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Need help with your car rental?
Phone: 1300 722 920

Definitive Guide to Car Hire Terms

car hire glossary australia

Not sure what car rental terminology actually means? Some of the language used in car rental terms and conditions can be confusing. To help you navigate the rental process, VroomVroomVroom has put together a guide to some of the most commonly used terms in the industry. 

Additional Driver 

Additional Drivers are recorded at the time of Pick up. The suppliers do not add these details to the reservation. Additional Drivers need to present their drivers licence to the rental staff to be recorded on the Rental Agreement. Some suppliers may charge extra for Additional Drivers.

Administration Surcharges

A fee applied to the Total cost to cover the State Contract Stamp Duty Costs.

Age Limit

There is no set maximum driving age however, a medical certificate is recommended from drivers over 75. Ultimately, it is locations' decision if they will rent to a person over the age of 75. 

Age Surcharge

Drivers Age Surcharge is for drivers aged between 21 - 24. The surcharge is to cover the extra insurance costs related to a driver under 25 years. Each supplier will have different daily surcharges that would be added to the total booking cost.

Airport concession Fees / Premium Location Fees

This is a fee levied on the car rental suppliers by the Federal Airports and for Premium Locations within a CBD. This is a percentage surcharge that applies to the cost of the rental (and extras where accepted) and ranges from 3% - 29%.

Bike Racks

Refers to the bike carriers attached to the top of a vehicle. Only certain depots will allow bike racks to be fixed to their vehicles.


The bond is the deposit amount that a customer makes at the car rental depot. This amount is dependent on a number of factors, including the supplier, vehicle type and location. 

Credit Card Surcharge

The credit card surcharge is an additional amount charged for the use of a credit card when paying for the rental. Currently, Avis and Budget are the only suppliers with no credit card fee. 

Credit Card Authority Process

In Australia, Hertz and Avis 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 required if the credit card is not in the lead driver's name. 

Child Seats

In Australia children under seven years old should be seated in a child seat. Different types of child seats include rear facing, forward facing and booster seats. 

Debit Cards

Avis, Hertz, Budget and Thrifty will accept debit cards with the Visa/Mastercard emblem at most locations, with some exclusions. Europcar will only accept debit cards in limited circumstances. 


Not all toll roads have cash booths, so payments are made electronically with E-Tags. Drivers can also opt to pay for their use of a toll road with a pre-paid pass or with a credit card over the phone within 48 hours. 


Refers to the amount a customer will be financially liable to pay if any damage is caused to the vehicle during the rental period. 

Excess Reduction

Suppliers offer excess reduction at the counter, with varying amounts of protection. Excess reduction is not compulsory in Australia.

Express Return

There are express return boxes for early returns if staff are not likely to be there during the hours you will be returning the vehicle. Customers can leave the car keys and paperwork in these security boxes. 


If you incur a fine while you are driving your rental car, your car hire company will either charge your credit card for the amount detailed on the fine, or supply your information to Law Enforcement Agencies. 

Flight Details

Providing your flight information allows suppliers to ensure a staff member is available for a confirmed reservation if there are any flight delays. 

Grace Period

Hertz and Europcar allow a 29 minute grace period, and Thrifty, Avis and Budget offer 59 minutes for car rental returns. Some suppliers will charge the customer for the full cost of the next day if the vehicle is returned after the grace period. 

International Driver's Permit

An International Driver's Permit is a multi-language translation of the driver's licence from the issuing country. This permit must be presented with their original driving licence. 

Limited Kilometres

This refers to the limitations to the amount of kilometres a customer can travel in their rental car. 

One Way Fees

If applicable, one way fees are included in the total cost on the VroomVroomVroom website. One-way charges vary, and apply when a customer is dropping off a car at a different location to where they picked it up. 

Provisional Licence

Most suppliers will not accept a provisional driving licence. If they are accepted at a certain depot, an additional surcharge is likely to apply.

Roadside Assistance

If a customer has a breakdown while they are travelling in their rental car, all suppliers offer a form of roadside assistance. 

SIPP Codes

These codes are used by car rental companies to summarise the key features of a vehicle. This makes it easier to compare vehicles by grouping similar vehicles together. 


Europcar is now offering vehicles fitted with hand controls so that customers can more easily transport wheelchairs.