16 Things You Need To Know When Renting A Car In South Africa

You have decided to travel to South Africa, one of the most colourful and exciting countries in the world. However, you are not entirely sure about getting to and from your planned destinations. Below we tell you everything you need to know about renting a car in South Africa.

1. Do I Really Need To Rent A Car In South Africa?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-1

For a visitor, a vehicle is essential. The public transport system is not as streamlined as European or American countries, and there are often not many bus or suburban train systems operating regularly or timeously. 

Distances between towns and cities dictate that a rental vehicle is the safest and most affordable way of travelling within the borders of South Africa. While you can use Uber to travel to your destinations, it can become highly costly depending on the distance between the points.

2. When Should I Rent A Car In South Africa?

Always, a rule of thumb to book well in advance, especially over the peak summer holiday seasons. At peak periods there are often shortages of rental cars available. 

Star Car Rental offers a booking service which does not require payment in advance, nor even your credit card details, provided that the car is for collection at the airport or an inner city branch wherever you are in South Africa. Should you have to cancel for whatever reason, there are no penalties. Rather be safe than sorry and be assured of a rental car on arrival.

3. What Are The First Steps To Take Before You Rent The Car?

Decide what type of car you want before renting a car. Think about whether you want a hatchback or sedan, a manual or automatic, and consider how many people are travelling in the car. Study the car rental websites for pictures of the vehicles on offer and the features for guidance.

Once you select the type of vehicle you would like to rent, request a quotation from the rental company concerned. It is recommended that you try a few. Star Car Rental offers a wide variety of vehicles from several of our internationally renowned suppliers. We can advise as to the most suitable type of vehicle and will always offer the most competitive prices. Beware extremely low prices for obvious reasons.

4. How Do I Evaluate The Car Rental Quotations?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-4

Most car rent quotes provide the bare minimum of details, so firstly check to see exactly what the price includes. This often will include unlimited kilometers; TLW [Theft and Loss Waiver] and CDW [Collision Damage Waiver] and possibly vat. That is the easy part but leaves you pretty much in the dark realistically. 

The next and vitally the most important….Check to see what the quote does not include. This is often like looking for a needle in the proverbial haystack.

Does it include windscreen or tyre and rim damage?
These are the most common damages that occur.  Damage to a windscreen depending on the vehicle can cost you a few thousand rand that you have not budgeted for.

What is the amount of the waiver?
Clients often discover too late that if they have an accident that the waiver is as high as R10, 000, and even a lot higher. This is always the most difficult figure to obtain in the quotation, particularly in an automated quote.

Another thing to look for is what are you covered for third party damage as part of the car rental insurance?
Airport surcharges, if not included, can set you back an extra 11% of the rental value. The cheaper the price quoted is often the most expensive in the long run, as car rental is no different from any business pricing model. 

It is often difficult when booking online to get the finer details as it is often not disclosed. This can result in a financial shock should you be involved in an accident or have the vehicle stolen. Star Car Rental provides a detailed quotation that is rare in the industry.

Are the rental vehicles new models?
There are many smaller companies that fail to disclose that the vehicles are several years old with very high mileage.
Most reputable companies in South Africa will have cars that are no more than 6-9 months old with mileage generally no higher than 50000 kilometers.  

From November onwards, most companies re-fleet so that a high percentage of the cars are in fact brand new over the peak summer season.

What refundable deposit is payable on arrival? 
Not knowing in advance can have an impact on your travelling budget. Often you only find out on arrival. We provide these details with the quotation, so that you know exactly how much you require on your credit card when taking delivery.

5. Should I Pay For My Rental In Advance?

Knowing how and when to pay for car rental is important. Our advice is never to pay in advance for the simple reason that, should you experience unforeseen circumstances or have to cancel your trip, then you are saddled with the inevitable hassle of trying to get a refund. Several rental sites insist on up-front payments but it is certainly not recommended.

Car rentals can be booked and confirmed without having to make any advance payments and bookings can be cancelled without penalty provided cancellation is made before arrival. With certain types of vehicles, such as the super luxury vehicles, there are terms and conditions which require a minimum cancellation period.

During peak seasons, some car rental companies will require you to provide your credit card details in order to confirm a vehicle; however most companies will only debit your credit card on the day of your arrival.  This should be made clear in the quotation you receive.

Time is not an issue as you still have to finalise the contract, pay deposits, and fine-check your vehicle.

