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car hire in canada

The Ultimate Guide to Car Hire in Canada for 2024

Canada is a great country to visit with lots to see and experience. However when it comes to Canada car hire, the options can be overwhelming.

Maybe you’re looking for a car rental service that offers the most for your money or one that offers impressive rewards programs. Well, if you’re in search of the best car rental service in Canada, you have come to the right place.

In this post, we look at what you need to know before you rent a car in Canada. We also look at the top picks for the best car rental companies for car hire in Canada.

What You Need to Know Before You Hire a Car in Canada

Visiting Canada and renting a car is one of the best ways of sightseeing the country.

Unlike flying, renting a car provides the freedom and flexibility to organise your road trip across the country. You can also stop along the way whenever you want to and visit places at your own pace.

Renting a car in Canada is an easy process. Nevertheless, there are some essential aspects to be aware of before renting a car in Canada and embarking on your unforgettable adventure.

Understanding Minimum and Maximum Age Requirements:

When planning to hire a car in Canada, it’s crucial to be aware of the age requirements for both the primary driver and any additional drivers. Generally, car rental companies require drivers to be at least 21 years old, although some provinces like Quebec and Saskatchewan permit car hire for 18-year-olds.

Major car rental companies, such as Hertz and Avis, offer services to younger drivers, but those aged 25 and under may be subject to a Young Renter Fee. This fee varies between companies and is designed to cover additional insurance costs associated with younger drivers.

Keep in mind that car hire in Canada typically imposes restrictions on vehicle types and sizes for renters between 21 and 24 years old. Drivers in this age bracket are usually limited to renting and driving subcompact, compact, or standard cars. Due to insurance reasons, they are often prohibited from renting and driving minivans and SUVs.

In most cases, there is no maximum age limit for car hire in Canada. However, if you’re 70 years or older, it’s advisable to contact your chosen rental company in advance to inquire about any potential age restrictions. Lastly, all drivers must have a minimum of 12 months of driving experience to rent a car in Canada.

Documents Required to Hire a Car in Canada:

To rent a car in Canada, you can use a UK or International driver’s licence, provided it is in English or French. While an International Driver’s Licence is highly recommended, it is not obligatory. If you’re traveling in a group and considering a Canada car rental, you’ll need to determine whether to include additional drivers.

Including multiple drivers allows you to share driving responsibilities, but be aware that rental agencies will charge extra for this option.

When collecting your rental car, you may be asked to present your return airline ticket and passport. A credit card is also required for the deposit when renting a car in Canada. Ensure that your credit card and driver’s licence bear the same name to avoid any complications.

car hire in canada

Child Car Seat Laws in Canada:

When embarking on a journey across Canada with children, their safety should be a top priority. Canadian law mandates that children must be at least 9 years old or 145 cm tall before using a seat belt without a child car seat.

Before renting a car in Canada, it’s essential to determine if the car hire company provides appropriate child safety seats for babies and children.

Securing child car seats through your Canada car hire can help you avoid costly airline baggage fees. Most, if not all, car rental agencies in Canada adhere to state laws requiring child seats for rentals.

Car hire companies in Canada can supply belt-positioning high-back booster seats for use in the back seat, suitable for children who have outgrown convertible boosters or weigh between 18 and 36 kg (40 to 80 pounds).

In addition to booster seats, rental agencies can also provide infant car seats for infants under one year old and weighing up to 9 kg (20 pounds). Ensure the seat is installed rear-facing to properly support the child’s spinal cord, back, and neck.

Lastly, convertible car seats are available for children weighing 8 to 18 kg (20 to 40 pounds) and up to 101 cm (40 inches) tall. Parents with children who have outgrown an infant seat should use a convertible car seat rear-facing until the child reaches the back seat’s upper weight and height limits.

When traveling with children aged 12 or younger, always ensure they are seated in the back seat. The back seat provides the greatest safety, as children are positioned further from potential impact points in the event of a collision.

car hire in canada

Car Insurance for Rental Cars in Canada:

Before hitting the road with your rental car in Canada, it’s crucial to have adequate car insurance. This ensures protection for you, your passengers, other vehicles, and personal belongings while driving and in the event of an accident.

Several types of rental car insurance are available in Canada:

Liability Insurance: This coverage protects you from being held financially responsible for an accident. It covers any damage to another property or vehicle that you cause, as well as medical expenses for those injured. Opting for this coverage can reduce your costs each time you rent a car in Canada, particularly if you travel frequently.

Personal Effects Coverage: This insurance safeguards your belongings in the car. It has a specified limit and requires a deductible to be paid before any claims are processed. Personal Effects Coverage may not be necessary if you already have home insurance, but if not, it’s advisable to obtain this coverage.

Collision Damage Waiver: This coverage shields you from expenses related to collision or theft.

Personal Accident Insurance: This policy provides accidental death coverage for the driver and passengers in the car at the time of the accident. While not mandatory, it’s risky to forego this coverage.

Renting a car in Canada necessitates insurance to protect yourself, your passengers, the vehicle, and other road users. Lacking insurance means you’ll have to cover damages beyond basic protection out of pocket.

You can acquire insurance when picking up your rental car, which covers some damage to the rented vehicle. Alternatively, you can obtain coverage from an automobile insurer through an endorsement called Legal Liability for Damage to Non-Owned Vehicles.

Insurance costs vary depending on the extent of protection and where you secure it. On average, it may cost around $65 CAD per day, but researching options can lead to significant savings.

car hire in canada

Selecting the Right Car for Your Canadian Adventure:

When choosing a car for your travels in Canada, consider your specific needs and the type of journey you’ll be undertaking. If your trip primarily involves city driving, opt for an affordable and compact car to maximize efficiency. However, if you require more luggage space, a larger vehicle may be necessary.

