25 October 2016Last updated

Features | People

Ask the expert: points to remember when renting a car

Renting a car is not a piece of cake, so keep in mind these helpful tips

Ahmed M Soliman
17 May 2016 | 10:42 am

I’m planning to travel to India later this month and I’d like to rent a car there. What should I keep in mind when doing so?

Renting a car is not a piece of cake, so keep in mind these helpful tips.

Insurance Many rent-a-car services offer costly insurance options as an add-on service along with their vehicles. However, major credit-card companies, if used for car rental, provide coverage to the car holder with no additional costs. Make sure you check. When you call your credit-card company, specifically ask what they cover. Other companies charge a refundable but hefty security deposit, which are at times as high as Rs30,000 (about Dh1,659) per car. It’s best to select a service that’s tailor-made to suit your needs as well as budget.

Taxes and surcharges Sales tax and VAT charges vary considerably from state to state. If you’re a frequent flyer who rents cars at airports, you can avoid expensive airport charges by renting a car online and scheduling a pick-up at the airport at a convenient time.

Rent-a-car companies pay an additional surcharge of 10 per cent to airport authorities. This is passed on to the customer hiring cars.

Fuel surcharge Certain rent-a-car services stipulate that the customer must return the car with a full tank. Failure to do so results in hefty fuel surcharge. Some companies include the fuel bill by offering free kilometres for every hour you rent. Calculate the distance you expect to travel and rent accordingly. You will be amazed to find the amount you could save by just renting the car a little longer than you actually need to.

Penalties Exorbitant late fees are a part of car rental. Ensure that you return the car on time to avoid paying up extra.

Rental services follow strict anti-smoking policies and a few have restrictions on eating inside the car as well. Make sure you check all the rules.

Licences All UAE travellers intending to drive in a foreign country are advised to obtain an International Driving Permit from the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE.

A UAE resident can apply for the one-year international driving permit in Dubai, provided the resident holds a valid Dubai driving licence.

On the note of further documentation, you’ll definitely need a valid credit card. Check the car for paperwork such as registration certificate, and also note down the odometer reading. Check if the tank is full and if there are any signs of damage on the vehicle – including tiny scratches – and point these out to the company. You’re responsible for any damage to the car, so make sure that any existing problems are thoroughly documented.

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Ahmed M Soliman

Ahmed M Soliman

is a leading travel expert in the region.