What should I know about renting a car?

There are different methods for renting a car in Ontario. You can use car share services to rent temporarily, by the hour or car rental companies for days or weeks.

You can find out how to rent a car through car share services, in the What is car sharing? article.

For most car rental companies, you need to meet some requirements before you can rent a car. These requirements will vary depending on the company, but there are some general guidelines.

What are the requirements?

Valid Driver’s Licence - You need to have a valid class “G” driver’s licence to rent a car in Ontario. It must be valid for the entire duration of the rental period. If you only have a learner’s permit (a G1 or G2 licence), you will not be able to rent a car. If you have a driver’s licence from another country, you may still be able to rent a car.

Minimum Age - Most rental companies across Canada have a minimum driving age in order to rent a vehicle. In Ontario, the most common minimum age is between 20 to 23 years old. According to most major rental companies, there is usually an additional surcharge if you are below the age of 25 and there may be restrictions on renting luxury cars, minivans, or SUVs. The surcharge will depend on company policies and the type of rental car.

Good Driving Record - Maintaining a good driving record is important if you want to rent a car. Rental companies have different ways of screening for acceptable driving records.

Authorized Operators - Major rental companies mostly authorize a single driver to operate the vehicle. The driver is not required to be present in order to rent. Additional authorized operators can be added to the rental agreement with an extra fee per day.

Insurance - By law, the car you drive has to be insured. Most rental companies will offer you a liability waiver in case of damage during an accident, with an additional charge. If you have car insurance, you may already have coverage for damage to a vehicle you do not own. Some credit cards also provide insurance if you pay for the rental with the card. Be sure to check with your own car insurance and credit card policies before paying for coverage from a rental company.

Credit Card - Most rental companies require you to pay for their rental services by credit card, in case any damages occur during the rental period. They can also put ”holds” on your credit card for a certain amount of money while you rent the car. Debit cards and payment by cash are generally not accepted to rent, but some companies may allow you to use it as payment when returning the vehicle.
It is a good idea to talk to different rental companies about their requirements, insurance coverage policies, additional fees, vehicle options and contract details before you decide to go forward. To find a car rental company in your area, you can search online.

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    Last updated: September 6, 2016 4006132