Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

What Car Rental Insurance Do I Need?

Car rental insurance in South Africa is an absolute necessity when visiting the country.

But it can be confusing if you are not fully aware of everything involved, which can lead to you choosing an option which might not provide you with full cover. 

Not sure where to start with rental car insurance in South Africa? Below we look at the most asked questions and provide easy-to-understand answers.

What Happens When I Damage A Rental Car in An Accident?

Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

If you are involved in an accident, you will need to obtain the names and details of the other parties involved in the accident. You will also need to provide them with your details, as well as the name of the car rental company. 

If the accident does involve another party, you must report it to the nearest South African Police Service within 24 hours. This will provide you with a case reference number, which is required by the rental company for the hire car insurance claim. 

You must report the incident immediately to your car hire company, as well as advise them of your location, contact details, and the details of the damages to enable a replacement vehicle to be sent if required. 

Take as many photographs of the accident and damages as possible for the insurance claim.

What Happens If A Vehicle Is Broken into Or Stolen?

Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

Vehicle theft is an unfortunate reality in South Africa, so it is important to know what to do in terms of car hire insurance. 

You must report the incident immediately to the nearest South African Police Services and obtain a case number. Once you have done this, contact the rental car company immediately and provide them with the police case reference number. 

You will also need to advise the rental car company of your location and contact details so that a replacement vehicle can be sent to you.

What Happens If My Rental Vehicle Breaks Down?

Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

It is always best to be prepared for a breakdown situation, which is why you need car rental insurance in South Africa. 

In case of a breakdown, your rental contract will have an emergency contact number listed. You should keep your contract with you while driving so you have easy access to this number. 

You will need to phone that number and provide them with your location, your contact number, and describe what the problem is with the vehicle. You must make a note of the name of the person you speak to. 

Contact your car rental company as well so that they can follow up on their side to ensure proper protocol is followed. 

A replacement vehicle will be dispatched to you as soon as possible.

What Happens If I Lose My Keys?

Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

If you lose your car rental keys, there is no need to panic if you have car hire insurance. Contact your car rental immediately to provide your contact details and location of the vehicle. 

A replacement vehicle will be arranged, but you will be charged a fee. It is best to keep the keys for the rental car in a safe, secure place when they are not in use.

Can Someone Else Drive My Rental Car?

Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

The answer to one of the most common questions, “Can someone else drive my rental car?” is no. Only people who are listed as drivers on the contract may drive the rental vehicle.  

If an unlisted driver is involved in an accident, you will be held responsible for the total loss, which may even be greater than the value of the vehicle.

You can add an additional driver, if necessary, by going to the depot where you received the vehicle, together with the additional driver, who must have their licence and passport with them to update the insurance for the car rental. 

The vehicle needs to be checked at the depot for damages, prior to adding the additional driver.  If in any doubt, contact Martin or Denise at Star Car Rental for advice.

What Third Party Damage Coverage Do I Need?

Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

Third party damage insurance will cover you for damages to other vehicles or property that have been damaged in an accident. 

Injury or death to persons involved in an accident is covered by the state-owned Road Accident Fund legislation. This is not covered by the Car Rental companies insurance.

Not knowing exactly what you are covered for can lead to a significant financial cost if you are involved in an accident in your rental car. 

Many companies offer the bare minimum of third party and accident cover, and that is often reflected in the lower daily rates offered.

Be sure to establish what exactly is covered and more importantly what is not.Make sure to read over all the exclusions in the insurance documents for your car rental. 

Live online quotations will often not provide any of the finer details. You need to do some digging. Most companies also limit the total third-party damage cover to a capped amount.

Star Car Rental quotations supply exact details of what is included in your daily rate. Feel free to ask us any questions.

What Does TLW And CDW Mean?

Star car what car rental insurance should you get blog car hire in Cape Town

There are some car rental insurance acronyms that might be confusing, so let us break them down. 

TLW means Theft Loss Waiver and CDW means Collision Damage Waiver

By accepting these waivers, your liability is limited to the amount of the excess, which is payable by you in the event of accident or theft of the vehicle. This is known as the excess portion.

Star Car Rental offers the options of a Nil excess at a slightly higher daily rate. 

If you decline to accept the waivers, you will find that most car rental companies will not conclude a contract. 

Most car rental companies will also not allow you to use your credit card insurance cover, and this is common in several other countries. You cannot contract out of insurance cover without depositing the full replacement value of the vehicle you are hiring.

Ensure You Are Insured

Understanding car rental insurance in South Africa will not only make your trip run smoothly, but it will save you from incurring costs that you could easily have avoided. 

