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How to Rent a Car in Canada

Couple hiring a car in the Car Rental company

There are a lot of beautiful destinations in Canada connected by thousands of kilometers of road. A rental car is the best way to explore this vast country and discover hidden gems. If you're new to renting a car, here is a basic guide to finding the perfect vehicle so you can hit the highway.

Reserve your rental car

Man using his mobile phone to search for cheap car rental rates

Simply use our search form above to search for a car rental in Canada. You can check our location pages for tips on what to do and when to visit certain areas. Simply specify the location you would like to pick up and drop off the car, the dates you will need it and the age of the driver. Our easy-to-use comparison system will allow you to compare rates from top suppliers in Canada like Avis, Thrifty, Budget, Alamo, Dollar, Hertz and Enterprise. When you have found a car to suit your requirements, simply fill in all your details to reserve it, and receive an instant confirmation email.

Prepare to pick up your car at the depot

You must have a valid driver's license to be able to rent a car in Canada. You will not be allowed to drive if you have a learner's permit. If you are travelling to Canada from another country, check to see if you need an International Driver's Permit. You will need to present the permit along with a valid license issued by your home country. You will also need to bring a credit card in your name.

Commonly drivers must be aged over 21 to rent a car, but this can differ between provinces. For drivers under 25 a daily surcharge will apply. The surcharge still applies if anyone under 25 is listed as an additional driver.

Decide what extras you need

Whether you are using your own personal insurance, third party insurance or your rental company's excess reduction products. It is important to know what you are covered for and what is excluded from your policy. Your insurance may not cover you if you are renting a prestige vehicle.

At the rental counter you can also pay for optional extras like prepaid fuel tank, GPS, and child seats. Keep in mind some of these extras you will need to have requested in your initial booking. Payment for these extras will be taken at the counter.

Check carefully for damage

Man checking a additonal damage in his car rental vehicle

Before you take the vehicle you will be given a sheet that shows all the existing damage marked on the car. Make sure to inspect the car carefully yourself, and inform staff if you find any additional damage that is not marked on the sheet. It is also a good idea to take photos to avoid any disputes when you return the car.

Drive your rental car on permitted roads only

Make sure you are familiar with the terms and conditions of your rental, and do not drive to any restricted areas. For example, most rental cars are not able to be taken off sealed roads. If you have a mileage limit, take care to stay within it or you will be charged extra.

Return your vehicle at the specified time

Your booking confirmation will specify a time that you must return your car by. Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to drive to the depot as you may be charged for an additional day if you are late returning the vehicle. If you are going to be late, it is a good idea to give the rental company a call and let them know when you will be arriving.

Fill up the car before you return it as you could face extra charges if you return the car without a full tank. When you return the car, an agent will check the car for additional damage, and you will pay any extra charges for mileage or damage.