What are the conditions for renting a car?

When renting a car, there are certain pitfalls to avoid and good reflexes to use to find the best deals (summarized for you in this handy guide). But above all, there are indispensable conditions that must be met in order to hope to get behind the wheel. Better to know them well. Thanks to the overview below, no more unpleasant surprises at the last minute! You will be ready to start or rethink the adventure differently if necessary.

1. Be legally authorized to rent

The minimum age to rent a car in France is officially 18. But in practice and with a few rare exceptions (Ada for example) most rental companies require you to be at least 21 years old for a basic model.

The number of years of validity for your final driving license is added to the age. For a B driving license, 1 or 2 years is generally considered to be a sufficient trial period to be able to rent a classic car or van; this can range from 3 to 5 years depending on the rental companies when it comes to accessing other types of vehicles, luxury or utility vehicles.

Note that in any case, if you’re under 25, you’ll almost always have to pay a daily “young driver” surcharge (or even double excess with some rental companies, even with partial redemption). But at least you will be able to rent. 😉

The required age, the age of the driver’s license, the size of any surcharge varying from rental company to rental company and depending on the type of vehicle, before you start, remember to compare by integrating as many parameters as possible. Then see the company’s general rental conditions to avoid later disappointments.

2. Could undertake the collateral

Regardless of the vehicle you wish to rent, you will not be able to avoid the security deposit, which covers the excess to be paid in case of damage or an at-fault accident (unless you replace it with a very expensive supplementary insurance and very rarely offered by the renters). And although the practice tends to disappear, some agencies may also ask for advance rent.

For these payments, which therefore vary according to vehicle category and agency, you must present a means of payment in your name at the counter, in this case a credit or debit card. Prepaid cards are not widely accepted, although it is still much easier than checks, check directly with the rental company if this is really what you have.

It is understandable. Via a simple imprint of a credit card (with deferred payment), the lessor guarantees the availability of funds in case of need, whether for repairs or simply to cover any contractual fuel costs or additional kilometers within the framework of a limited mileage policy. Conversely, with a debit card (instant payment), he will have to take the deposit to lock it and then refund it to you once the car has been returned safely. For you, this means that you have the relevant amount in your account and a sufficiently high purchase limit. If necessary, you will have to adjust your plans!

3. Sign a contract

In addition to your driver’s license and bank card, in order for the landlord to draw up a lease in good and proper form, you must provide him with other necessary documents, namely an identity card or passport and proof of original residence dated less than 2 months. If you plan, during your epic, to pass the wheel to a friend to take a breather, doze off, take pictures or take on the role of DJ, they will also need to pay their ID and permit. 😉

But what should this rental agreement contain? It’s very simple: everything.
It is written in duplicate and reminds you of the basics of the service and sets out the general rental conditions (GTC), the lessor’s and your obligations. It also includes a literally essential vehicle condition sheet that must be jointly validated after checks on departure and return.

It sets out how much the car rental costs, details of conditions and starting price (daily rate, possible increases, options, etc.), indicates the size of the excess, deposit and rental advance, if any.
It clarifies the basics of your protection and liability in case of damage: third-party insurance is automatically included, but you can decide to activate additional guarantees with the rental company or insure your rental car independently (in this case they will be contract-free).
It contains valuable information of all kinds, for example, explains what to do in the event of a problem when renting a car, provides contact information on the renter’s accident insurance for contact, etc.

Road trip breakdown

Credit: iStock

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