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Car rental in
New Zealand

Rent a Car in New Zealand, is very easy as soon as you have a valid driver's license from your country (in case you driver's license is not in English, a side paper with the translation will be helpful). Your driver's licence will be requested by the rental company as well as eventually by police. It is important to know that some companies will not rent a vehicle to people with 23 years old or less, and some may do with restrictions or premium increases. All ways ask the company before renting the vehicle about any restrictions they may have.


One of the big mistakes some people do by the time they rent the car, is not understand well the car insurance system regarding "Comprehensive Insurance". Basically al companies offer this insurance included in the rental price, but many tenants don't pay much attention to what is called the "Excess". To make it very clear, when you rent a vehicle the comprehensive insurance supposed to cover everything about the car but not the Excess. So for example, if you rent a car like the one on the photo above, which may be valued around $ 12.000, if you destroy the car (total loss), the insurer in the policy will cover all the costs, but if you hit a tree with small damages, the insurance will pay for everything except the value of the Excess. In the case of the car of the photo, the Excess can be something around $ 1000, which you'll have to pay from your pocket. In other words, the Excess is an amount not insured which is used to cover small damages to the car such as scratches, lumps, bumps, and in some cases even tyres and wind shields. (ask the company if the insurance cover the last two, because some don't). The good news is that you can insure the Excess in total or partially paying an small amount of extra money. Always consult the rental company about the excess, tyres and windshield inclusion in the policy.

  Most of the biggest car-rental campanies in New Zealand operate with offices distributed on the major tourist cities around the country. New Zealand has basically only one access hub road which runs from North to South (interrupted by the Cook Straight), meaning that on most of the itineraries the driver will have to take twice that same part of road. Many car rental companies allow you to pick up the car in one city and drop it off in another paying an extra fee for that. This may save you not only time but also money for not travelling twice the same road. Some tourists for example fly to the last city of the itinerary and make the way back by road or vice versa. Usually if the car is dropped off at the airport the company pays for the parking (always ask your rental company before do that).

One of the most frequent asked questions about renting a car is about the type of car to rent. New Zealand roads even the very secondary ones are good tar roads. In years of travelling New Zealand I never needed a 4 well drive car, and the few times I had to rent a car, a small sedan was more that sufficient and economical. After many trips, we came out with the conclusion that travel by a car and staying in motels along the way was about the same cost than travelling in a motorhome and paying the Caravan Park (Trailer Park). Both, a Campervan, or a Motorhome are excellent options to travel New Zealand, with the advantage that you have a stove to cook your meals or lunch along the way, and a bed to have a nap if tired. For the North Island, a Campervan or a Motorhome are ok, all year round, but for the South Island during winter time can be a little bit freezing inside during the cold nights.

Warnings: Before renting the car it is very important to do a very good visual check on everything on the car such as scratches on the paintwork, bumps and windshield. Every crack, every bump or scratch has to be written on a special paper supplied free from the rental company, other ways you incur the risk to be charged for that. Also most car rental companies in New Zealand charges a bond for the excess. So don't be surprised after giving your credit card number, and sign the rental papers, you notice that the total cost is in blank. I've notice this is a common practice in New Zealand. Of course if at the end of the rental term, if nothing happens with the car they will put the previous combined price. The fuel tank of the car should be supplied full and by the time you return the car it must be left also full.

If you are not from a country where the driving is done on the English hand side (drive at the Left side of the road) you may need extra attention while driving in New Zealand. Some people from countries such as United States which drives at the right hand side of the road, take a flash driving course with a Driving School for one hour or two just to get familiar with the traffic rules, roundabouts, and give was, etc... Some rental car companies have this leaflet for free or you can by at any petrol station of convenience shop for about 7 bucks. In the English hand rule the most basic rule is that everyone that comes from your right have the preference. In other words. You have to give way to any vehicle coming from your right side (This includes intersections, roundabout and crossings. Beside the fact New Zealand roads are very good, just a few roads have side lanes for you to pull over and stop. Most roads end direcly on the grass and you can pull over on the grass as soon as you make sure it is flat and safe. Drink and Driving results in very hight fines and even prison as well as the use of seat belts is compulsory for all passengers in front or in the back of the vehicle. Take special care early morning when cold due to the frost on the road). In case of an accident or emergency contact Police by dialling "000" . Any accident must be reported to the local Police, including for insurance purposes.

  Some Car-rental companies in New Zealand.

 Car Rental
 Motorcicle Rental
 Campervans/Motorhomes Rentals
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