6 Tips for Renting a Car in Australia
Planning on taking a trip to Australia? Renting a car (or, as the locals say, “hiring a car”) is the perfect way to get around the outback. However, the car renting process may be much different than what you’re familiar with. Here are a few tips for hiring a car while in Australia.
While staying in the land Down Under, you’ll need to consider fees, duties, taxes, levies, charges, and laws associated with finding and renting a car in Australia.
1. Book in Advance
Whether you’re renting your car online or by phone, you need to book your car in advance to ensure you have one when you touch down. There’s no guarantee that a car will be available to rent, especially if you hire one from the airport, so book as early as possible.
In Australia, you’ll find a wide variety of rental brands, including Avis, East Coast, Budget, Enterprise, Hertz, Europcar, and Thrifty. You can also search for companies on Google.
2. Make Sure You’re Insured
Car rental companies usually have blanket insurance policies that cover their vehicles. However, if your car is lost, stolen, or damaged in a crash, you’ll have to pay extra fees, ranging between $3,000-$9000 USD. If you injured anyone during the accident, you’ll be charged more.
If you want to ensure you have comprehensive coverage, which covers repairs, accidents, malicious damage, fire, theft, hail, and third-party damage, compare car insurance beforehand.
3. Age Determines Cost
If you’re from the United States, you already know that it’s almost impossible to rent a car if you’re under the age of 25. In Australia, you’ll run into a similar problem, but companies like Alamo, East Coast, and Keddy allow anyone over 21 to rent with them for an extra fee.
The under 25 car rental fee per day ranges from $8-$30 AUD. If you have an AAA membership, you can likely waive the Young Rental Fee charge or at least save $25-$35 AUD a day.
4. Inspect the Car Before Renting
Before renting your vehicle, read the contract's terms and conditions, as there may be hidden fees that weren’t explained beforehand. While you’re at it, inspect the car carefully in the presence of a sales assistant so that all existing damage, no matter how minor, is documented.
Take photographs at the beginning and end of the hire. Make sure they’re time-stamped and, if possible, ask the sales assistant to take photos as well. Otherwise, you may be charged extra.
5. Fill up Your Gas Tank
Unless you’re in a serious rush to get to the airport, you should always bring your vehicle back with a full tank of gas unless the rental contract tells you otherwise. Most rental companies charge you by the liter to fill up the tank themselves; that’s a 300% mark-up.
Try to fill up your tank at a gas station close to the drop-off point. Rental companies will charge you as much as they can get away with, so it’s best to avoid this situation entirely.
6. Return Car During Business Hours
To avoid having to pay for someone else's misdeeds, try to return your car during business hours. If you’re not present during the inspection, rental companies are free to claim you damaged their rental. Get a representative to inspect your car immediately upon return.
When the company confirms there’s no damage, ask them to write a statement noting the car was returned undamaged. If it was damaged, work out a solution right away.