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Definitive guide to car hire terms

Car hire glossary

Some of the language surrounding car rental (and the terms and conditions) can be confusing. To help you navigate the 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 may 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

A fee 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, however a medical certificate is recommended for drivers over 75. Ultimately, it is a depot’s prerogative to rent their vehicles to any persons over the age of 75.

Age surcharge

This is commonly a surcharge 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. Each car rental provider will have different daily surcharges for this, but in all cases, it will be included in the cost of your rental car.

Airport concession fees / Premium location fees

This is a fee levied on the car rental providers by federal airports and city councils. It 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 the bike carriers attached to the top of a vehicle. Only certain depots will allow bike racks to be fixed to their vehicles.


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

An additional amount charged for credit card transactions.

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 required if the name on the credit card does not match the name of the driver on the booking.

Child seats

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

Debit cards

If paying by debit card, please note that most rental brands will only accept debit cards with the Visa/Mastercard logo, while others will only accept debit cards in limited circumstances. It’s also important to note that some car rental depots will not accept debit cards at all. We recommend checking your options prior to making your booking.


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. Drivers may also opt 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 amount you will be financially liable to pay if the rental car is damaged during the period of your booking.

Excess reduction

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

Express return

If you need 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.

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 in the event this limit is exceeded.

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 is now offering vehicles fitted with hand controls for wheelchair accessibility.