6. Does The Car Rental Company Provide Country Wide Back-Up Service?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-6

If you are travelling long distances and want to hire a car in South Africa, it is important that should something unforeseen occur, such as a breakdown or at worst an accident, you need to have the peace of mind that help is never too far away to get a replacement vehicle. 

Smaller companies do not offer this facility, and many do not permit their vehicles to travel outside of a specific radius from their depot. All vehicles booked with Star Car Rental, however,  have full countrywide backup within the borders of South Africa and in some cases beyond.

7. What Level Of Car Rental Insurance Cover Is Necessary?

Up to 70% of South African car owners and drivers are not insured so it is vital to have insurance for your car hire in South Africa. When renting a car, it is important to understand that you remain liable for the damages to the car, irrespective of where the fault lies.

The rule of thumb is to take the best possible insurance available. A lower price generally reflects a much lower insurance package in terms of coverage. Star Car Rental offers the lowest excesses and often zero excess for international visitors, making us a more affordable option. Insurance is a grudge expense, but you cannot do without it.

8. What Should The Car Rental Insurance Cover?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-7

Most rental insurances do not cover glass and tyre cover, undercarriage damage, hail and water damage, and single car accidents where no other vehicles or animals are involved.

Some car rental insurance excludes drivers who are not on the contract, reckless driving, and driving under the influence, amongst others. Star Car Rental quotations always specify what exactly is covered and the cost to cover any item not generally covered.

9. On Arrival What Do I Need To Do When Collecting My Rental Car?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-9

Go directly to the designated car rental office and ensure that you have with you the following:

  • Your driver’s license which must have a photo and description in English, or must have an accompanying English translation if in another language. An international driver’s license is another option.
  • Your passport
  • Your credit card must not be a debit or cheque card.
  • Any additional drivers must accompany you with their respective licences and passports.
  • Ensure that the time you actually sign for the car is entered on the rental contract.

When having the car handed over, check, check, and check again and ensure that every mark, scratch or imperfection is noted on the hand over sheet and this includes chips on the windscreen. You can take pictures, if necessary.

Be sure to inspect the tread on the tyres and that the spare tyre and the tools are included, and ready to be used if necessary. This sounds a bit pedantic, especially when you are tired and irritable, but it is vital if you are to avoid being held responsible for damage you did not cause.

It goes without saying that you do the same when you return the car, so leave enough time to do so.

10. Will I Be Expected To Pay For Speeding Fines While Using A Rental Car?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-10

If you are not a resident of South Africa, but are renting a car in South Africa, then you are not expected to pay for speeding fines. Most traffic fines are received by the rental company, as the registered owner of the vehicle, and will only be seen once you have departed from the country. 

However, all car hire companies in South Africa will levy a charge against your credit card of an average of R300 to R350 for administrative fees, in order to prove to the authorities who was the driver at the time by means of providing them with an affidavit, as well as certified copies of the original rental contract. Your contract provides for this. 

Should you receive such a debit after you have left the country, we can provide you with a copy of the traffic fine for your records, on request.

11. Are There Kilometer Limits Or Does This Only Apply To Certain Instances?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-11

The limit can be anything between 300 km per day and unlimited kilometers depending on our specific supplier and length of the rental. Ultra Luxury vehicles are limited to 200 km per day with a rate per kilometre once that is exceeded. Your quotation will specify exactly what is included in the price.

12. Which African Countries Are Visitors Allowed To Visit With Their Rental Cars And Which Are Prohibited?

This can change depending on political and risk situations in neighboring countries, but Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland are normally allowed, subject to getting prior cross border clearance and the necessary paperwork.  

Zimbabwe and Mozambique are allowed on request. Make sure to always ask before renting a car in South Africa if you are able to continue your cross-country journey, so you don’t have to cancel your plans.

13. What Would Disqualify Someone From Renting A Car?

One of the major factors would be the age of the person wanting to hire a car in South Africa. Depending on the suppliers of the vehicle, anyone under the age of 23 is not eligible for vehicle hire. 

If you do not have a valid driver’s license or a valid form of identity, you will be disqualified from renting a car in South Africa. Always make sure that your driver’s license has an English translation if it is not in English, for both the rental agency and for any traffic police you might meet on your journey

14. What Process Should Be Followed If I Am In/Cause An Accident In The Rental Car?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-14

 By law, you are required to report to the South African police within 24 hours of the accident happening. If anyone has been injured, you are not allowed to move the vehicle until permitted by a police or traffic officer. 

