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Car rentals in California: All you need to know

You want a great car to take you around California whether you're going for a business trip or a vacation. See the famous sites around the region and pull up in front of the best restaurants in California. CarRentals.com has collected your most popular questions about car rentals in California. Find out how to get the best rates on your ideal vehicle.

How can I get a great deal on a rental car in California?

We always try to get you the best deal. But, there are ways to get an even cheaper price on your next booking. You can:

  • Compare vehicle pricing before you book
  • Try to avoid airport pick-ups and drop-offs, which can be more expensive
  • Determine ahead of time how much mileage/fuel you may use
  • Search and reserve in advance

These tips can help you save even more on your next car rental in California.

What rental suppliers have agencies in California?

From global names like Ace and Enterprise to budget-friendly brands like Economy and Budget, CarRentals.com has some of the best brands in the business. Scan through the online reviews to get an idea of which one is best for you.

What types and makes of rental cars are on offer in California?

That depends on your needs and what activities you want to do in California. If you're having a bit of trouble choosing, be sure to go over our table below. We've compared the most popular vehicle categories for you:

What's the age requirement to rent a car in California?

Normally, to rent a car in California you must be at least 21—the same as it is across the rest of the United States of America. If you are under 25, you might also need to pay a surcharge. Be sure to read through the rental agreement to figure out what the total will be before you book your rental.

Does California require rental car insurance?

When cruising through California or the rest of the U.S. of A., you'll need insurance. Almost every supplier requires that you show proof of insurance before you rent a car. The majority of countries require the driver to have insurance. You may be able to purchase additional insurance through the rental car dealer, if you think your insurance won't cover you while traveling through the U.S. of A. Additionally, as a United States citizen, you can also book Collision Damage Coverage with CarRentals.com at checkout.

The major credit card issuers (American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover) will typically provide some coverage. But many of them have restrictions, like not covering large vehicles like premium models or some SUVs. It is best to call and find out exactly what your credit card will cover and how much before you head to California.

Are there different fuel policies?

Most suppliers give you a choice of fuel policies. Here is a list of the typical policies.

You will have to find an open gas station close to your car rental supplier

What fuel policy do you recommend?

We usually advise that customers choose the full-to-full policy. This policy is the most straightforward, and you simply top off the tank before you bring it back.

Should I get unlimited miles when I rent a car in California?

If you plan to check out all that California offers, you're going to need unlimited miles. You won't have to worry about extra charges if you decide to drive all over California. Review the fine print to be certain your mileage is truly "unlimited."

Tips before you leave the lot

Before you begin on your California vacation, be sure you check out a few items before you leave the car rental lot. You should:

  • Inspect your car and determine if there is any dents or scratches. If so, mark it down on your paperwork
  • Inspect the trunk to see if the spare is inflated and both the lug wrench and jack are there
  • Get familiar with the controls of your car. Adjust the mirrors and seats to your liking, and figure out how to turn on the lights and windshield wipers
  • Figure out how to work the navigation and entertainment. You don't want any unneeded distractions in a new city

Book your California rental car today

Maybe you're carpooling with co-workers to and from the hotel to the conference center, maybe you're traveling solo, or maybe you're bringing your partner or kids. CarRentals.com has the ideal car that can align with your needs and not deplete your travel piggy bank.