher, or eVoucher on our app

Additional drivers will need their full driving licence.

You’ll pay for any additional drivers and extra equipment when you arrive to pick up the car – so it’s worth bearing those costs in mind when thinking about your credit card. You’ll find the deposit amount in the terms and conditions of the car and on your rental voucher.

What is an excess?

The excess is the amount you’re liable for if the car is damaged (when it’s covered under Collision Damage Waiver) or stolen (when it’s covered under Theft Protection).

You can find the details of the excess amounts for your booking in the terms and conditions and on your rental voucher.

Why do I need to sign a rental agreement at the counter?

Because the contract you sign sets out what you’re agreeing to when you rent the car from the car hire company.

Rentalcars.com acts as a broker or agent. We connect customers with car hire companies, and take bookings. The rental agreement you sign will vary by car hire company and the country you’re renting in.

As with any other contract you sign, it’s always worth making sure you’re aware of and comfortable with what you’re agreeing to.

Where can I find out about my rental car’s insurance or cover?

You will find the cover your hire car comes with listed in the terms and conditions. You can see these on the search results under 'Ts & Cs', and on the car under 'Important information' you’ll find 'Full terms and conditions' at the bottom.

Any cover that comes as standard is provided by the car hire company. You’ll find the details of this cover in the rental agreement you’ll sign when you pick up the car.

What insurances does my rental car have?

All rentals must have Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection. Depending on where you’re hiring these will be:

  • Included with the car when you book it, or
  • Provided by the main driver’s credit card company, or
  • Bought from the hire car company when you go to pick up the car

You can find the details of what is included with your booking in the terms and conditions and also on your rental voucher.

What is a Collision Damage Waiver or CDW?

Collision Damage Waiver is a type of cover for hire cars. It limits the driver’s liability if the rental car is damaged.

This means that the hire car company will not charge you the whole cost if the car gets damaged while you have it.

There is almost always an excess, which means you will pay the first part of any repair costs.

The specifics of what Collision Damage Waiver includes depends on the car hire company and where you hire the car.

But it does not usually include windscreens, tyres, undercarriage, replacement locks, replacement keys and towing charges. This means that if these parts of the car are damaged, or you are towed, you will be liable for the whole cost, not just an excess.

Also Collision Damage Waiver only works if you stick to the terms of the rental agreement (which you’ll sign when you collect the car). This means that if (for example) you drive drunk or park somewhere risky and the car is damaged, you will be liable for the whole cost of repair, not just an excess.

What is Theft Protection or TP?

Theft Protection is a type of cover for hire cars. It limits the driver’s liability if the rental car is stolen.

This means that the hire car company will not charge you the whole cost if the car gets stolen while you have it.

There is almost always an excess, which means you will pay the first part of any repair or replacement costs.

The specifics of what Theft Protection includes depends on the car hire company and where you hire the car.

Theft Protection only works if you stick to the terms of the rental agreement (which you’ll sign when you collect the car). This means that if (for example) you leave the car unlocked and it is stolen, you will be liable for the whole cost of repair or replacement, not just an excess.

How can I avoid additional charges when I drop off the car?

By returning the car on time, with the right amount of fuel and without any new damage or excessive dirt.

When you drop the car off, the car hire company could charge you for:

  • a whole additional day if you return the car late
  • refuelling, plus a charge for doing it
  • having to clean the car if it’s extremely dirty
  • new damage
What if I want to take the hire car to another country?

If you want to pick up your car in one country and drop it in another, your search results will show you cars you can do that with.

If you’re planning to cross any borders during your trip, bear in mind:

  1. You may have to pay more

    There are often extra fees, taxes or additional cover you’ll pay at the car hire counter.

  2. It may not be possible

    Depending on where you’re hiring, you may not be able to take your car to another country.

Please contact us if you want to take your hire car into a different country during your trip, and we’ll talk you through your options.

What is a fuel policy?

The fuel policy for your rental explains how you will pay for fuel for your hire car, and whether you need to fill the tank before you return the car.

You can see each car’s fuel policy clearly by its description. Most cars come with a 'FULL TO FULL' fuel policy, which is the best value option. The tank will be full when you collect the car, and you return it full.

What shall I do if the car breaks down, or if I am involved in an accident?

In case the car breaks down, call the car hire company’s emergency number straight away. You’ll find the number on the rental agreement you signed when you picked up the car.

The car hire company will let you know what to do next.

Keep any paperwork you’re given safe.

If you have an accident, call the car hire company’s emergency number. You’ll find the number on the rental agreement you signed when you picked up the car.

Ring the police to report the accident.

The car hire company will ask you to fill out an accident report form later.