You will also need to immediately notify the rental agency and provide as many details as possible. Avoid making any admissions of liability to anyone and take photographs of the scene if possible. These will be used for any insurance needs that may arise.

15. What Are The Road Conditions Like In South Africa?

16-Things-You Need-To-Know-When-Renting-A-Car-In-South-Africa-15

The road conditions in South Africa vary according to the area. In more rural areas, you might find that the roads are more dirt-based than tar-based, and there are likely to be more potholes. 

You may also find that road signs and traffic lights are few and far between in these rural areas, so be sure to watch your surroundings before stopping and slowing down. 

In residential areas, the roads are more built up but there are some instances of potholes and dangerous areas around traffic lights. Be sure to ask advice from locals about areas where there are larger holes in the road and where there might be other potential issues.

16. What Are The Rules Of The Road?

The rules of the road in South Africa are quite different to other countries, especially if you are from a country that drives on the right-hand side of the road. In South Africa, you will need to adjust to driving on the left-hand side of the road. 

If your journey will be taking you on any highways in South Africa, be sure to practice driving a little before you head out. There will be speed limits posted along almost every major road, including residential roads. It is important to adhere to these, as the traffic fines can become exorbitant. 

The average speed limit is 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour) in built up areas and 100 kilometers per hour (62 mph) to 120 kph (75 mph) on highways.

There are tolls on some main highways between provinces and within provinces. These tolls must be paid in order to continue your journey, and can cost anything from R13 ($0.78) to R96 ($5.77). Remember to keep cash on you, as not all are able to be paid with credit cards. 

The four-way stop street is common in South Africa, and it works on a first-come-first-served basis. These are often seen in residential areas but can also be used in more rural towns to relieve traffic. 

One important thing to remember is when you are using a petrol or gas station in South Africa, you will not be able to fill your car yourself. Workers known as petrol attendants will fill your car with fuel for you, and it is common practice to tip these workers R5 or R10.

So...Should I Rent A Car In South Africa?

The rules of the road in South Africa, and the road conditions, might be daunting to some drivers but by renting a car, you are able to have a more exciting experience in this sun-soaked country. It is also practical, as public transport in South Africa can be difficult in peak season times. 

If you are planning on going on a long cross-country drive or want to explore a province, it is much more economical to hire a car to drive yourself around. It is important to remember that most cars in South Africa are manual drives, so learning how to handle this is a good idea before arriving in the country. 

If you would like to hire a car for your next journey in South Africa, speak to Star Car Rentals to find out how to start our process.

This post was updated on the 30 October 2020.


How To Evaluate Car Rental Quotations

When you are looking at car hire in Cape Town, or in fact any other province, it can be difficult to sift through the quotes you will receive from the numerous car rental companies available in South Africa.

Unfortunately, many car hire quotes provide minimal details, so you need to check what the price includes. You might find some quotes that offer unlimited kilometres, a Theft and Loss Waiver and a Collision Damage Waiver. It is also important to ensure that the quotes include VAT (Value Added Tax).

However, you should also look at what the car rental quotes do not include. Below we discuss how you can effectively evaluate car hire quotes to choose what best suits your needs.

What Damage Coverage Is Included?


Car hire tyre damage and windscreen damage are the most common issues that occur. These are common issues. Ensure that you obtain cover for this as most quotes exclude this. Depending on the vehicle you have hired, this can cost you money that you have not budgeted for. Having this coverage can help you avoid any liability for accidental damages caused to the glass or tyres of the rental car.

Car hire windscreen damage covers the windscreen. The vehicle’s tyres are also covered, which help in any emergency situations. Windscreen damage cover is generally excluded from cover unless specifically included.

How Much Is The Waiver?


Often, people discover too late that in case of an accident, the waiver can be as high as R10, 000 and higher, in some instances. This is a difficult figure to obtain from some companies, especially if you are comparing automated car rental quotes. 

The car hire waiver will differ from company to company. While most offer full insurance, especially to inbound travellers, it is important to keep in mind that this full insurance only means that the highest waiver is offered. 

There are exclusions you should check, such as an accident not being caused by you physically hitting something, any undercarriage damage that might be caused by your journey, or even negligence from the driver.

What Is The Third Party Damage Coverage?


