FAQ

Searching and booking

  • Rental agencies, vehicles, and searches

    Which car rental agencies work with CarRentals?

    CarRentals works with over 25 rental car agencies to provide you with the most choices when booking your rental car. Our partners include all of the major national brands as well as regional agencies that many booking sites do not provide access to.

    When you book at CarRentals we always show you the rental car company as part of the search results, so you can pick which company you would like to rent your car from.

    Why can't I see the car's exact make and model?

    Like most car rental booking sites, we can't guarantee an exact make or model of any car type. Car rental agencies carry different makes and models and are always updating their fleets. The car photos and descriptions on CarRentals are only examples. Your actual rental car will be similar but may not be identical to the one pictured.

    While we guarantee the seating capacity, the luggage capacity for each car should be used as a guide, since trunk space and the size of your suitcase can vary.

    What types of vehicles can I rent through CarRentals?

    CarRentals offers rental cars in the following categories: economy, compact, midsize, standard, full-size, premium, luxury and convertible cars, as well as minivans, hybrids, sport-utility vehicles (SUVs), and passenger vans. Vehicle availability varies by agency and location.

    As with most car rental bookings, the exact make and model of car cannot be selected when you make your booking on CarRentals. Each car rental agency carries different makes and models within each car type, and they are continually updating their fleets

    How can I select the right size or type of car for my needs?

    In the search results, we provide you with general information on passenger and luggage capacity for the various car types, as well as examples of some car models.

    We also allow you to filter the results by the number of passengers you would like to accommodate. To view available cars that meet your capacity needs click the appropriate check box on the right-hand-side of the results page.

    Please note that car photos shown on CarRentals are only examples of car types offered; your actual rental car will be similar, but may not be identical to the one pictured.

    Why aren't there any cars available for my trip?

    Rental-car availability can be limited for some destinations during certain times of the year -- especially for peak travel periods such as weekends and major holidays.

    To increase your chances of finding the car you need, be as flexible as you can with your search. Minor changes to your pick-up and drop-off times can make a big difference and may yield better results.

  • Locations, one-way, and same-day bookings

    Can I book one-way car rentals?

    Yes. Just click on "Return at Different Location" on the search page and another field will appear. Then begin to input your return location and click on the choice which best meets your needs. It may be necessary to type in another letter of the city name to find your location from the drop-down window.

    Can I book same-day car rentals?

    Yes. In order to book a same-day car rental reservation through CarRentals, your search must begin before the desired pick-up time (based on the pick-up location's local time).

    Can I rent at the airport if I am not flying in?

    If you are a local renter making a reservation at the airport, you should check the car rental company rules and restrictions. Many airport locations are limited to deplaning passengers only. Those that do permit local renters often impose restrictions on mileage and/or geographical limitations. They may not permit the use of a debit card. In most cases, if you are not flying in to the airport, it is preferable to use an "in-city" location.

    Can I book at non-airport locations?

    Yes. To find a non-airport location you can search by city or zip code.

    Is there an advantage to choosing an off-airport location?

    At an off-airport location, you will avoid many of the mandatory taxes and fees associated with renting at the airport; however, you will need to provide your own transportation to the location.

    May I rent at a non-airport location if I am flying in?

    Airport locations do not supply transportation to "in-city" locations. If you opt to reserve at a non-airport location, it will be necessary to supply your own transportation.

    Is there a shuttle service to my rental car?

    Most vendors that are not located in the terminal itself offer shuttle bus service from the terminal to their airport location. If you opt to pick up a vehicle from an non-airport location, you will need to provide your own transportation from the airport to the facility.

    Where do I pick up my car?

    If you booked at a non-airport location, you pick up the car at the address of the rental car agency. For airport locations, the location of the rental counter and car facility varies by agency. Please refer to your confirmation for your pick-up location.

    Does the pick-up and drop-off location have to be the same?

    No. We offer one-way rentals. Just click on "Return at Different Location" on the search page and another field will appear. Then begin to input your return location and click on the choice which best meets your needs. It may be necessary to type in another letter of the city name to find your location from the drop-down window.

    Can I change my drop-off location after I pick up my car?

    If you have already picked up your vehicle, it is necessary to contact the vendor directly to modify your reservation. Their telephone number is on your rental agreement.

    Of course, changes to your reservation may results in rate changes. CarRentals can only guarantee the quoted rate for the original dates and rental locations of your reservation.