How do I amend my booking / add my flight number?

Choose ‘Manage booking’ on our homepage. You can change the length of your trip, type of car you want and add details such as your flight number.

We don’t charge any admin fees for changing your booking. But if you change your booking in any way, it’s likely that the price will change.

It’s a good idea to make any changes as early as possible. We’ll do our best, but sometimes the car hire companies we work with aren’t able to accommodate changes made at short notice before your trip.

What payment methods does Rentalcars.com accept?

You can book your car with us using most credit and debit cards. We’ll let you know what we accept while you’re booking.

But it’s important for us to let you know that the main driver will need a credit card with them to pick up the car. This is because the hire car company need to put a deposit on the main driver’s credit card.

You can pay for your rental on our site however suits you best – you don’t have to use the same card to book your rental car and pay the deposit.

How do I cancel my booking?

To cancel your booking, go to 'Manage booking', enter your details and cancel your booking.

If you need to change your plans but still want to hire a car, you can go to 'Manage booking' and amend your booking instead.

What is the cancellation policy?

If you cancel MORE than 48 hours before your rental is due to start, you will receive a full refund. However, if you paid a deposit when you booked the car, you will not get that deposit back.

If you cancel LESS than 48 hours before your rental is due to start, you will receive a refund, but minus the price of three days’ rental.

If you paid a deposit when you booked the car, you will receive a refund minus either the deposit or the cost of three days’ rental – whichever is bigger.

If your booking was for less than three days, you will receive no refund. This also applies if you call us to cancel your booking from the car hire counter.

If you cancel AFTER your rental is due to start, you will receive no refund.

If you do not pick up the car (usually called a ‘no-show’), you will receive no refund.

Car hire companies call it a ‘no-show’ when you do not pick the car up because (for example): You do not arrive at the arranged date and time, you do not have the right documents, or you’re not eligible for the rental, or the main driver does not have a credit card with enough credit for the deposit.

Some car hire companies also have their own cancellation policy, which you’ll find in the terms & conditions of your booking.

Do I have to pay for additional drivers?

You will pay the car hire company for any additional drivers you’d like, when you pick up the car.

You can choose to add an additional driver when you first book your car, or go to 'Manage booking' and Amend your booking to add on another driver.

What are the driving licence requirements?

You will need to take your driving licence with you to pick up your hire car.

Hire car companies expect drivers to have held their full licence for at least two years. Provisional licences aren’t accepted.

When you hire a car abroad in some countries you will need an International Driving Permit, as well as your own driving licence. The Rental Voucher we will send you once you book will let you know if you need one for your trip.

If you have a UK driving licence and you’re hiring in the UK, you may be asked for a code at the car hire counter. You can find out more here.

How do I pay for extra equipment?

You’ll pay the car hire company for any extras you’d like – such as a child car seat, GPS or snow chains – when you pick up the car.

If you’d like to add extra equipment after you’ve made your booking, you can go to 'Manage booking' and choose 'Amend' to add what you’d like.

Because the car hire company will take payment directly for the extras you choose, unfortunately we can’t guarantee that they’ll always have what you need.

There are some cars on which we can take payment for extras, and therefore we can guarantee you will get them. We’ll show you if that is available on your rental car. We’re working on this option – we know it can make things easier, so we’re hoping to expand it.

Will I have to leave a deposit when I pick my car up?

Yes. At pick-up, the counter staff will need you to leave a deposit in case the car is damaged or stolen during your rental. The deposit amount will be temporarily blocked on / taken from the main driver’s credit / debit card and held for the duration of the rental.

As long as you bring the car back undamaged at the end of the rental, the money will be unblocked / returned within seven working days.

If your main driver’s card does not have enough available funds for the deposit, you may not be allowed to take the car – or the counter staff may insist you buy additional cover from them.

This is standard practice with all car hire companies.

What additional cover can I buy from the counter staff?

Different car hire companies can sell different kinds of additional cover, but the most common is Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW). Depending on the company, an SCDW policy can:

  • Cover parts of the car that aren’t covered by the company’s standard Collision Damage Waiver policy (windows and tyres, for example)
  • Reduce the excess – reducing the maximum you would have to pay if you damaged something covered by the car’s protection
  • Set the excess to zero, so you wouldn’t have to leave a deposit at pick-up – or pay anything for damage to something covered by the car’s protection.
Will I have to pay additional charges at the rental counter?

Yes, sometimes you will.

You’ll pay your car’s deposit and for any extras or additional drivers you’d like.