Third party damage covers you for damages and personal injury to a third party. It is included in most car rental quotes, but it is difficult to gain a clear picture when booking online. This can lead to a significant financial shock should you be involved in an accident while driving the rental car.

You must be sure to ask the car rental company for a full list of what is covered to be financially prepared. For example, you might find yourself in an accident where you have hit another car from behind, but due to the exclusions in your contract with the car rental company, you are liable for the damage to the rental vehicle and the other vehicle.

How Old Are The Car Rental Models?


This is important to consider, especially if you will be driving longer distances. You will need a newer car model rather than an older one for this type of journey. Many car rental companies in South Africa have models that are no older than six to nine months old, with only 50000 kilometers driven.

Make sure that you ask for the age of the vehicles on offer, as some companies may not disclose this online. A two-year-old rental car, for example, might have a high mileage on it, which could also lead to wear and tear on the vehicle.  However, from November onwards, many car rental companies will re-fleet, which means that many of the cars are brand new.

What Deposit Will I Pay?


It is vital to find out, before you arrive for your South African adventure, how much you will pay for your deposit. Ask exactly how much you require on your credit card before taking delivery, so that you are not caught unawares. Some car rental quotes will only show the deposit at the end of the quote, which can cause issues with budgeting for a trip.

Your deposit will be refunded when you have returned the car refuelled, and it has been fully checked by the car rental company. This Is provided that you have not incurred any charges or caused any damage to the vehicle during your trip.

What Is The Cancellation Policy?


Another vital aspect to consider when looking at car hire quotes is what the cancellation policy is. For Star Car Rental’s standard vehicles, provided that the vehicle is cancelled by email at least 24 hours before your arrival, there is no cancellation fee.

Some cancellation policies need at least 24 to 48 hours of notice, so that there is no loss of revenue on their side. You might find that luxury vehicle rental is a bit stricter, needing up to one week of notice to avoid cancellation fees. Always read the fine print and make sure you have left yourself enough time to cancel plans so that you and the car rental company are not left with financial difficulties.

Final Verdict

Choosing the right car rental company for your needs should never be an instant decision. Look at what is included in the quotations you receive to make the right call. The damage coverage, waiver, and the third-party damage coverage are all vital components to consider. 

Also look at the age of the vehicles on offer, the deposit you will pay and the cancellation policy. If you would like to rent a car for an exciting adventure around South Africa, speak to Star Car Rental today for our offers.

Chapmans peak drive with ocean and mountain view in Cape Town.

The Best Day Trip Locations In South Africa

Exploring our beautiful country is something that everyone should try once in a while. We have an abundance of stunning scenery to enjoy and some unique locations that have something for everyone to enjoy. 

Whether you are interested in day trip locations in Cape Town, or exciting day trips around Durban or Johannesburg, there are plenty of stops to choose from. And, if you opt for car hire in Cape Town to drive from province to province, you will save money and wear and tear on your own car. 

Now that we are able to travel between provinces again, you can explore some unique road trip locations in South Africa. Below we give just a few ideas of fun day trips for the whole family.

Kruger National Park


The Kruger National Park is one of South Africa’s most well-known national parks, among visitors and locals alike. It covers an enormous area of land of almost 19,485 square kilometres. If you are based in Johannesburg, it is an easy drive to this nature-lover’s paradise.  

Here you can experience the true wilderness of South Africa and see the Big Five game animals: lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo and leopards, as well as African wild dogs and even ground hornbills.

Sterkfontein Caves


The Sterkfontein Caves can be found nearby the Maropeng Visitor Centre, and can easily be visited during a day trip from Johannesburg. These ancient caves are part of a broader Cradle Of Humankind UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Inside the Sterkfontein Caves, many profound archaeological and historical discoveries have been made, including some of the earliest human remains. If you or anyone in your family is a history buff, this is sure to be a truly exciting journey.

Bo Kaap


The Bo Kaap is one of the most popular day trip locations in Cape Town, and if you opt for a budget car hire package, you can explore the surrounding areas and immerse yourself in the Cape Malay culture. In the Bo Kaap, you will find stunning, rainbow-coloured heritage houses, making for a very Instagrammable day out. 

You can spend the day on a Bo Kaap walking tour, learning more about the various heritage sites in the area, or even attend a Cape Malay cooking class. If you are new to Cape Town, a day trip to the Bo Kaap should be at the top of your to-do list to learn more about this colourful province.



