Car Hire Knowhow

What is a rental agreement in car hire?

What is a rental agreement in car hire?

A rental agreement is the contract between you and the car hire company. It sets out the terms and conditions of the rental. You’ll sign it before they hand over the car keys to you.

When you’re keen to get on to the road as fast as possible, it’s tempting to simply sign what you’re given and not give the rental agreement a second thought. But it’s worth taking a few minutes to check what you’re signing, to avoid unexpected hassle down the road.

Not sure what to take with you when picking up your rental car? See What to take with you when you pick up your rental car.

Why do you have to sign a rental agreement?

You sign the rental agreement to record that you’ve read, understood and agreed to all the conditions of renting the car. The agreement will also explain the penalties you will face for breaching the conditions. 

Once you’ve signed the rental agreement, you’ve agreed to be liable for the car during your rental.

What does a rental agreement include?

Every rental company has its own particular terms and conditions in its rental agreements. And they will vary by which country you’re renting in too. So even if you’ve rented cars plenty of times before, check the contract before you sign.

These are usually covered in a rental agreement:

  • Hire car details
  • Rental period details
  • Mileage limits and fuel policy
  • Breakdown of rental fees, extra charges, deposits and terms of payment
  • Existing damage details
  • Insurance protection and liability waiver details
  • Breakdown recovery and emergency contact numbers

To find out more, see What am I agreeing to when I hire a car?

What if you’re in a hurry?

It can be tricky trying to read and digest the small print when the counter staff are expecting you to sign the agreement straight away. And there might be other customers waiting to be served behind you. To save yourself that stress, you can take a look at the terms and conditions of your rental car online ahead of time. Then you’ll know what you’re signing up for before you book, and you can check them before you travel. 

To find out more about rental documents, see Getting licences & Paperwork right.

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