Renting a car in Australia? Here's what you need

Thrifty Car Hire - City - Hero
Thrifty Car Hire - City - Mob

It may seem like an obvious question, but it’s surprising how many people who plan on renting a car don’t have all the facts associated with car hire. There’s nothing worse than planning a trip down the coast or that interstate getaway, only to realise at the car hire location that you don’t meet the requirements.

So, before you set off for the great unknown, we want to make sure that you’ve got everything you need before visiting your local car hire provider and renting that getaway mobile.

Let’s call it Car Rental 101.

What are the driver’s licence rental requirements?

In Australia, all current national and overseas licences are recognised and accepted. They must be a full license – provisional and probationary will not be accepted. Nor will expired licences.

The driver’s licence must be in English with a photo. If the driver’s licence is in another language or without a photograph, the car hire provider will typically accept a certified translation or an international driver’s permit. To be sure, simply contact your local car hire provider for clarification that your driver’s licence is valid and you’re able to hire a car.

What are the age requirements when it comes to renting a car in Australia?

Most car rental providers will rent to those aged 21 and over. This is for both standard and commercial vehicles. Drivers under the age of 25 will incur a daily age surcharge in addition to your rental fee.

How long can I rent my vehicle for?

Generally, the minimum rental period range is 24 hours. So, you can return the car on the same day, but you will be charged for a 24-hour period. Most car rental requirements don’t include a maximum limit on how long you can hire a car for.

In fact, there are usually long-term discounts available if you rent for longer. Thrifty has great rates for long term hire on passenger and commercial vehicles, send an enquiry and find the best deal for you.

Will I need to take out car insurance when hiring my car?

It’s highly recommended you arrange car insurance when hiring your rental vehicle because not all credit card and travel insurance policies cover car rental.

Your car hire provider will include some form of basic protection, which will only allow the authorised drivers listed on the rental agreement to drive the rental vehicle.

Additional drivers can be added at a cost, but this will ensure you’re covered if a few of you are taking turns to drive throughout the trip.

Most car hire providers offer several layers of protection when booking. These range in cost but the higher you go, the more covered you’ll be in the event of an accident, theft or uncontrollable circumstance. Always ensure you have thoroughly read and understood your protection options. If in doubt, speak to your car hire provider.

Will I have to pay a security deposit in order to hire my car?

Yes. You’ll be required to pay a security deposit (bond) when you first collect your car hire. The amount will be dependent on a few factors:

  • The rental vehicle type
  • How you are paying
  • Where you are collecting your rental car

How can I pay for my car hire?

Most, if not all car hire providers, will accept all major credit cards (double check if these include credit card charges). Some providers might accept payment via debit card, but unfortunately not cash.

So, in a nutshell, here’s what you’ll need in order to rent a car in Australia:

  • You must be 21 years or older
  • You must have a valid driver’s licence
  • You must pay a security deposit upon pick up
  • You must consider your insurance and protection options

You must have a valid credit card to pay for your rental

If you’re able to tick all of the above, you can rest assured that your next road trip is just a visit to your local car hire provider away.


Don’t forget: NRMA Members save 15 percent off the best rate of the day plus a free upgrade. Book your next rental here and save!

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NRMA Members save 15% off the best rate of the day plus a free upgrade on Thrifty Car Hire.