Picking up a rental car anytime soon? Read on to know what to expect and what to pay attention to to have the best car rental experience.

Whether you have never rented a car before or are an experienced renter, the pick up and drop off can be quite tricky sometimes. There are, of course, some items to pay close attention to so your rental experience is nothing but positive.

Here’s a list of what you have to know before picking up and dropping off the rental car. Keep an eye on these and have a nice trip!

When picking up your rental car

1. Voucher

After you’ve booked your rental, the first thing to pay attention to is the reservation voucher. This is where you’ll find the most important information about the booking, including date and time of pick up and drop off, the insurance included, all documentation needed and other crucial info.

And there’s more: you have to present the voucher at the car rental counter, so don’t forget to print it and take it with you!

The Rentcars.com’s voucher also contains general rules and information about car rental, which are usually applied by all rental companies. Many of the most common car rental questions are answered there, so we recommend reading it in advance.

2. Documentation

It is super important that you have all the required documents with you at the time of pick up, as this can prevent the car rental company from letting you sign the rental agreement and possibly ruin your travel plans (and we don’t want that, right?).

It’s also important to pay special attention if you’re renting a car abroad, as different countries may have different rules.

Generally speaking, if you’re American and are renting inside the United States, you need:

  • A valid driver’s license held for two or more years;
  • Proof of identity (ID, passport etc.);
  • A credit card in the renter’s name for the security deposit.

If you’re renting abroad, rental companies usually also ask for a valid passport and, sometimes, for an International Driver’s Permit.

Click here to read more about what you need to rent a car and other car rental requirements.

3. Car rental agreement

It is also at the moment of pick up that the car rental agreement is signed. This agreement specifies the terms and conditions of your rental, so it’s good not to rush and read it carefully.

There you’ll see, for example, what happens if you get a ticket for parking irregularly, or if the rental car is involved in any car accident, what the insurance covers and more. You can see how this document is important, right?

So pay attention while reading it and, if you have any questions, ask the car rental company’s personnel.

4. Security deposit

One of the most common car rental questions is about the security deposit. This is nothing more than a sum of money held by the car rental company for their own safety, just in case anything happens for the duration of your reservation.

But you don’t have to worry: this isn’t charged like a purchase. The car rental security deposit is only held while the rental car is with you and the full amount is returned to your balance once you return the car in the same conditions as you picked it up.

This amount of money varies a lot, mostly according to the car you’re renting, how long your reservation is for, amongst other things. If you have any questions about this, you can get in touch with the rental company directly or with us!

Be aware that the credit card you’ll be presenting for the security deposit has to have enough funds to cover the full amount. If you want to read more about car rental security deposits, check out this post.

5. Car inspection

Rental companies don’t do this all the time, but it’s always good to check the rental car very carefully before leaving the car park. This is important as any scratches and dents may be charged from you if you don’t have proof that you were not responsible for them.

If you notice anything unusual about the car, make sure to take photos. If there are any serious issues, ask the staff to also check the damage before leaving for your trip.

When dropping off your rental car

1. Fuel tank

Depending on your reservation, the fuel tank is an important thing to pay attention to. Some bookings already include a full tank when you leave the car park with no need to refill it before drop off, others specifically ask that you refill the tank.

If you return it empty when you needed to refill it, car rental companies may charge you for the refill, and it’s usually much more expensive than refilling it yourself.

2. Car inspection

Just like you need to check the conditions of the car before leaving the car park, rental companies need to be sure that the car is returned in the same conditions, with no extra dents or scratches.

You also need to return the car reasonably clean. Especially if you have kids or pets, it’s important to make sure that the car seats and floor are clear of dirt, fur, trash and everything else.

3. Receipt

When you return the car, the car rental company’s staff will print you a receipt. This is proof that you have actually returned, with the exact date and time, so keep it somewhere safe!

Ready for the pick up and drop off? Search for your next car rental below!

Attention! All efforts were made to validade the information published in this blog at the moment they were written, however, Rentcars.com does not take responsibility for inaccuracies or future adjustments that can happen as a result of different offers and conditions. The posts here published, as well as the eventual comments from its readers, are merely informative and it is the client's duty to confirm with Rentcars.com and/or suppliers any content that may affect their vacation plans.


  1. Oh! Thank you for sharing! I am delighted with this text. He is helpful to me Thank you and best regards!

  2. Hello Helena,
    I must appreciate your work this was one of the best blogs I ever read, after reading your blogs I came to know about such kind of terms and conditions that would be useful for us in order to give cars on rent in the future.

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