If you know what to do if you damage a vehicle, if the vehicle is stolen or broken into, or if the vehicle breaks down can help to ensure no major issues crop up on your holiday. 

Scheduling in your next adventure to sunny South Africa? Choose Star Car Rental for affordable, easy car rental.

COVID-19 Travel Restrictions In South Africa: What International Visitors Need To Know

CURRENT LEVEL: ADJUSTED LEVEL 3 LOCKDOWN

COVID-19 in South Africa has changed the way we operate in many ways, especially when it comes to travel. 

The new Level 3 adjusted restrictions have restricted movements between borders and have enforced a curfew, but the most important rule to remember is that mask wearing is mandatory for every person in a public space, including retail stores and in public transport. 

Not wearing a mask in South Africa during this lockdown period is a criminal offence, and you will be subject to an arrest and liable for a fine of R1 500 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both a fine and imprisonment.

What Are The Travel Limitations During Lockdown In South Africa?

During the current adjusted Level 3 lockdown, there is a curfew from 23h00 until 04h00, unless you are attending to an emergency or have a permit to travel during these times. 

Interprovincial travel is allowed, which means you can explore all areas of our beautiful country with ease, but it is important to avoid spending too much time in the hotspots, as listed here

Restaurants and shopping centres need to close earlier for their employees to get home on time. The closing times for restaurants are now 21h30pm or 22h00pm to allow for cleaning and staff departure. You may need to book activities ahead of time, and be sure to arrive and leave well ahead of the curfew times. 

In terms of border control, the new travel restrictions in South Africa mean that the 20 land ports of entry that are currently open will be closed until 15 February 2021, including Beitbridge, Lebombo, Maseru Bridge, Oshoek, Ficksburg and Kopfontein, for general entry and departure. 

This, unfortunately, does not include leisure travel, which means you cannot plan a journey from South Africa into a neighbouring country when looking at hiring a car in South Africa.

What Are The International Travel Regulations?

If you are visiting from another country, there are some travel restrictions in South Africa you need to keep in mind.

According to international travel restrictions, only three international airports will be open, namely O.R. Tambo, Cape Town International, and King Shaka International Airport. Small passenger craft maritime travel is permitted, but cruise ships are banned from docking.

Travelers entering South Africa must provide a negative COVID-19 test that has been taken no longer than 72 hours before arrival in the country. You will also be screened when you arrive.

If you show COVID-19 symptoms, you will be required to take a test, and if your test is positive, you will be quarantined for 10 days at a designated facility. You must also provide proof of accommodation should you need to self-quarantine upon arrival. 

When leaving South Africa, you will be screened. The test results will determine whether you can leave the country. If you have tested positive, you will need to self-isolate, either at your own private residence or a designated location. 

Long-term visas will luckily be reinstated, and South African visa application centres abroad will be opened.

What Are The New Lockdown Regulations?

The new Level 3 lockdown adjusted regulations, which were put in place on Monday the 1st of February 2021, still allow you to to enjoy our beautiful country if you abide by them. 

Most indoor and outdoor gatherings have been banned, including social gatherings and gatherings at sports grounds. Alcohol sales are permitted, with off-sites sales allowed between Monday and Thursday from 10h00 to 18h00. On-site sales, at places such as restaurants, wine farms, and micro-breweries, are allowed throughout the week from 10h00 to 22h00 

All beaches, dams, lakes, rivers, public parks, and public swimming pools are open to the public, and you can enjoy the stunning scenery of South Africa by planning a self-drive safari through our numerous game parks and reserves

Botanical gardens and parks that have access control are still open to the public.You can enjoy a stroll around Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens or drive to Table Mountain National Park to enjoy the rugged scenery.

What Do The Different Levels Entail?

The different lockdown levels in South Africa can have an impact on how you can enjoy the country. Below we take a look at what they mean and how they differ.

Lockdown Level 1:

All travel from the African continent and from countries outside of Africa, with a low rate of infection and transmission, will resume. There is no domestic travel ban and interprovincial travel is permitted.The land borders will remain closed.

Travellers must provide a valid certificate for a negative test not older than 72 hours before the date of travel. If you cannot provide this certificate, you will need to quarantine at your own cost. 

All commercial seaports are open, but international travel is limited to the following airports:

  • OR Tambo International Airport
  • King Shaka International Airport
  • Cape Town International Airport

All people must wear a mask at social gatherings and while out in public, and you must adhere to the other health protocols in place. Recreational gatherings are limited to 250 people or less for an indoor event, and 500 people or less for an outdoor gathering. 