Other charges will depend on where you’re hiring, the age of the driver(s), and what your trip involves. Here are some examples of charges that can come up:

Government rules and taxes, location charges, one way fee, fuel charge, credit card charge, winterisation, young driver, senior driver, out of hours, roadside assistance, mileage and cross-border fee.

You can check your car’s terms and conditions for more details.

What should I do when I get to my car?
  1. Check the car

    Walk around the car and look inside, checking for damage. If you find any, ask the car hire company agent to mark it on your rental agreement. Take pictures so you can be confident about what the car was like to start with.

  2. Check what fuel it takes

    Open the cap to see if it’s petrol or diesel. Petrol might have ‘95’ on it. If you’re not sure which fuel the car takes, ask the agent before you leave.

  3. Look at the dashboard

    Rental car fuel is usually provided on a ‘full to full’ basis, which means you start with a full tank and you return the car with a full tank. Turn the key to check the tank is full (and the headlights work).

  4. Sort your route

    If your car has GPS, it’s worth setting it to your language before you head off.

  5. Take a moment

    Once everyone’s safely strapped in, take a minute to adjust the mirrors, move the seat, find reverse and check where the indicators are.

  6. Look out for a petrol station

    When you’re heading off, look out for a petrol station. It'll save any last-minute stress about filling the car up before you take it back.

How do I request an invoice or receipt?

You can get a receipt or an invoice at any time by going to 'Manage booking' and choosing receipt.

If you need any changes made to your invoice or receipt, please contact us.

What if I have queries after my rental is finished?

Please choose the Post-rental section below, enter your booking details, fill in the form and we’ll take a look.

What additional cover can Rentalcars.com provide?

We offer Rentalcars.com Full Protection, which will refund you if your rental car gets damaged or stolen and the car hire company keeps your deposit or charges you extra for damage.

Full Protection covers the deposit you’ll leave when you pick up the car, the excess, all exterior parts of the car that aren’t covered by the basic cover your rental car comes with, and also any towing or admin fees you may be charged. Find out more about Rentalcars.com Full Protection

What if I haven’t received any confirmation for my booking?

We confirm most bookings straight away, and almost all within 48 hours. If we haven’t confirmed your booking within 48 hours, we will then contact you to explain why.

You can check the status of you booking after your booking has been confirmed at 'Manage booking'.

If you put down a deposit when you originally booked, you’ll receive your Rental Voucher once you pay for your rental car booking in full.

Can I get a refund if I returned my car early?

Unfortunately we can’t refund you for any part of your hire that you don’t use.

This is because we will have committed to the whole booking on your behalf, and the car hire company will have been expecting the car to be used for the whole period. They will have planned their cars and parking needs around the original booking.

Why have I been charged by the car hire company?

There are a few reasons why the car hire company might charge you direct.

When you pick up the car, you will pay the car hire company for additional drivers and extra equipment.

If you choose to buy Rentalcars.com Full Protection, we will provide the cover and you will pay us when you book. If you choose to buy cover at the counter when you pick up the car, the hire car company will provide the cover and you will pay them direct. Hire car cover is complicated and we know it can be confusing. Find out more about Rentalcars.com Full Protection.

After your hire, the car hire company may charge you for refuelling, parking tickets, fines or damage to the vehicle.

They should list any charges on the paperwork they give you (although some fines and parking tickets might arrive later).

If you don’t understand the paperwork you’ve been given, or you’re not sure why you’ve been charged, please get in touch on the [Post rental] section below and we can take a look.

What if I want to pick up or drop off my rental car outside working hours?

We’ll ask you when you’d like to pick up and drop off your rental car when you search for a car. Then we’ll show you the cars that are available at the times you need. If there aren’t any, we’ll suggest options that most closely match what you’d like.

If your plans change after you book, you can change your pick-up and drop-off times at Manage booking and we’ll show you what’s available at your new times.

Some car hire companies offer an out-of-hours service in some locations, but will charge extra for it. Other car hire companies and locations aren’t able to offer an out-of-hours service.

If there’s any issue with the out-of-hours service on your booking, we’ll contact you.

What happens if my flight is delayed or cancelled?

If you added your flight details to your booking, the hire car company will be able to track your flight and may hold the car for you for up to an hour.

If your flight is delayed and you did not add your flight details to your booking, please ring us using the phone number on your Rental Voucher as soon as possible.

Flight delays and cancellations are out of our control, so unfortunately Rentalcars.com cannot take any responsibility for any problems or costs caused by them.

How do I create an Account?

Go to Sign in on our site and choose Create an account.

All you need to create an account is an email address and a password. We’ll then send you an email to verify your account.

Once your account is set up, you can log in and keep track of all your bookings.

Manage Booking

Confirm a quote – or view, amend or cancel a booking.