Renting A Car in Australia Explained: A Complete Guide

Students want to know what documentation do they need to hire a car in Australia, plus how to rent a car with an international drivers licence and a credit card.


Renting a car is a cost-effective and excellent way to make your travel experience more comfortable and convenient. If you are travelling to Australia, renting or hiring a car can make getting around the city a lot easier, particularly when you are residing in an area where public transport is less frequent.


You will also find that renting a car gives you more flexibility, freedom, and a feeling of security, enabling you to work night shifts or plan road trips to discover various parts of Australia.


Here, we have a complete guide to help you learn about the basics of car rental in Australia. This guide will provide you with various tips on how to rent a car in Australia. Also, it will introduce you to Australia’s traffic and rental laws to book and pick your car hire.


1. How To Rent A Car In Australia?


If you choose to rent a car in Australia, the process is simple. All you need to do is follow the steps below, and you will be ready to hire a car:



Step 1: Make Arrangements in Advance


It is always better to book your car online before you arrive in Australia rather than waiting to go to an enterprise car rental in Australia. To rent a car on the phone or online through a rental company is usually less expensive.


Also, if you wait to rent a car until you arrive, you may find out that the rental companies have sold out the cars of your choice and there is no vehicle left for you that is within your price range. So try to make all the arrangements ahead of time to avoid high rental rates.



Step 2: Look For A Car Rental Company


There are several car rental companies out there through which you can rent a car either online, in-person, or via phone. Most well-known car rental companies have their offices at the airport or Australian cities from where you can pick your car.


Some of the popular local car hire companies include Sixt, Budget, Thrifty car rental Australia, and more. The Australian Travel and Tourism Network can also help you to find one of the companies, depending on the place where you are planning to rent the car.


Here are a few things you should consider when finding a car rental company:


  • If you are searching for the best value on car insurance or hiring a car, you first need to check the rental prices for different companies in different locations. Also, keep in mind that hiring a vehicle in the city is a more cheap car rental in Australia option than renting it at the airport.


  • The major car rental companies have their own websites with a portal to make reservations. You can also use travel websites like Kayak or Expedia to compare rates of different car hire companies on one platform.


  • If you want more details on car rental companies and their policies, you can see travel reviews of people who have rented cars in Australia. Tripadvisor is the best place to find reviews — it will give you an overview of which company has the best prices and policies.



Step 3: Compare Offers


Once you have explored some of the car rental companies, compare their policies and prices. Remember, prices may significantly vary from one company to the other, so it is recommended to consider various other options.


Make sure that you are aware of the specific terms and conditions of the rental contract, which includes information about administrative fees, insurance policies, and mileage limits.



2. What Is The Minimum Age Requirement For Renting A Car in Australia?


The rules vary between different car rental companies in Australia. Generally, most companies require you to be at least 21 years of age to rent a car. A few companies may charge you extra fees if you are under 25 years of age.


And some even have a maximum age limit of 75 years. Additionally, you need to hold a driver’s license for a minimum of one year or an open license to hire a car in Australia.


3. Can You Rent a Car In Australia With a US or UK License?


Most car companies in Australia accept all English language driving licenses. However, if your license is not in English, but in some other language, then you will require an international driving permit.


Remember, car rental companies in Australia do not approve photocopies of learner licenses or provisional licenses.


4. Do You Need Auto Insurance To Rent a Car?


Yes, you need rental car insurance in Australia to rent a car. Usually, most companies require you to have two policies:


  • Theft Insurance: It covers the loss of the vehicle, but it does not cover any of your belongings inside the car. For that, you can opt for other policies for personal effects and personal accidents. You can get more information on this from your car rental company.


  • Collision Damage Waiver: It covers you in case of an accident or any kind of damage to your rental car. The cost of the waver entirely depends on the type of rental car you hire and the city where you will drive the vehicle. Generally, it may cost you between $10 to $30 per day.


Not having rental car insurance in Australia may turn out to be extremely risky and expensive, particularly if you meet with an accident or a collision.


If you are responsible for the accident, you need to pay the car rental company full cost of damage, and you also have to cover the cost of any other property or vehicle damage during the collision. Additionally, if someone gets hurt, you need to pay for medical expenses as well.



5. How Much Do You Need To Pay When Renting A Car in Australia?


The car rental rates depend on the supplier you hire your car from and on the time of the year. It may also vary based on the type of car you choose to hire and the location from where you rent your vehicle.


For instance, if you have booked a car hire in Brisbane airport, it will involve an extra daily surcharge.


6. Where To Pick Up Your Rental Car?

There are many places where you can pick up your rental car. Majority of the rental companies in Australia have depots in metropolitan cities like Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.