    Can I change a round-trip reservation to one-way after I've booked or picked up my car?

    If you have already picked up your vehicle, it is necessary to contact the vendor directly to modify your reservation. Their telephone number is on your rental agreement.

    Of course, changes to your reservation may results in rate changes. CarRentals can only guarantee the quoted rate for the original dates and rental locations of your reservation.

    Can I return the car early and get a partial refund?

    Please contact the rental agency to check their policy on early returns. Their telephone number is on your rental agreement.

  • Pricing, rates, mileage, and insurance

    Why has the rate changed since my previous car rental search?

    Car rental rates change continually, so it's important that you act quickly when you see a rate that works for you. Please note that all rates are subject to availability and are not guaranteed until your booking is complete.

    How can I get the best rates?

    CarRentals.com offers the best rates available at the time you book the car. However, prices fluctuate constantly based on supply and demand, so if you see a better price, you can always modify your reservation to take advantage of the lower price. You can also call the vendor to see if they will accept your coupons or discounts.

    How do I get the sample rates I saw in your newsletter or on the site?

    The car rental rates that we show in our newsletters and on the site are examples of rates that other CarRentals customers have recently booked, not guaranteed prices.

    Does the price quoted include taxes?

    Yes. CarRentals always shows you the total rate, which includes all known taxes, fees, surcharges and applicable drop off charges that you must pay either by law or the car rental company rules and restrictions for the length of a particular car rental request.

    However, this price does not include services such as insurance waivers, underage fees, special equipment, mileage charges, or gasoline, etc. It also does not include extra day or hour charges that can result from a late return of the rental car. This price is provided so you can better estimate the total price you may pay to the rental car company for your car, but is not a guarantee of your total charges.

    Is unlimited mileage included?

    Unlimited mileage applies to most rentals. Please check under the features column to determine if your car comes with unlimited mileage. If you live locally, there may be exceptions. In addition, some locations have geographical restrictions. If traveling outside of the state, province or country, please call the vendor directly to confirm the mileage policy.

    Is insurance included?

    The CarRentals rates do not include insurance. You have the option to purchase Collision Damage Coverage during the CarRentals checkout process.

    You can also add Collision Damage Coverage to an existing reservation by visiting customer support and entering your reservation confirmation number and email address.

    Can I earn reward points or redeem additional coupons/discounts?

    You cannot enter your coupon codes or discounts directly on the CarRentals site. However, once you make a reservation, you can call the vendor to see if they will accept your coupons or discounts.

  • Drivers and age requirements

    What is the minimum age for renting a car on CarRentals?

    The rates given are for 25 years and older. However, most vendors will allow you to rent if you are between the ages of 21-24 for a surcharge. There are a few locations which will permit you to rent if you are 18 years old. There may also be limits on the size vehicle you will be permitted to rent. Some locations only accept major credit cards from drivers between the ages of 21-24. Please email us with your exact pick up location and choice of vendor and we will be able to provide further information.

    Can someone else drive my rental car?

    Yes. Anyone who is going to drive the rental car must be present and added to the rental agreement as an additional driver when you pick up the car. There may be a charge for each additional driver. CarRentals rates cover only one driver. The rate for additional drivers will be determined by the car rental agency.

    Please note that some vendors will not permit an additional driver unless he/she is over the age of 25 and has a valid credit card in his/her own name.

  • International travel

    What is the deposit requirement for rental cars outside the U.S. and Canada?

    For rentals outside of the U.S. and Canada, you may need as much as $2000 in available funds for deposit, and you will be required to use a credit card. Debit cards will not be accepted for deposit on international rentals.

    If optional items are elected for purchase (e.g., insurance), additional available credit will be required. Please note that the amount of available credit that is necessary varies, depending on the type of car and the rental period.

    Are there additional charges for renting a car outside the U.S. and Canada?

    Yes, there may be some mandatory insurance that is not included in the rate if you cannot provide proof of coverage. Read the car rental company rules and restrictions if available, before making your reservation, check with the car company when you are picking up your car, or email us for further information before your scheduled arrival.

    What type of documents do I need to rent a car outside of the United States?

    U.S. residents: To rent a car outside of the U.S., the driver will need to present a valid driver's license and credit card. Both must match the driver's name.

    For credit card deposits, you may need as much as $1000 in available funds.

    If optional items are elected for purchase (e.g., insurance), additional available credit will be required. Please note that the amount of available credit that is necessary varies, depending on the type of car and the rental period.

