What Do I Need to Rent a Car in Vancouver?

Whether you are a Canadian citizen or from elsewhere, requirements for renting a car in Vancouver, British Columbia, are the same. Once a valid driver's license from your county of origin is provided, the rules are applied to your rental with the same standards as Canadian citizens. Always check ahead to confirm this with the individual company. Generally, no international license is required to rent a car in Canada, and the minimum rental age is 18.
Where to Rent

The Vancouver airport is the easiest and most accessible place to rent a car in the city, but it's not always the least expensive. All major auto-rental companies operate from the airport, but they also have locations throughout the city, often in hotel lobbies, so it's best to check rates at other locations. Enterprise Rent-A-Car offers free pickup and drop-off in several locations throughout Vancouver. Also, check independent rental companies, but be aware that they may be more strict about insurance requirements. In addition to the price quoted for your rental car, you will be charged taxes; in Vancouver, these are called provincial sales tax and the goods, services tax. GPS and child seats are routinely available when renting in Vancouver.

Insurance

To waive the insurance offered by rental-car companies in Vancouver (called CDW or LDW insurance), you must provide proof of coverage by either your own auto insurer or the credit card company that issued the card you will be using. Call your provider ahead to verify what coverage you have and whether there are exceptions for driving in another country. A major credit card is required for all rentals, but a debit card is generally accepted as an alternative. The rental-car company will generally put a hold on your card for a higher amount than the rental, so make sure your credit limit is sufficient. If you have an accident while driving in Vancouver, you will have to deal with the International Company of British Columbia, which handles all accident reports in the city.

Driving Tips

Ensure your rental includes unlimited miles because there are many interesting things around Vancouver that require driving outside the city. If you get a ticket, your rental-car company is allowed to pay the ticket on your behalf and charge it to your credit card. Photo tickets are common in Vancouver, so beware of your environment. Vancouver operates on the metric system, meaning speed limits and gasoline prices will be stated in metric units. In Canada, vehicles travel on the right side of the road, and right turns on red are legal.

Wendy K. Leigh is a travel writer and photojournalist from Seattle. She is the Editor of "Islands America," a travel website for visiting islands within the United States. Leigh holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Washington.

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