Car rental road trip in Ontario


What Do You Need to Rent a Car in Ontario?

In this article, we'll uncover:

  • Key requirements and documents needed for renting a car.
  • Age-related considerations and additional charges that may apply.
  • Insights into insurance and payment options for car rentals.

Last Updated February 5, 2024

9 min read

Renting a car in Ontario is a straightforward process, but it does require certain documents and meeting specific criteria. Whether you're a tourist, a business traveler, or considering a car subscription as an alternative, understanding what's required is crucial. This guide from Roam, your go-to for car subscriptions, will walk you through the essentials needed for renting a car in Ontario.

Essential Requirements for Renting a Car

Valid Driver’s License: The Primary Necessity

A valid driver's license is the foremost requirement for renting a car. Car rental companies in Ontario require that the driver’s license be valid at the time of rental and remain valid throughout the rental period. If you're an international driver, most companies accept a valid international driver’s license along with your passport.

Age Requirements: Understanding the Minimum Age

The minimum age to rent a car in most places in Ontario is typically 21 years. However, renters under the age of 25 might face an additional charge or be restricted from renting luxury cars due to higher risk factors. These age-related policies can vary between car rental companies, so it’s important to check in advance.

Financial Aspects of Renting a Car

Credit Cards: A Standard Payment Method

Credit cards are commonly used for renting a car in Ontario. Most car rental companies require a credit card at the time of rental for security purposes. The credit card must be in the name of the authorized driver and have sufficient credit to cover the rental costs and any potential additional fees.

Dealing with Deposits and Fees

When renting a car, a deposit is usually held on your credit card for the duration of the rental period. This deposit can vary based on the type of car and the rental company’s policy. Additionally, be aware of potential fees for late returns, fuel charges, and additional drivers.

Insurance Requirements for Renting a Car

Car Insurance Options for Renters

Car insurance is a crucial consideration when renting a car. While some personal auto insurance policies might cover rental cars, it’s essential to confirm this with your insurance provider. Alternatively, rental car companies offer various insurance options at the time of rental. These can include collision damage waivers, liability insurance, and personal accident insurance.

Understanding Your Coverage

It's important to understand the extent of the coverage offered by rental car insurance. Check whether it covers damage to the rental car, third-party liability, and any medical costs in case of an accident. Additionally, some credit card companies offer rental car insurance as a benefit, so it’s worth checking with your credit card provider as well.

Additional Requirements for Car Rentals

Acceptable Driving Records

Car rental companies in Ontario often check your driving record at the time of rental. An acceptable driving record typically means having no major violations or accidents in recent years. If you have a record that includes DUIs, reckless driving, or excessive speeding, you might be denied a rental. It's advisable to review the rental company's policy regarding driving records beforehand.

Additional Authorized Drivers

If you plan to share driving responsibilities, the additional driver must also meet the rental company's requirements. This includes having a valid driver's license and being of acceptable age. There may be an additional charge for each authorized driver added to the rental agreement.

Understanding the Total Cost of Renting a Car

Estimating Your Total Rental Cost

The total cost to rent a car in Ontario involves more than just the base rental rate. It includes taxes, any additional fees for extra services like GPS or child seats, insurance costs, and fuel charges. When booking your rental car, it's important to ask for a detailed breakdown of all costs to avoid surprises.

Finding the Best Rental Deals

To find the cheapest car rental company or the best deal, compare prices across different rental car locations and websites. Booking in advance, especially during off-peak times, can often secure better rates. Additionally, some loyalty programs and credit card affiliations offer discounts on car rentals.

Car Subscriptions: A Convenient Alternative

How Car Subscriptions Differ from Traditional Rentals

Car subscriptions are emerging as a convenient alternative to traditional car rentals, especially for those who require a vehicle for a longer period. Unlike standard rentals, car subscriptions allow you to use a vehicle for an extended time, often with more flexible terms and inclusive pricing. This can be particularly appealing for people who want the convenience of a car without the long-term commitment of ownership or leasing.

Benefits of Opting for Car Subscriptions

Car subscriptions in Ontario, like those offered by Roam, can provide several benefits. They typically include insurance, maintenance, and often road assistance within the monthly fee, creating a hassle-free experience. Subscriptions offer the flexibility to change cars or cancel the service without the penalties associated with long-term contracts or leases. This model is ideal for those who want a simple, all-inclusive approach to having a car.

Making the Right Choice for Your Needs

When deciding between renting a car or opting for a car subscription, consider your specific needs, budget, and how long you need the vehicle. If you're looking for a short-term solution for travel or business, traditional renting may be more suitable. However, for extended stays, frequent travel, or as an alternative to buying, car subscriptions offer a hassle-free, flexible solution.

In conclusion, renting a car in Ontario requires understanding the various requirements, from having a valid driver's license to meeting age and credit criteria. By considering all these factors and exploring options like car subscriptions, you can make an informed decision that best suits your transportation needs in Ontario.

Try a Roam Car Subscription today

Book your first car subscription in minutes and leave the burdens of traditional car ownership behind.

Sign up

Disclaimer: Roam is not affiliated with or endorsed by any automaker in any way. All product names, trademarks, and trade names are the property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Roam is not affiliated with or endorsed by any automaker in any way. All product names, trademarks, and trade names are the property of their respective owners.

Canadian Flag IconProudly Canadian