    Non-U.S. residents: If you're a non-U.S driver, the same guidelines apply. However, if your driver's license is in a language other than English, an International Driver's Permit is recommended. In all cases, a valid driver's license issued in your home country must be provided whether or not you possess an International Driver's Permit. You will not be allowed to rent a car with only an International Driver's Permit.

    For international car rentals, what currency will I be paying?

    Total cost includes estimated taxes and fees. Total charges are billed by the rental agency at the time of rental, with final pricing in the local currency.

    Are non-U.S. drivers allowed to rent on CarRentals?

    Yes. At check-in, the driver will need to present a valid driver's license and credit card -- both must match the driver's name.

    If the driver's license is in a language other than English or the language of the country in which you are renting, an International Driver's Permit is recommended. In all cases, a valid driver's license issued in your home country must be provided (whether or not you possess an International Driver's Permit). You will not be allowed to rent a car with only an International Driver's Permit.

    For rental deposits in the U.S. and Canada, you should have at least $200 in available funds. If you are using a debit card, the car rental company will place a hold on your deposit amount, and you will not have access to these funds until the car is returned. For rentals outside of the U.S. and Canada, you may need as much as $1000 in available funds, and you will be required to use a credit card for deposit. Debit cards will not be accepted for deposit on international rentals.

    If optional items are elected for purchase (e.g., insurance), additional available credit will be required. Please note that the amount of available credit that is necessary varies, depending on the type of car and the rental period.

    Note that many car rental companies will not accept a debit card as a deposit when the vehicle is picked up, and you will be denied rental. Be aware that car rental companies will not accept a prepaid or 'stored value' card, including those showing a MasterCard or Visa logo.

    Do I need a passport if I'm crossing international borders?

    As of June 1, 2009, passports will be required for all U.S. citizens traveling to or from the United States via land, sea, and air--regardless of destination. You are responsible for ensuring that you have all necessary travel documents. For more information on requirements for travel to/from the U.S., visit http://www.travel.state.gov.

    Are travel documents required when crossing borders in a rental car?

    Yes. You are responsible for ensuring that you have all necessary travel documents. The required documents are based on your citizenship and country of residence.

  • Payment and deposits

    When will my account be charged for my CarRentals booking?

    CarRentals is able to secure reservations very often without a credit card but the vendor will want payment with a credit card when you arrive at the counter to pick up your car. If you opt to purchase collision insurance online, your credit card will be charged immediately for the insurance premium portion only. While you may use a debit card to purchase collision coverage, the vendor may not accept a debit card as payment for the rental vehicle.

    How can I pay for my car rental booking on CarRentals?

    The total rental charges will be billed to the rental car vendor when you pick up the car. Please keep in mind that every car vendor we service accepts credit cards as a payment. What about debit cards? That depends on the car vendor, exact location, your age and whether you have proof of a round trip ticket. If you already have a reservation with us, it is easy for us to assist you. If you do not have a reservation, you must provide us with ALL the details (car vendor, car type, pick up location, if over 25 years old, and whether you are a local renter or not) and we can help. After you make a reservation, you will be given the toll-free number for the vendor and if you prefer, you can contact the car vendor yourself directly. They can easily supply you with accepted payment information. Please note that cash, pre-paid cards and gift cards are not accepted.

    Is my credit card information secure?

    All credit card communications utilize HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure Socket Layer, or HTTP over SSL) which encrypts sensitive information.

    Will I need a credit card as a deposit at the car rental counter?

    The vendor will require a valid driver's license and a major credit card in your own name with enough available funds to cover at least the cost of the rental. Some vendors may require an additional deposit depending on the location. A debit card may be acceptable at some locations. Some locations will also do a credit check when using a debit card. A local renter is advised to bring two utility bills in his/her name which shows the home address. It is also advisable to travel with proof of insurance.

    Can I use a debit card for deposit at the car rental counter?

    Some vendors may require an additional deposit depending on the location. A debit card may be acceptable at some locations. Some locations will also do a credit check when using a debit card. Local renters are advised to bring a utility bill in your name which shows the home address. It is also advisable to travel with proof of insurance.

    What is a typical car rental deposit?