Sports grounds and fields are limited to 100 people or less for an indoor gathering, and 250 people or less for an outdoor gathering, and museums, galleries, and libraries are open for up to 100 people or less, which means you are able to look at car hire in Cape Town to visit exciting historical sites. 

Restaurants, taverns, and bars are operational with a limit of a maximum of 100 people inside, and the onsite consumption and sale of alcohol is permitted. All hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts, and guest houses are allowed to operate at full capacity of the available rooms, with guests maintaining a distance of one and a half metres while in common areas. 

The curfew is from 00h00 until 04h00.

Lockdown Level 2:

Interprovincial travel is permitted but international leisure travel is prohibited. Domestic air travel is allowed, but all passengers will be screened and tested. 

Beaches, museums, galleries, and public parks are open to the public, but the wearing of a mask while using these facilities and while out in public is mandatory. 

Theatres, concerts, and live performances are open to the public with a limit of 50 people while maintaining strict health protocols, which is great news for the outdoor music events that are popular in South Africa.

Sporting events are allowed without spectators, but this is still good news for sports fans as you can find videos of the events to watch and enjoy while on your South African adventure. 

For those who want to stay locally, all accommodation and tour operations are open but are subject to restrictions on the number of persons allowed, which is not more than 50% of the available floor space.

The curfew is from 22h00pm until 04h00am.

Lockdown Level 4:

Regarding travel restrictions in level 4, all borders remain closed, except for the transportation of cargo, goods, and fuel. No recreational visits are allowed during this time period and food from restaurants is only available for delivery. 

Public parks, sports grounds and fields, beaches and swimming pools, flea markets, night clubs,

casinos, hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, airbnbs, timeshare facilities, guest houses, private and public game reserves (except to house remaining tourists who are confined due to lockdown) are all closed to the public. 

All people must wear a mask while out in public, and adhere to the other health protocols.

The curfew is from 20h00 until 05h00.

Lockdown Level 5:

Only essential services are allowed to operate. Taxis, public transport, and private vehicles may only operate during certain hours of the day and with a limited passenger capacity. 

No interprovincial travel is allowed, except for transportation of goods or for funerals and work purposes. All people must wear a mask while out in public, and adhere to the other health protocols.

What Has This Meant For Car Hire?

For many car hire companies in South Africa, the hardest lockdown damaged their income significantly. This was because many non-essential companies were forced to stop operating, leading to bookings cancelled for both business and leisure. Many car hire companies had to waive cancellations fees, too.

The tourism industry suffered greatly, but thankfully, the new adjusted travel restrictions in level 3 have meant that people can once again explore South Africa and book a car hire in Cape Town, Johannesburg, or even Durban to experience the beauty of our country. 

Adhering to the rules of the lockdown in South Africa, whether you are local or visiting, is vital and will ensure your trip does not hit any obstacles.

Conclusion

Understanding the different lockdown levels in South Africa will help to make your journey easier and run smoothly. 

For when you are able to travel easily around South Africa, contact Star Car Rental today for our options.

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

How To Choose The Right Car For Your Trip

A trip around sunny South Africa can take months of meticulous planning, but the three most important ingredients for the best possible trip are simple: good company, a great route and… the right car for your needs. 

But, knowing how to choose the right rental car can be difficult when you realise how many choices are available to you. Below we provide a rental car guide for choosing the right car for your trip.

Step-By-Step

There are some simple steps you can start with that will make renting a car in South Africa easier and will help you to receive a more accurate quote from the car hire company.

Count Your Passengers

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

Before you look for a possible car hire in South Africa, you should start by counting the number of passengers you will need to carry. If you are visiting family or friends and you will be riding together with them, you will need extra seating. Think about both the children and the adults you might be riding with and how comfortable they will need to be.

Look At Your Luggage

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

Take out all of the items you are planning to take with you, including the suitcases. This will show you how much luggage you will be taking with you when renting a car in South Africa. Many car rental websites will tell you how many and what size of suitcase a car can carry, but might not account for oversized or irregularly shaped items.

Don’t Forget Fuel Economy

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

Fuel economy is an important consideration for any trip around a country. Research what the fuel economy is of the various models of cars, from SUVs to hatchbacks. Some websites for car hire in South Africa will have the fuel economy listed, which can help to find a model that best suits your requirements.

Ensure You Understand Insurance

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

One important tip to remember for how to choose the right rental car is to ask about and understand the insurance. Remember that full cover car rental insurance does not always mean full cover. For example, If you were to have an accident or incident, where no other vehicle, pedestrian or animal was involved, you may not be covered at all.

