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Definitive guide to car hire terms

Car hire glossary

Some of the language surrounding car rental in Australia — and the associated terms and conditions — can be confusing. To help you navigate the hire car rental process, VroomVroomVroom has put together a guide highlighting some of the most commonly used terms in the industry.

Additional driver

Additional Drivers can be added to your booking at the time you collect your rental car. The car rental providers do not add these details to the reservation itself, but additional drivers will be required to present their driver licence to the rental staff at the counter. Some car rental providers may charge a fee for each additional driver you add to your rental agreement.

Administration surcharges

The Administration fee is applied to the total cost of the rental car to cover the state’s applicable stamp duty costs.

Age limit

There is no set maximum driving age in Australia, however a medical certificate stating the driver is fit to drive is recommended — and often requested by depots — for drivers over the age of 75. Ultimately, the decision to rent a vehicle to a driver over the age of 75 rests with the rental car depot.

Age surcharge

An age surcharge is commonly levied for drivers aged between 21 and 24. This surcharge is to cover the extra insurance costs related to the driver being under 25 years of age. The amount of the daily surcharge varies from one car rental provider to another, but in all cases any age surcharge will be included as a part of your rental car booking process with VroomVroomVroom. In a case where having an additional driver is desired but the additional driver is under the age of 25, this is possible — as long as they meet the licence requirements. This will will attract extra charges for an additional driver and an age surcharge, both of which will be payable at the depot counter.

Airport concession fees and premium location fees

These fees are levied on the car rental providers by federal airports and city councils. The fee will be included in the total cost of your rental car (and any additional extras) as a percentage surcharge ranging from 3% to 29% of the base cost.

Bike racks

Refers to bike carriers that can be attached to the roof or rear of a rental vehicle. Only certain depots will allow bike racks to be fixed to their vehicles, so be sure to check before making your booking if bike racks are a requirement.


The security bond is a predetermined amount that will be charged to your nominated payment method upon collection of your vehicle. This amount is dependent on various factors, including the car rental provider, vehicle type, and location, and is generally refunded upon the rental car’s return. It is also important to note that most rental brands will not accept cash deposits.

Credit card surcharge

Credit card surcharges are an additional amount charged for credit card transactions. Businesses are permitted to charge a surcharge for paying by credit card, but the surcharge must not be more than what it costs the business to use that payment method.

Credit card authority process

In Australia, some rental brands have a Credit Card Authorisation Process that requires the owner of the credit card to go to an Australian depot to complete forms and provide identification to verify the use of their credit card. This is most often required if the name on the credit card does not match the name of the driver on the rental car booking.

Child seats

In Australia, children under seven years old are required to be seated in a child seat of some description. Types of child seats include rear-facing, forward-facing, and booster seats. Car rental depots may have a limited supply of child seats, so if you will require one, it is important to book your rental car well in advance to avoid missing out.

Debit cards

If you plan to pay for your hire car with a debit card, please note that most rental brands will only accept debit cards with the Visa/Mastercard logo. Other providers may only accept debit cards in very limited circumstances or not at all. We recommend checking your options prior to making your booking.


In Australia, an E-Tag is a device used for electronic toll payments. Your E-Tag will be detected whenever you travel on a toll road, automatically charging your nominated payment method. Each rental company has its own conditions for toll payment and may charge you additional administration fees for any unpaid tolls, so it’s a good idea to ask your provider about their toll payment policy when you pick up the car. Depending on the rental car provider, drivers may be able to choose to manually pay for their use of a toll road with a pre-paid pass or a credit card over the phone within 48 hours.


The excess is the amount you will be financially liable to pay if the rental car is damaged during the period of your booking. Without purchasing car hire excess insurance, this charge can range from $3,350 and $9,000 depending on the car type and the supplier.

Excess reduction

Car rental providers offer excess reduction products at the counter, with varying amounts of protection. The purchase of excess reduction insurance is not compulsory in Australia.

Express return

If you want to return your rental car early, you will need to leave the car keys and any applicable paperwork in the depot’s express return box if no staff are present.


In the instance you receive a fine whilst driving your rental car, your car rental provider will either charge your credit card for the amount detailed on the fine or supply your information to law enforcement agencies.

Flight details

To ensure a staff member will be on site to process your booking in the instance your flight is delayed, it is best to provide your flight details when placing your booking. Some providers require this information as a part of their booking process while it is optional with other providers.

Grace period

Some rental brands have a grace period for car rental returns. This can vary between rental brands. If you return your vehicle after the grace period, you may be charged for a full additional day at the current rate.

International Driver Permit

An International Driver Permit is a multi-language translation of a non-English-language driver licence. This permit must be presented with the original driver licence upon collection of the rental car.

Limited kilometres

Some rental vehicles may have limits on the amount of kilometres you can travel. Further charges will apply to your booking if you exceed the kilometre limit.

One-way fees

If applicable, one-way fees are included in the total cost of the rental car. One-way charges vary, and will only apply if you opt to collect and return your rental car at different locations.

Provisional licence

Most car rental providers will not accept a provisional driver licence. If a depot does allow a provisional driver to rent from them, an additional surcharge is likely to apply.

Roadside assistance

If your rental car breaks down, you will need to contact your car rental provider for roadside assistance.

SIPP codes

These codes are used by rental brands to indicate the key features of a vehicle. This makes it easier to compare vehicles by grouping similar types together.


Europcar offers vehicles fitted with hand controls for those who use a wheelchair.