Renting a car with Avis: Everything you need to know
We appreciate that renting a car can often be a confusing experience. Whether you’re renting for the first time or unsure of the process, you may have questions like how does renting a car work or what to check before renting a car. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place. We at Avis are focused on removing the stress and uncertainty that can come when renting a car.
There are plenty of reasons why you may need to rent out a car, whether your vehicle is being repaired, you’ve just landed at the airport, you’re travelling for work or perhaps you need a run-around for a weekend getaway. To get you on your way, here’s our no-nonsense guide on how to rent a car, including everything you need to know to let you rent with confidence.
Things to know before renting a car
So you don’t run into any unexpected dramas before any keys have even exchanged hands, we’ve put together this list of the most important things to know before renting a car.
What you should bring along when renting a car
If you are an Avis Preferred member and have booked via the Avis App, you may have completed an ID-verification process which enables you to bypass the counter entirely through one of our self-service car collection options available at certain locations..
For everyone else, when renting a car there are a few crucial things that you’ll need to bring with you. These include:
Your driving licence - You need to hold a valid driving licence to rent out a car in the UK. Be sure to bring it with you when you pick up the vehicle, as our staff will not be able to let you drive away without seeing it.
A credit card - You’ll need your credit or debit card with you to pick up your rental car, so don’t forget to bring it along.
Any additional drivers - If you plan on sharing time behind the wheel with anyone else during your rental, they will need to be present when you pick up the car to complete the appropriate checks. Make sure they bring their driving licence along with them as well. It’s also important to remember that any additional drivers will incur additional costs. Read here to learn more.
Photo ID (for international rentals) - If you are renting a car abroad, you’ll need to bring your photo ID with you, like a passport or driving licence.
How old do I have to be to rent a car?
While the law varies depending on the country you are in, the minimum age for renting a car in the UK is 23. You also need to have held a driving licence for at least one year. In addition, if you or your additional drivers are under the age of 25, you’ll need to pay an extra fee per day.
Age restrictions also vary by vehicle, with certain car groups not being available to drivers under the age of 25. For more details, read our Car Hire for Under 25s page.
Do I need insurance to drive a rental car?
In short – yes. To rent any car anywhere in the country, you must be insured to drive it.
Luckily, we offer insurance on all our rental cars, with several affordable options available. Click here to learn about the plans that we offer.
If you choose to insure with another provider, or your existing car insurance also covers rental vehicles, we also offer the option to rent vehicles from us without insurance. However, you should check with your insurance provider beforehand to avoid encountering any issues.
Many major credit cards provide insurance for rental cars at no additional cost. While this can help reduce the price of the rental, it’s important to check with your credit card provider. Some credit cards only offer limited coverage, while some offer none at all, so make sure you know the details of what they provide.
What type of rental car should I get?
Before looking at how to rent a car, it’s important to consider your requirements.
If you’re after a rental car for an inner-city business trip, we offer a range of small vehicles, perfect for getting you around urban streets in a pinch.
For those after a bit more space, we have a number of mid-size cars to rent, ideal for those travelling with heavy luggage.
And for drivers looking to bring the whole family along, we have plenty of large cars in our lineup to offer some well-needed breathing space over longer journeys.
To view our full list of options, check out our fleet here. As availability will vary depending on the location you’re renting from, be sure to check beforehand that the vehicle you’re after is in stock.
What added extras are available with my rental car?
We offer several added extras to include in your car rental package, such as car seats for children in a range of sizes, accessible hand control systems for disabled drivers, our new Travel Companion, which features GPS, internet, free calls and plenty more.
For our full range of available add-ons, visit our car hire extras page. You can include any of these in your package during the online reservation process, or to amend a previous booking, visit our Manage Booking section.
Unsure if you need a car seat for your child? Check out our parents' car seat guide.
What refuelling options are available?
When you collect your Avis hire car, it will come with a full tank of fuel. If you return with a full tank, there’ll be nothing left to pay. However, if you’d prefer to remove the hassle of refuelling yourself, we offer several options to make the process even simpler.
Our Fuel Up Front option lets you pay for a full tank of fuel upfront – at the average market piece – removing the need to refuel your car before returning it to us.
Alternatively, if you’re planning on driving for 75 miles (120km) or less, we’ll take care of your refuelling for a flat fee with our EZ Fuel option.
Finally, if you’re in a hurry and don’t have the time to refuel, there is the option to Pay On Return.
Read our full list of refuelling options here.
Picking up the car
Now you know how to hire a car, it's time to pick up your vehicle. When collecting your car, you should find directions to the pick-up point on your rental paperwork.
If you’re collecting from the airport, the rental counters will either be ‘on-airport’ meaning they’re in the terminal or very close to it, or are located ‘off-airport’ which will require either you to visit a ‘Meet & Green’ point or take a short shuttle bus to get there.
