USA Car Hire FAQs

Driver Questions:

How long do I need to have held my driving licence to hire a car?
With our pre-paid rental vouchers from Alamo and National, you simply need a ‘Full licence’, there is no minimum period this must be held.  For all of our other suppliers, you must have held your full licence for at least 1 year.

My licence is due to expire whilst I am away, will this matter?
Yes, you will need to ensure that your licence is valid for the duration of your hire, so you may need to arrange for it to be renewed a little early.

I have speeding points on my licence, can I still hire through you?
Yes you can, the only requirement is that you have a ‘Full licence’.

I had a driving ban which finished last year, can I still hire through you?
As long as you can currently drive in your home country, then you can hire a car in the USA, as before the only requirement is that you have a ‘Full licence’.

I am over 70 years old, can I still hire a car in the U.S.A?
Yes, you certainly can, there is no upper age limit.

The lead driver is 23 years old, is there a way to avoid the local surcharge of $25 per day?
Our Young Driver Package for drivers aged 21 – 24 lets up to 3 drivers aged 21 – 24 drive, without any local surcharge at all.

When do I add my additional driver details to the rental?
All additional drivers are added to the rental agreement when you arrive, so at the desk in the terminal or at your collection point.

I am a disabled driver, can I add hand controls to my reservation?
We can arrange for hand controls; spinner knob and hand operated gas and brake, to be added to your reservation. Please contact us in advance so we can discuss the best options (supplier) for you and the size of car.

Document Questions:

Do I need to take my paper counterpart of my driving licence?
The paper counterpart to your driving licence no longer has legal status so it is not required to collect your car.

I still have the old fashioned paper licence and no photo ID – is this OK?
Prior to 1998 only paper licences were issued, so in this instance, your paper licence is absolutely fine.  You may possibly be asked to show your passport as a photo ID. We recommend you replace worn or damaged paper licences to avoid refusal of the car on arrival. Fraud has caused suppliers to be more cautious. 

I have read that I am supposed to have a credit card for the security deposit, I don’t have one, but my partner does – will that be OK?
The lead driver must have a credit card in their own name, so if your partner has the card, then they should be the lead driver.  The lead driver does not have to do all the driving  – or even any driving – they are just the person in control of the paperwork, so they must have a full licence as well. But, if you are taking our Young Driver Package, the lead driver must still be under 25 years.  Do get in touch as a credit card is not always required with the Young Driver Package. 

I have a VISA Debit card, can I use that for the security deposit instead?
Generally the answer is no, if the lead driver cannot present a credit card for the security deposit then we cannot be sure that you will receive your car and once again, you would not be entitled to a refund.  However, a VISA debit card is acceptable for Alamo and National at the majority of locations, please check with us for clarification. However, you can use a debit card to make your reservation.

Can I use a Pre-Paid credit card for the security deposit?
No, the car hire companies will not accept a pre-paid credit card.

What happens if I cannot print out my voucher?
If you are unable to print your voucher off we can always send your paperwork through the post if that is more convenient.  If you are already travelling though, and don’t have access to a printer, you can show the voucher on your phone or tablet – or if it comes to it – just note the ‘Supplier confirmation’ Number down, and show that to the desk. This number contains all the details of your rental and will enable the desk staff to provide you with exactly what you ordered.

Questions about Charges:

Are there charges for using a credit card to pay?
We have no credit card charges

I want to get my Air miles, can I use my American Express card?
Yes certainly, we make no charge for using AMEX card

I need to alter my reservation; do you make a charge for amendments?
We do not charge for amendments. The only cost you may have is if the price of the car has changed since you made your booking. This could result in an increase or a refund accordingly.

Do you have a charge for cancellations?
We make no charge for cancellations notified at least 72 hours prior to collection, in accordance with our Cancellation Policy.

If I decide to take the car back a few days early, is there any chance I will be able to get a refund for the remaining days?
Once a car is collected there are no refunds available for an early return of the vehicle.

How do I pay the security deposit?
The security deposit is not a payment as such, the money does not actually leave your card. The hire companies put a ‘hold’ on a certain amount – see below for a rough guide– which reduces your available balance by that much. Once the car is returned, then the hold is removed and your credit limit returns to normal.

  • Alamo and National and Enterprise – $100 USD
  • Dollar, Thrifty & Hertz – $350 USD
  • Budget – $350

When do I pay the one-way fee?
One-way fees are payable locally – so it is charged to your credit card.  Because it is a local payment, you also pay local taxes on top.  As a guide, we generally say allow for around 20 percent on top – but the exact figure will vary by location and state.

I need your Young Driver Package, how do I know there won’t be any other charges when I arrive?
Our Young Drivers Package is a complete package providing all you need to drive in the USA without extra charges.  As long as you don’t agree to, or sign for, any additional optional items you will not have any charges to pay locally.  If a one-way fee is applicable to your rental, that will still need to be paid as that is a different fee altogether.