Hermanus has some of the most breathtaking beach scenery in the Western Cape Province, and is ideal for those who enjoy whale and dolphin watching. The coast of Hermanus is untouched, and it is one of the more popular road trip locations in South Africa. 

You can look into car hire in Cape Town to make the journey to hermanus easier, and be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy after a day’s worth of exploring and driving. You can choose from a whale-watching boat tour or sit on the shore and look out into the azure blue of the see to spot a while or dolphin.



Prefer the slower, more laid-back road trip locations in South Africa? Book a budget car hire in Cape Town and spend the day driving to and around Franschhoek. The drive to this quaint Winelands town is, in itself, full of gorgeous scenery and the town is picture-perfect. 

Here you can taste delicious French cheeses and handmade chocolates, as well as purchase  a sumptuous selection of local wines. There is also a regular Saturday market and a diverse range of cafes to choose from for breakfast or lunch. Franschhoek is great for families and friends alike who want a more relaxed and indulge day trip.

The Drakensberg Region


If you are looking for day trips from Durban, driving to the Drakensberg region to explore the mountain range is a perfect choice. The area has some of the most incredible vistas in the province, including waterfalls, rock pools, caves, and grasslands. 

You could drive to a few stop off points on this day trip, ranging from unique cafes to short hiking trails. Be sure to choose the warmer months for this day trip, as during winter it can become extremely cold. Summer months make for stunning sunrises and sunsets for memorable day trips.

Become A Tourist In Your Own Country

South Africa has some of the most truly beautiful destinations in the world, and with a budget car rental, you can explore those closest to you on a fun and exciting day trip. From mysterious caves to untouched beaches, you are sure to find road trip locations in South Africa to meet the needs of even the most discerning of travelers. 

If you would like to start planning your next day trip, speak to Star Car Rental about our affordable car hire in Cape Town options.

Or Similar Car rental

What does “or similar” mean in Car Rental?

A common problem that arises daily during the Car Rental process are the words “or similar” when booking a specific group of vehicle. This is a bugbear for many travellers if they were unaware of this Car Hire practice when they fetch their car and were expecting a specific make and model.

Related: 8 things you should know when booking a car in South Africa

An example of the or similar car rental practice:

A client books a Group B, which is often advertised as a Volkswagen Polo Vivo hatchback. The client believes they booked that exact vehicle, but when they arrive at the airport a totally different make of vehicle has been allocated, and suddenly we have an unhappy client who believes they were lied to, or that the car rental company is inefficient and made a mistake. However there is a very specific reason for this practice.

Why do Car Rentals use “Or Similar”?

A short explanation is that all car rental companies purchase significant quantities of different vehicles from different manufacturers and often will have several different makes in the same grouping. All fall within the same or similar specifications common to that group.

The car rental industry is a very fluid type of operation with large numbers of vehicles being booked out and returned on any one day and as vehicles become available at the depot they are allocated to the next customer in line. It is therefore extremely difficult to allocate a specific vehicle make to a specific client at a specific time and date. Whilst you can request a specific make and model, the car rental companies will do their best to do accommodate you but it is not always possible and can never be guaranteed.

What happens if I have specific needs?

It sometimes happens that some customers are very tall or have special needs. If that is the case you should let the car rental company know beforehand in order for them to advise you of the best group of vehicle to select. This ensures the company is well aware of any particular needs you may have and that they have to allocate the right vehicle for you.

If you hire a car in South Africa you should be aware of 3 real life lessons about car rental insurance to protect yourself when choosing car rental insurance cover.

car rental fuel policy

South African Car Rental Fuel Policy

A common complaint from South African car rental customers is that they are charged for fuel top ups after having just filled the vehicle on return. The most common reason for this car rental fuel policy is the following:

1. There is a difference between a garage full tank and a car rental full tank:

Gas stations or petrol garages traditionally fill to what is known as the first click when the nozzle automatically switches off. Car rental companies on the other hand always fill the vehicles to brimful when the fuel can physically be seen in the pipe. The reason for this is to avoid any disputes as to what is “full” The difference between first click and brimful can be quite a few litres depending on the vehicle. When filling yourself always let the garage attendant fill to brim or just as it overflows to be certain. 

2. If your car is fetched from you, your car will need to be filled up again.

Fuel and mileage are measured depot to depot. This means that if your car is collected from you at any other place then it is topped up when it gets back to the depot and the kilometer reading is taken at that point.