To help make picking up your rental vehicle as straightforward as possible, we’ve created QuickPass, our online service that lets you confirm your identification and payment prior to collection, helping you get on the road even faster.
Don’t forget, Avis Preferred members enjoy priority service when collecting their vehicles, without the need to use QuickPass. For more benefits like this, find out about our Avis Preferred membership here.
Hiring a rental car can be a stressful affair, particularly if you’re concerned about incurring extra costs due to vehicle damage. That’s why with every vehicle we rent out, we complete a Vehicle Condition Report for you to inspect and agree upon, ensuring any existing issues with the car are spotted before you set off. It’s just another thing we do to make renting a car that bit more simple.
Returning the car
When returning your rental vehicle, there are a few things to remember to make the process as seamless as possible.
Firstly, it’s important to know where you are going to drop off your rental car. If you have booked your vehicle online, you’ll have received an email confirmation explaining where to return it.
For those dropping their car off at the airport, you should just be able to follow the signs for rental car return. However, procedures may vary at different airports, so it's best to check before you leave.
We understand that you may need to return your vehicle outside of office hours, which is why we offer secure key drop boxes at many of our locations, letting you return your hire car when it suits you. Find out whether our 24-hour drop-off service is available at your hire station by entering the rental station name in our site's booking panel and checking its Location Details.
You won’t need to provide any paperwork when you bring your car back, as the Vehicle Condition Report that was completed on pick-up will have everything we need. We’ll then conduct our checks, looking for any damage not included in our initial report.
It’s important to check what refuelling policy you have signed up for as part of your plan. If you have not opted for one of our added refuelling options, be sure to return your vehicle with a full tank to avoid any extra costs.
Lastly, be sure you’ve gathered all your belongings inside the vehicle before you hand over the keys. Remember to check in the glove compartment and backseat pockets!
So there you have it, our guide on how to rent a car in the UK. We hope you’ll now have everything you need to know to hire your next rental car with confidence.
With locations across the UK, including most major airports, you can rely on Avis to get you where you need to be in a pinch. Check out our guides to some of the UK’s main airports below, including where to find us, important driving information and frequently asked questions.
For those landing at London Heathrow (LHR), read our guide to the UK’s largest airport, with all the information you need to make your visit a breeze. For those looking for something delicious to eat during their time at LHR, read our guide to the best spots to eat at London Heathrow.
Just landed in Birmingham Airport (BHX)? Read our guide to the airport, with information on rental pick-up and drop-off, as well as some frequently asked questions. Be sure to check out our guide to some of the best food options in BHX to enjoy while you wait.
Our guide to Manchester Airport (MAN) provides drivers with helpful information on exploring the surrounding area, as well as car rental information and FAQs.
For travellers to Scotland, read our guides to Edinburgh Airport (EDI) and Glasgow Airport (GLA), which include local driving tips and recommendations for scenic driving routes in the area.
We’ve also created a simple guide to Malaga Airport (AGP), ideal for those landing in the sunny Costa del Sol, with useful information on the local driving laws and recommended locations to visit surrounding the airport.
For those looking to make their airport experience as straightforward as possible, we’ve prepared this guide to dealing with issues at the airport. With information on flight delays, cancellations, lost baggage and more, we’ve put together everything you should know to make getting through the airport a walk in the park.
Car hire on your terms. Here’s what to expect:
- Fully flexible
Enjoy fee-free flexible booking with full cash refunds and no vouchers.
- Fully flexible
- Savings on coverage
When you choose Avis Inclusive you can experience total peace of mind with no extras or surprises. Pay one upfront price for free Roadside Assistance Plus and 25% discount on comprehensive zero-excess cover.
- Savings on coverage
- Loyalty benefits
Join our free loyalty programme Avis Preferred, and benefit from priority service, discounts and more.
- Loyalty benefits
- Safety first
From our well-maintained fleet to protecting your data, we take safety seriously.
- Safety first
- Faster collection
Save time at the counter by registering your details in advance with our simple and free QuickPass. You could be on the road sooner than you think.
- Faster collection
- VIP treatment
Get priority counter service on collection with Avis Preferred. At our larger locations you can use our Avis app to go straight to your car where the keys will be waiting for you.
- VIP treatment
Join our free Avis Preferred loyalty scheme and enjoy life in the fast lane
As a member you will have access to the perks of our priority service straight away. Plus, when you book direct with us you won’t find a cheaper Avis car anywhere else.
Here are some of the benefits that will come your way:
- A €15 voucher for your next trip after one rental.
- Priority service every time - jump the queue with pre-prepared paperwork and your vehicle at the ready.
- The full Avis App experience - Sign up, download our App and you’re in complete control of your car or van rental. Change or upgrade your rental as you approach a hire location, and choose the exact make and model you want. All at the touch of a button.
- A voucher for a free weekend after three rentals.
- Avis self-service car rental - in some locations, your keys and paperwork will be waiting for you in the car.