    For rental deposits in the U.S. and Canada, you should have at least $200 in available funds. The rental agency will require a credit card in the name of the primary driver as a deposit. Some rental locations may accept a debit for the deposit, but may have additional requirements such as requesting proof of a roundtrip transportation itinerary in order to rent the vehicle. If you are using a debit card, the car rental company will place a hold on your deposit amount, and you will not have access to these funds until the car is returned. If optional items are elected for purchase (e.g., insurance), additional available credit will be required. Please note that the amount of available credit that is necessary varies, depending on the type of car and the rental period.

    Can I use a debit card to purchase collision insurance online?

    Certainly. Collision insurance can be purchased on our site with a debit card or credit card. However, you will still need to check with the vendor to see if they will accept a debit card as payment for the car rental.

    What are airport taxes?

    Airport taxes are the fees that the airports charge to car companies for the use of their terminals, railroads, and roads; plus other service charges mandated by the airport.

After booking

  • Reservation changes/cancellations

    Can I modify/change/cancel an existing reservation?

    Yes. CarRentals allows users to modify their existing reservation. To make changes or to cancel your reservation before picking up your vehicle click here. You will need your reservation number and email address to make changes. Of course, modifications may cause rate changes; but, there is never a fee for a reservation modification.

    If you have already picked up your vehicle, it is necessary to contact the vendor to modify your reservation. Their telephone number is on your rental agreement.

    What is your cancellation policy?

    Most rentals can be canceled without penalty, but cancellation policies vary by vendor.

    If you are asked for a credit card number to secure a booking, you should review the cancellation policy for the reservation. The cancellation policy will display on the Reservation Page before your booking is made.

    To cancel your reservation, you will need your reservation number and email address. You can cancel your booking here or call the vendor directly. The vendor's phone number is in your rental agreement.

    Can I add drivers to my rental car reservation?

    Yes. Anyone who is going to drive the rental car must be present and added to the rental agreement as an additional driver when you pick up the car. There may be a charge for each additional driver. CarRental's rates cover only one driver. The rate for additional drivers will be determined by the car rental agency.

    Please note that any additional drivers must be at least 25 years of age with a valid driver's license and a credit card in their name.

    How long after the scheduled pickup time will the vendor hold the car for me?

    The amount of time a car rental company will hold a reservation after the pickup time varies by location and vendor. If you are going to be delayed, it is always best to contact the vendor directly to ask that the car be held for you. The vendor's number can be found in your rental agreement.

    Can I change the car type I booked?

    Yes. CarRentals allows users to modify their existing reservations To make changes to your reservation before picking up your vehicle click here. You will need your reservation number and email address to make changes. Of course, modifications may cause rate changes; but, there is never a fee for a reservation modification.

    Can I make last minute changes to my car rental at the counter when I pick up my rental car?

    Yes, but you usually get much better rates if you change your reservation in advance by modifying your rental at CarRentals.com. This is very often handy for a traveler who can log in using their PDA. Are you aware of the free CarRentals.com App for the iPhone? This will also save you time.

    Can I change my pick-up or drop-off time?

    Yes. CarRentals allows users to modify their existing reservations To make changes to your reservation before picking up your vehicle click here. You will need your reservation number and email address to make changes. Of course, modifications may cause rate changes; but, there is never a fee for a reservation modification.

    If you have already picked up your vehicle, it is necessary to contact the vendor to modify your reservation. Their telephone number is on your rental agreement.

    Will I be able to extend my car rental or return it early?

    CarRentals allows users to modify their existing reservations To make changes to your reservation before picking up your vehicle click here. You will need your reservation number and email address to make changes. Of course, modifications may cause rate changes; but, there is never a fee for a reservation modification.

    If you have already picked up your vehicle, it is necessary to contact the vendor to modify your reservation. Their telephone number is on your rental agreement

  • Special requests and viewing my reservation

    Can I request special equipment or services?

    Sure. You can request child seats, GPS, ski racks, CD players, etc. by emailing us or calling the vendor directly. Not all vendors or locations will have the requested items so please check before you arrive at the counter. Additional drivers can only be added at the time of pickup. They must be present at that time. Fees for additional drivers vary by location and vendor.

    How do I view my reservation?

    If you have a CarRentals account, click "Sign-in" at the top of any page. Once you are signed on, you can click "My Reservations" on the top right of the page to see all your activity including your reservations.

    If you do not have a CarRentals account you can view your reservation here by entering your email address and confirmation number. The confirmation number can be found in the rental agreement emailed to you.

Can't find the information you are looking for? Email support@carrentals.com