For journeys between cities, an economy car is typically sufficient, given Canada’s excellent road quality. However, if your adventure includes off-roading, consider an SUV or 4×4, especially if you plan on exploring the Northern Gravel Highway or unpaved backcountry roads.

Adventurous travelers might prefer an RV or campervan, which offer the freedom to travel and stay anywhere while saving on accommodation costs. Before renting, ensure the vehicle includes a kitchen if needed.

To avoid higher costs, pre-book your car rental in Canada before arrival. The internet makes it easy to secure a reservation from home, work, or even in transit.

If extensive driving is part of your plan, ensure your rental car comes with unlimited mileage, as some companies impose limits and charge extra for additional mileage.

Once you’ve completed the necessary paperwork, inspect the car for any scratches or damage. Document any issues by taking photos and notify the rental office, marking the damage on the provided paperwork.

Verify the included insurance coverage and ensure it’s adequate for your needs. Check the gas tank, and make sure it’s full before departing.

Ask the car rental assistant to demonstrate essential system functions, such as hazard lights, indicators, headlights, and windshield wipers. Finally, collect the car keys and relevant documents before driving off on your Canadian adventure.

car hire in canada

Top Car Rental Companies in Canada:

Enterprise Rent-A-Car:

Enterprise Rent-A-Car, boasting over 558 locations in Canada, is one of North America’s largest car rental services. Offering car and truck rentals in over 85 countries across 7,600 locations worldwide, Enterprise has become a go-to choice for road trippers, frequent travellers, and those needing a temporary car replacement. With a fleet of more than 1.5 million vehicles, they have options for everyone’s needs.

Avis Car Rentals:

Avis Car Rental is a popular choice for stress-free travel in Canada, with more than 179 locations nationwide. Avis offers a wide range of vehicles, including electric cars, vans, luxury cars, and SUVs. By choosing Avis, you can save up to 10% on monthly base rates (minimum 28-day rental) and up to 30% off base rates for Automobile Association or Motor Club members. Book online through the Avis Canada website.


Make your Canadian road trip memorable with Hertz, a car rental company with over 10,000 locations worldwide and 157 locations in Canada. Hertz offers an extensive selection of rental car brands and a broad range of options both on and off airports. From budget-friendly family rentals to luxury business travel options, Hertz has it all.

National Car Rental:

National Car Rental offers fast reservations, exclusive deals, and 149 locations in Canada. They provide excellent deals on car rentals and numerous pickup locations nationwide. National Car Rental’s Emerald Club loyalty program caters to business travellers, offering benefits like choosing your own vehicle, skipping rental agents, and earning free rental days.

Budget Rent A Car:

Budget Rent A Car, a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group, operates more than 2,200 locations worldwide, including over 1,900 in North America. Budget lives up to its name by offering affordable rental rates for travel across Canada. Pre-booking online can save you over 35% off non-discounted base rates, and enrolling in the Budget Business Program offers savings of up to 30% off base rates for business travellers.

Thrifty Car Rental:

Thrifty Car Rental provides rental cars from over 110 locations in Canada, ensuring a suitable vehicle for your needs. To rent a car, visit the Thrifty Car Rental website and fill out the reservation form, entering your Canadian destination and trip dates. When making reservations, have a valid driver’s licence and credit card handy.

car hire in canada

Frequently Asked Questions:

In this section we answer from frequently asked questions about car hire in Canada.

What documents do I need to rent a car in Canada?

When hiring a car in Canada, you will need a valid driver’s licence, a passport (for non-residents), and a credit card. Ensure that the driver’s licence and credit card are in the renter’s name.

What age do I need to be to rent a car in Canada?

The minimum age to rent a car in Canada is typically 21 years old. However, some car rental companies may allow drivers as young as 18, depending on the province. Keep in mind that renters under the age of 25 may be subject to additional fees known as “young driver surcharges.”

Can I rent a car in Canada with a US or UK licence?

Yes, you can rent a car in Canada with your UK or US driver’s licence, and you won’t need an International Driving Permit.

What insurance should I get when renting a car in Canada?

Before you rent a car in Canada, consider obtaining Collision Damage Waiver, Theft Protection, and third-party liability insurance. These coverages will protect you against damage to the vehicle’s bodywork, theft, and any damage to other people or property.

Do I need proof of insurance to rent a car in Canada?

You should check your coverage and requirements with your insurance provider before renting a car in Canada. Additionally, obtain a Canadian non-resident insurance card, which is available at no cost.

How can I find the best deals and discounts on car hire in Canada?

To find the best deals and discounts on car hire in Canada, compare prices from multiple car rental companies, book in advance, and search for special promotions or discount codes online. Additionally, consider joining loyalty programs for extra savings and benefits.

Can I return my rental car to a different location within Canada?

Most car rental companies allow you to return your rental car to a different location within Canada, but additional fees for one-way rentals may apply. Check with your chosen car rental company for specific policies and costs.

Can you drive across the US and Canada border with a rental car?

In most cases, rental vehicles rented in Canada or the US can be driven throughout both countries. However, some car hire agencies may not permit travel outside of the US or Canada.

What happens if you crash a rental car without insurance in Canada?

If you rent a car in Canada without insurance, you will be responsible for paying out of pocket for any damages to the vehicle, property, or other road users in the event of a collision.

What happens if you crash a rental car in Canada?

If you are involved in an accident while driving a rental car in Canada, stay at the scene and call the emergency number to report the accident and request medical assistance if necessary. If you can, provide first aid to those injured and exchange licence information with the other driver. Follow any instructions given by the police.


Renting a car in Canada can be a seamless and enjoyable experience as long as you are well-prepared and informed. Ensure you have the necessary documents, appropriate insurance coverage, and a clear understanding of the rental terms and conditions.

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