A guide to picking up your rental

The ultimate guide to picking up your rental

Picking-up your car rental can often be a painstakingly long process that's overcomplicated by insurance policies, required documents and deposits. But the more you know before arriving at the counter, the easier your pick up process will be.

Where do I collect my car?

The first thing to know is where to go to collect your car. If you're arriving at the airport, are the rental offices located in the terminal or do you have to take a shuttle to get there? Look up exactly where you're going before you arrive and keep the car hire company's number handy (remember to include the country code!) in case you can't locate the office.

What documents do I need with me when picking up my rental car?

Once you arrive at the car hire desk, you'll be asked for the necessary documents. This almost always includes your booking voucher, driver's licence and additional proof of ID. Your booking voucher should have all the details of your rental, such as the booking number, address and phone number of the specific car hire branch you're collecting the car from. Proof of ID may include your passport or another piece of ID that includes your address.

If you're a UK resident hiring a car in the UK, you will also need to have a valid DVLA licence check code with you. You can find out more about check codes here. Depending on where you're from and where you're travelling to, you may also need to have an international driving permit.

The money

In addition to having your necessary documents, the main driver will also need to have a credit card with their name on it at the ready. The credit card is required for the security deposit, which will be blocked during the rental and, so long as the car is returned damage-free, released back afterwards. The deposit can be quite large, so make sure your card has sufficient funds. Almost all car hire suppliers require a credit card and not a debit card – so if you don't have a credit card in your name, you may have to get somebody else to hire on your behalf. For more info on this, check out our guide to why credit cards are required for car rental deposits, here.

The fine print, check it twice

Even if you've already read the agency's rental policy before arriving at the counter, it's a good idea to read it all through again. Ask any questions you have about the Terms and Conditions and remember that even if you've rented from the supplier before, their fine print may change depending on location. Key things to take a look at include: the fuel policy, mileage limit, border crossings, and what happens if the car breaks down. You may feel pressured to just glance through the policy, but don't! If you haven't read all the details and yet sign the agreement, you could be in for an unpleasant surprise on return.

Car hire charges to watch out for

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