Car rentals do have certain restrictions that apply, and it is always important to know the contracts and to know what you are and are not allowed to do before signing the agreement
Car rentals do have certain restrictions that apply, and it is always important to know the contracts and to know what you are and are not allowed to do before signing the agreement. While individual contracts may vary, and it is always important to read each individual contract you agree to, there are some basic common limitations with all car rental companies, and some others that are common enough to be worth asking about.
A common restriction actually involves age. Most car rental companies will not rent a vehicle to someone who is under 25 years old. There are a few who will rent to individuals who are between the ages of 21-24, but be prepared for an additional daily fee and possibly a longer list of restrictions than before. One restriction, at least from United States rental companies, is that taking the car to Mexico is never allowed. In addition, the far majority of rental agreements clearly state that the car should not go on any roads that are unpaved, whether gravel, dirt, or otherwise.
Generally, the car you rent needs to be returned to the location where you originally picked it up. There are some exceptions, though these matters should be discussed prior to signing the contract. Many of the larger companies will allow a car to be returned from one city in a state, to another city in that state. This happens often in Florida and California. Once again, this should be discussed before renting. The last thing you want is to drive from San Francisco to San Diego only to find out you need to return the car in San Francisco. Sometimes this will result in an extra charge, but depending on the rental company you use, it is possible to find deals on one-way rentals that come without an extra fee.
You need to ask if there is limitation on the places you can drive the car to, in-state, out-of-state, or even out-of-country. The out of state is an important one. You will be charged extra fees if they find out you went out of state. It used to be that there was no way for them to find this out, but now with GPS you can pretty much assume you will be caught, so be straight forward with the rental people on this matter.
Those are the most common restrictions put on rentals. If there is anything else you are concerned about: ask. Ignorance doesn?t get you off the hook, so ask as many questions as you need to in order to feel good about your contract, because in the end it is your dime.