Questions about Fuel:

I have taken your Premium package, do I return the car full or empty of fuel?
With our Premium package your initial tank of fuel is included in the price, so you will return the car as empty as possible.

Will the car have fuel in it when I collect the car.?
Whichever policy you take, the car will always be issued with a full or nearly full tank of fuel.

I like to return the tank full at the end, which package do I need to book for that?
Our Fully inclusive package is the one to take if you want to give the car back with a full tank of fuel at the end.  You will need to fill up within 10 miles of your return location so that the car still registers full upon your return. Always get a receipt for that fill up, and keep it as proof on your return in case the fuel is incorrectly logged when you take it back.

Insurance Questions:

What insurance is included with your car hire packages?
A full run-down of all of the insurances included can be found here. In essence, the packages are designed to be ‘walk away’ so everything that you need to drive legally in the USA is included. Car hire starting in Canada has a $800 or $500 excess depending on supplier.

We will be driving into many different states on our trip, does the insurance cover us in each state?
Yes, the insurance will cover you in every state across the USA.

Can I take the car into Canada and will I still be insured there?
You can certainly drive into Canada and the insurance will be just the same including the zero excess. You must always inform the desk staff that this is your intention when you collect the car.

Can I take a Canadian Hire into the USA? 

You can drive a rental car hired in Canada into the USA. The excess that applies to Canadian rentals will apply just the same when you are driving in the USA.

Does your insurance include tyres and keys and things like that?
The insurance packages provided by the rental companies do not currently include cover for lost keys, or flat batteries for instance.  You can cover these items for a small additional fee locally or in advance if you wish. You can find more details about what is not included here. Dollar, Thrifty and Hertz also include damage or loss to tyres, windscreen, glass and undercarriage as long as the damage is not caused by negligence

What happens if I breakdown?
Basic mechanical assistance is included in your package, so if something goes mechanically wrong with the car this is covered. It is those ‘human error’ items like the ones above that are not covered.

How much is the excess?
There is no excess in the USA. It is $500 in Canada

Questions about Collection:

What happens if they don’t have the car I ordered?
Cars are sold on a ‘Free Sale’ basis, which generally means the car hire company is guaranteeing you will receive a car. They do that by upgrading you to the next available category if they have run out of yours. For example, you order an Economy, but when you arrive they have all gone.  You will be given (or directed to choose from) the next available category which could be a Compact, or Intermediate – or sometimes even an SUV! It is important to remember that you should never be charged for this service if they did not have your booked car available.

How can I get an upgrade?
Well as you can see from above, sometimes you can get a bigger car anyway, but if you want to upgrade locally – perhaps you have seen a particular car that you would really love to drive – then do ask. But remember that the rate quoted will be per day, and without tax – so you do need your maths head on!

Who do I call if there is a problem when I collect the car?
Our vouchers have an emergency number noted for use at the time of collection.

Do the car hire suppliers provide a map?
A map of the local area, and key cities is usually provided when you collect your car.

How can I hire a Sat Nav unit?
If you have not pre-ordered a Sat Nav unit (not all suppliers will allow this) you can usually request one from your collection location and pay locally for it.

Where do I get my Child Seat?
If you hire a child seat rather than taking your own, these are collected from the booths in the car parks of airport locations.  In a down-town location car seats will be kept behind the counter.

Booking Questions:

I am not from the UK, can I still use your website?
We welcome clients from all over the world. Our vouchers are available to drivers from:

  • All of Europe
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Singapore
  • Thailand
  • South America
  • China
  • Japan

Sadly, our pre-paid rental vouchers are not available for holders of US or Canadian driving licences.
If your licence is not in English, or not easily recognisable as a driving licence, you may have to obtain an international driving permit. We can advise you on this aspect if you are not sure or have questions. It is also better for you to select Alamo or National as your supplier.

Do I have to pay with the card that I am going to use for the security deposit?
You do not have to use the same card, someone else can pay or you can use a different card.

When will I get my paperwork through?
The majority of clients receive their paperwork within 60 minutes. If you have no paperwork after that, please check your spam folder. If it is still missing we can check the email address supplied is correct. 

I only want to hire a Ford Mustang, how can I be certain that this is what I will get?
All reservations made are based on categories rather than particular makes or models. The Ford Mustang for instance, is part of the fleet of all our suppliers. However, we cannot and will not, guarantee that one will be available for your trip.

Why should I book with you and not direct?
Our service to you starts when you first get in touch and lasts as long as you need it to. We will happily answer any number of questions before you collect your car – they are all welcome.  If you have a customer service issue when you return – that is also part of what we do.  Any problems that we cannot directly help you with, we will try and point you in the right direction. We are here, for you.