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How to rent a car in Canada

The eternal conflict... We all think that when we travel to Canada, we'll rent a car and drive around the country in search of adventure. But sometimes we forget about the practical side. How to find the best price? Should I take the insurance that is offered to me? Follow me, I'll tell you everything you need to know on the subject ;)

Find the cheapest price

As a general rule, rental agencies are much cheaper around airports than in the city center. While some people see this as a distance problem, we see it as a price advantage. Renting a car at an airport will usually cost you 3 times less than in the city center for the same amount of time. With the money saved, you can even take an Uber in group and it will still be cheaper. To compare prices, I go most of the time on and I never had any problem

Be careful with the schedules!

Another advantage of renting at the airport and not in the city center. At the airport, you can pick up and drop off the car at almost any time of the day and on any day (including holidays). Whereas a good part of the agencies in the city center do not accept the return of the car outside the office hours (8am-5pm).


I think this is the point that is confusing for many people. Should I take the insurance or insurances that are proposed to me in the agency. Some of them will be useful or even essential depending on your situation.

The insurance proposed on the websites

When you rent through a comparison site such as Kayak or Priceline, never take the insurance that is on these sites. This insurance is usually only valid for the comparison site and is never recognized by the rental company. It's like throwing money out the window. It is better to wait until you are in front of the rental counter to choose your insurance directly. Whether you buy it early or late, it won't change the price.

Third party liability coverage

This insurance is ESSENTIAL and covers the damage you inflict on others, both material (other vehicles, collateral damage) and bodily (e.g. hospital expenses to third parties). You must ask at the reception if this insurance is already included in the price of the rental (and it is rare). This insurance is an extra charge that you will have to add even if you have a credit card.

Exempt: If either of you have car insurance, check your policy. Most auto insurance policies also extend coverage to rental cars from a rental company.

Collision Damage Waiver or CDW

CDW stands for Collision Damage Waiver. It insures only the damage that the car you rent will suffer. Many credit cards in Canada cover this damage. So check the benefits offered by your card.

Theft insurance or LDW

LDW stands for Loss Damage Waiver. It covers theft of items you may have in the car but also theft of the vehicle itself. For those who have a credit card, in general, the theft is also included in the guarantee of your CDW (read your contract).

WARNING: In case you have an accident on the car, you must call the number written on your credit card and not the number of the rental agency.

Small traps to avoid

If you choose a rental company with which you are not familiar, check out their website before making a reservation:

The rental company that bets everything on the insurance: some rentals are less expensive than others, but they bet to make you take an insurance on everything: the wheels, the windshield.... which can be very expensive in the end.

Mileage: how far do you want to drive? Some companies offer unlimited mileage while others limit you to 200 km per day.

Gas: be sure to note your gas level before you leave. They can give you a full tank or a half-full tank.

Your itinerary: check your itinerary. Additional costs may be incurred if you change provinces, or if you cross the border into the United States. Also, if you drive on highways that require a fee or if you get a ticket for a violation.

Age: to rent a car it is better to be at least 25 years old because it will cost you less in insurance and rental. In addition, some companies prohibit renting to anyone under 21 or 23 years of age.

Prohibitions: It goes without saying that most of the time, it is forbidden to smoke in the car or to carry pets under penalty of receiving extra charges at the end of the rental.

The limit of your card: Be careful, in general you have to pay both the amount and the rental AND a blocked amount between 500 and 700 dollars. So make sure you have a fairly high limit on the card you use to make your reservation. Oh yes, and of course the card owner must be the main driver.

The little extra tips

Almost all cars are automatic. So no worries for you to drive any car.

Tolls: If you still need to drive on paid highways, you don't have to stop, some highways automatically flash all cars. The agency will charge the payment directly to your card.

Almost all rented cars are gasoline-powered: When you fill up at the station, no matter which pump you use, most of the time only gasoline is delivered. If the pump delivers diesel, you will see a lot of trucks around and a big diesel logo marked on the pump.

Where is the tank? You can check this without leaving your car, usually it's indicated by a little arrow on the gas logo of your car.

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