However, if you are flying to Australia, you can pick up your car from the airport. It is highly recommended that you organise your rental car insurance and book your car hire before arriving in Australia.


Hiring a vehicle ahead of arrival is always better as it allows you to get the best car rental Australia deals at a cheaper rate.


7. Where To Drop Off Your Rental Vehicle?


Before dropping off your vehicle, you need to schedule and time with the car hire company. If required, you can also extend the date for dropping off the rental car. Additionally, it is necessary to leave the vehicle at the same location from where you picked it up.


You can even drop it off at a different destination, including another state. This is called a one-way rental. So for instance, if you book a car hire in Sydney, you can return it in car hire Melbourne without any inconvenience.


However, there is one condition; you must drop off the vehicle in the agency mentioned in your car rental agreement.


The fee for one way car rental in Australia mostly depends on the destination where you want to return your vehicle. Before you choose where to end your trip, it is highly suggested that you compare the drop off rates in different cities.


You may end up paying a less one-way fee by just driving an extra hour and dropping off your car in a different city.


8. What Happens if You Get A Speeding Ticket When Driving A Rental Car in Australia?


In Australia, you will see speed cameras installed everywhere, so you always need to stay alert when it comes to speed. If you get caught on camera, your speeding fine will be sent directly to your car rental company.


There are different speed limits in Australia. Therefore, always keep your eyes on the signs because speeds can change immediately, depending on the roadworks, road conditions, etc.


During school hours, the speed limit is 40 km/hr in school zones and in South Australia, it’s 25 km/hr. Besides, cities and other developed areas have a speed of 50 to 60 km/hr.



9. Hidden Car Rental Charges


You need to be aware of the several hidden car hire fees that can be added to the total cost of your rental bill. Some of these rental charges include the following:


  • Additional Mileage: A few car rental companies set a limit on how many kilometres you can travel each day. So be sure to read the terms and conditions properly before renting a car.


  • Refuelling Fee: If you do not return the car with a full tank or you did not choose a pre-paid option, then you will be charged for the premium fuel price.


  • Late Pick-up: If you run late to pick-up your car, you might be charged for the late pick-up fees. Hence, if you are flying to Australia, make sure to fill in the correct flight details when you rent your car. If you are picking up the vehicle directly from the agency, make sure to reach on time and if there are any delays, inform them in advance.


  • Late Drop-off: Most car rental companies in Australia start charging an hourly rate after 30 minutes if you do not return the car on time. Therefore, always ensure that you are not running late to drop-off your vehicle.


  • Young Driver Fee: Usually, student car rental in Australia may lead to extra charges. So if you are under the age of 25, you may be charged an additional fee by your car rental company.


  • Administrative Fee: It is common for rental car firms in Australia to charge you an administrative fee of up to 3.5%. So, you can hardly do anything about it.


10. Common Requirements For Renting A Car in Australia


  • You need to hold a valid driver’s license, either international or Australian.

  • You must be 21 years of age. 

  • You require auto insurance to rent a car, so make sure you are covered.

  • When you pick up the vehicle, you pay a damage deposit in advance.

  • You are not allowed to take your rental car on ferries. 

  • When paying for your rental at pick-up, you should have your credit card.



11. Consider The Basic Road Rules For Driving In Australia



  • In Australia, you drive on the left side of the road and the steering wheel is on the right side. It can be a little tricky for people who belong to the United States or other countries where the rule is to drive on the right side. Before arriving in Australia, you can watch some YouTube videos to get some tips on driving. And once you arrive in Australia, you should start by driving on smaller roads to get comfortable with the change.


  • Throughout Australia, the blood alcohol limit is .05%. Provisional drivers or learners cannot have alcohol running in their system while driving. Remember, there is no tolerance for drunk driving in Australia.


  • At a red signal, making a left-hand turn is considered illegal unless it is signposted.


  • If you break any road rules in Australia, a notice will be sent to your car hire company.



12. Top Tips When Renting a Car in Australia


  • Take a close look at your rental terms and conditions and do not hesitate to ask any questions when you pick up your car. 

  • Make sure you carefully inspect the vehicle before you leave and check for any damage, no matter how minor. Examine your car in front of the sales assistant.

  • Take photos of the car at the beginning and end of the hire. 

  • Double-check to confirm that the vehicle you are picking up is the same model you booked. If not, you will be upgraded.

  • If you are planning to travel to big cities in your rental car, conduct research before to see how you can pay the tolls.

  • If you have an accident or the car breaks down during the rental, follow the procedures of the rental company. Do not repair the vehicle without approval.



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