3. A full Gauge does not always mean a full tank

Another common misconception is that if the fuel gauge shows full it means the tank is full. The gauge is very misleading and visually while showing full could well in reality need several litres to top up the tank.

For more car rental FAQ’s please visit our Car Rental Frequently Asked Questions section.

Car Rental Insurance

3 Real Life Lessons About Car Rental Insurance You Need To Know

You obtain a great cheap quotation that includes full car rental insurance. The quote is far better than other quotes you have received so you are feeling more than confident and you go ahead and book your rental car.

During your trip you accidentally collide with the rear of a top range Mercedes but happily breathe a sigh of relief that not only are there no injuries, and that you have full car rental insurance cover.

You report the accident to the Rental Company and then you find out about the harsh realities about Car Rental Insurance…


The rental company explains that you agreed to the terms and conditions of the contract, that in the event of your hitting another vehicle from behind, you are not covered. It is there in black and white and you signed it! Suddenly you are liable not only for the damages to the rental vehicle, but to the owner of the Mercedes you collided with.

That could land you with a liability that could easily run into a couple of hundred thousand Rands. Within a short few moments your trip went from idyllic holiday to real-life nightmare and you have no idea how you will ever repay this huge debt.

Car Rental Insurance




A beauty therapist hired a rental vehicle taking the highest possible insurance. Her first ordeal was swerving to avoid an animal in the road and she swerved off the road crashing into a rock face. Her second was realising that despite taking the highest accident and loss waiver available, she was not covered for the damage.

Unfortunately the exclusions she had agreed to kicked in and because her accident had not been caused by her physically hitting something she had no protection. She now owes some R300 000 for a written off rental car and some R50 000 for legal fees.

Ironically had she hit the animal she would have been fully covered.

Sunday Times on 27.9.2015 by Megan Power


An unnamed holiday maker was involved in an accident and caused damage amounting to some R150 000 and the insurers wrote the car off. The car was valued at R225 000. Again they took full cover insurance but were informed that their third party cover was limited to a maximum of R50 000. That meant that they were liable for the balance of some R175 000.

The small print of this particular rental company clearly showed that cover is limited, but like 90% of the average renter, few ever read the small print at the back of the rental contract.


Another unnamed holiday maker hired a sedan vehicle and on the spur of the moment and decided to travel to a game farm where one often encounters some terrible farm roads which result in severe damage to the undercarriage of the vehicle.

On returning the vehicle they found that they were liable for the total damages caused of some R30 000. Again because of the exclusions they agreed to, their contract clearly showed that any undercarriage damage was excluded.


People hate contracts and hate small print even more, so it is a known fact that maybe one in every hundred people ever take the time and trouble to read them. When something goes wrong then all hell breaks loose.

We all tend to look at the price and opt for the lowest possible one. The old saying is “you get what you pay for” and it is generally very true whether you are building a house, booking a holiday or renting a car.

Remember that rental companies rent similar vehicles, pay the same prices for the vehicles and have much the same operating costs so when a price is cheap there is a reason.

Car Rental Insurance


1. Keep in mind that car rental companies are not insurance companies and are not permitted to sell insurance in any event;

2. Each car rental company is different and while most will offer full insurance to inbound travelers, keep in mind that full insurance generally only means the highest waiver offered in terms of the rental car but there are always exclusions which you must check;

3. Find out most importantly what the extent of third party cover is. This means damages caused to other vehicles or property by your actions.  It varies between zero and unlimited in my research.

4. Check what damages are excluded from the car rental insurance cover? Water damage; undercarriage, non-accident damage; negligence; accidents involving no other vehicles; damage resulting from driving on unsuitable roads and the list goes on…

5. Very important to note is a common clause which gives the rental company in its sole discretion, the right to entertain a third party claim. If there are any breaches to the terms and conditions contained in the rental contract, the renter may well find himself fully liable for all the third party claims.



  • Opt for the best possible Car Rental Insurance cover that is available even if it does cost more.

  • Never take the lowest price without comparing the proverbial apples with apples.

  • Insist on your quotation containing all the information you want and never be hesitant to ask.

  • NEVER EVER, allow anybody else to drive the vehicle who is not registered as an additional driver.

  • Drive carefully, never recklessly, keep to the speed limits, stay sober and adhere to the terms and conditions of the car rental contract carefully to keep your risk as low as possible.


Star Car rental wishes you happy and safe motoring in South Africa.