Renting a car 101: 10 Tips on renting a car in Dubai

April 15, 2022

Dubai, the UAE’s most populous city, is brimming with aesthetic sites that might brighten your holiday. Dubai’s location on the Persian Gulf’s southwest coast also provides a fantastic sea-front vista that grows more stunning as the day progresses.

Dubai gives travellers a myriad of options to explore, from lofty skyscrapers to large shopping malls, from dining in the finest restaurants to partaking in epic desert safaris; the best way to discover the city is to rent a car. UAE has well-maintained motorways that make navigating the city much easier, especially if you rent a car in Dubai. 

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Here is a list of ten things to keep in mind when renting a car in Dubai. 

Compare rental providers 

You can find many rental companies across Dubai; prominent international car rental companies, including Hertz, Avis, and Thrifty, are within Dubai International Airport. While these well-known companies have different deals, you can check out some local companies at lower rates with the same benefits as these international companies. 

The first and most crucial step you need to take is to compare the prices offered by different car rental companies in the city. Do not jump at the first rental company or offer you are presented with. Rental companies will often charge slightly higher for a standard car compared to the rental company next door.  

Personal experience: Car rental company A charged AED 2000 for a Nissan Sunny, while Car rental company B offered a relatively new Renault Duster for AED 1,600 per month. The Duster was in pristine condition and did not seem to have any problems. This was not a scam – the only person that got scammed was the person who rented the Sunny. 

Handy tip: Local and lesser well-known rental companies offer lower prices. Not all cars are in mint condition or look luxurious, but they can save you some money. It makes sense to call rental companies and ask them for the best deal that works for you. 

Choose the right vehicle 

Choosing the right vehicle is important to consider before approaching a rental company. Unfortunately, many people overlook this step and rent a car that does not meet their requirements. Will you be renting the car to travel with your family? Or for shopping? It is important to know why you need the car and how you will use it. This is necessary so that the car you rent will serve its purpose. 

If you intend to take the entire family, you might need to rent a full-sized sedan or SUV; however, if you will be travelling alone, a compact car is the best option to save some more money. A luxury rental might be for you if you intend to make some heads turn or arrive in style. 

You could be driving your luxury car alongside one of these Top 10 Most Popular Luxury Cars in UAE. 

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Check the condition of the car 

Before finalising a car from the rental company, inspect its condition. An inspection or test drive allows you to look for flaws in the vehicle and determine whether it is safe to drive. Check for damages on the car and alert the lender if there are any to avoid any misunderstandings.

Good rental companies will note any flaws on the exterior and interior of the vehicle before handing it over to you. This way, they can keep track of any new damages to the car. 

Handy tip: Take a video or several pictures of the car before driving it. 

Read the terms and conditions

We can’t stress this enough. Having a clear understanding of the terms and conditions will help you understand your obligations towards the rental company. The fine print will give you a clearer picture of the rental process, do’s and don’ts, return policy, accident coverage, etc. Going through a company’s terms and conditions will help you solidify your decision. 

Some people have a terrible habit of glancing over the fine print and missing out on critical details, which puts them in much trouble. Get clarity on the amount you need to pay as a security deposit and check if they have a cap on the distance you can cover per month. 

Under the terms and conditions, make sure to check the insurance coverage. The majority of the companies come with basic third-party insurance but will push you to buy additional coverage. However, depending on how confident you are, this can be skipped entirely. 

[Related: What is the Difference between Third-Party and Comprehensive Car Insurance?]

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Decide on  the rental period 

Be certain about the dates you will need to rent the car. This is important because prices fluctuate throughout the month. Booking a rental for extended periods can fetch you very good deals. 

Pay the security deposit 

Before choosing a rental company, inquire about the factors that can affect your security deposit, the prices, and the return date. Rental companies collect a deposit to safeguard any additional payments that may come up after the car has been returned and release it after days. Additional payments can include fines, Salik payments, or even repair costs. You can pay the security deposit in cash or by credit card. The credit card option is recommended since the blocked amount will be released automatically after a predetermined number of days.

Learn about the registration and permissions 

The car you decide to rent must have a valid registration. Always check the original registration before looking at the copy. Ensure that the details are of the same car that you will be driving and are consistent with the copy placed in the car; do not forget to check its validity. 

Additionally, ensure that you have a registered and valid driver’s licence before renting a car. If you are visiting Dubai and have an international driving licence issued from abroad, you will not be required to get a separate one for the UAE. If you live in the UAE, a valid driving licence is required. 

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Find about border limitations 

Rented cars cannot be driven beyond the border into UAE’s neighbouring countries. This is a strict policy that all rental companies in the UAE adhere to. 

Know the minimum age limit 

In the UAE, the minimum age for obtaining a driving licence is 18. Most rental companies allow 18-year-olds to rent a car. However, a few have set their minimum age limit to 21 and 23. Get this cleared before moving ahead with the formalities of renting a car. 

Keep the documents required handy

When you are finally ready to rent the car, make sure you have these with you and are ready to be shared with the company. 

For residents: 
  • Valid Emirates ID (EID) 
  • Valid driving licence 
  • Security deposit 
For tourists: 
  • Original passport
  • Original visit visa
  • International driving permit
  • Original driving licence from their home country

After reading these tips, you are set to rent and drive a car around Dubai. It is time to plan all the touristy things you can do. Here is a good start, you can explore UAE Nature’s Hidden Gems for Your Next Staycation. Happy Driving! 

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