Think of reversing into your gate pillar, suffering trolley damage in a supermarket parking lot, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as common examples. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions before signing anything. Tyre and windscreen damages are always excluded unless specifically included in the quotation. Extra cover can be obtained for windscreen and tyres, on request, at a very low daily cost.

Considerations Before Renting A Car

After following the steps above, there are some considerations to take into account when it comes to car rental in South Africa.

Boot Or Trunk Size

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

The size of the boot or trunk of the car will have a direct impact on how much luggage you can take with you. The option to have roof bars on a rental car is not common, so you will need to carefully consider what boot or trunk size you need. A hatchback rental or sedan rental is an ideal option for those doing town driving who need a larger boot, while an SUV rental might be better suited for trips with less luggage.

Transmission Type

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

Renting a car in South Africa means that the most commonly rented vehicles have manual transmission, as this is the most commonly used in the country.  Rule of thumb is that vehicle groups A to C are always manual and the larger vehicles from D upwards are mostly automatic transmissions, Check with the rental company if unsure.

Extra Additions

Star Car Blog on how to choose the right car for a trip in Cape Town, South Africa

If you need any extra additions, such as a car seat for a child or a GPS system, be sure to book these at the same time you are booking your car. This will ensure you have all the necessary extras when the day comes to pick up your rental car. Some more specific extras might not be available, but you can remedy this by packing your own or hiring them while you are in the country.

What Type Of Car Do I Need?

Now that you have considered all of your options, you can think about the type of car you will need to make your adventure comfortable and enjoyable.

Hatchback

Hatchback rental with Cape Town Car Hire

Hatchback rental is a great idea if you are doing mostly town driving. They are generally the more affordable car rental options, are compact, economical, and can seat four people. However, the legroom and luggage capacity is limited.

Family Sedan

Family Sedan rental with Cape Town Car Hire

A family sedan rental can seat four to five passengers and are best suited to small groups. There is sufficient luggage space, both manual and automatic transmission, and are economical, too.

Luxury Sedan

Luxury Sedan rental with Cape Town Car Hire

Luxury sedan rental is ideal for those who want a little something extra for their trip.They have advanced features, lavish interiors with all the comforts you could want, and offer both manual and automatic transmission models. They are best suited to long distance business trips or international holidaymakers.

SUV And 4x4

SUV and 4x4 rental with Cape Town Car Hire

An SUV rental or 4×4 rental are perfect choices for the more adventurous journey. They offer comfort and ruggedness, and the ability to drive through the difficult South African terrain with ease. However, they are heavier on fuel consumption, which is an important factor to consider.

Passenger Vans

Passenger van rental with Cape Town Car Hire

A passenger van rental option is able to seat eight to ten people easily, ideal for large family or friend groups. They offer both comfort and space for passengers and luggage. These vehicles can be more difficult to drive than smaller cars, so remember this for any town driving.

Final Verdict

Choosing the right car for your trip does not have to be a daunting prospect. Start with the simple step-by-step process, look at all elements that are important to you, and remember to think about what the different car models offer.

 Start your South African adventure off in the right gear.  If you have any questions whatsoever, please feel free to ask us.  Contact Star Car Rental for an accurate quote. 

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

How To Plan A Self-Drive Safari In South Africa

South Africa has a diverse range of flora and fauna for visitors to enjoy and one exciting way to see the sights of our wilderness is through a self-drive safari that puts you in the driver’s seat, literally. 

As exciting as a self-drive safari in South Africa might sound, it is important to plan it correctly so you see the most animals and scenery possible, and so that you have the best off-road car rental options available for the trip. Here we give some top tips for planning a self-drive safari experience of a lifetime.

What Is A Self-Drive Safari?

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

First things first, a self-drive safari is a safari or game drive that allows you to drive yourself and your family around the park or game reserve. The Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park are popular choices, but you will need to look for a 4×4 for rent to tackle some of the more difficult roads and trails. 

The benefit is that you control the amount of time spent at each stop off point. Image this: on a game drive with a group of people, if you spot a pride of lions with their cubs, you will stay and enjoy the scene for a while until the guide decides it is time to move on…but you may have preferred to stay for longer and watch the lion cubs play.

On a self-drive safari with an off-road car rental, you are in control of how long you spend in certain areas and where you go. So, how do you plan this exciting adventure? Keep reading for our top tips.

How To Plan A Self-Drive Safari In South Africa?

Look For A 4x4 For Rent

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

Before you start plotting your route around Kruger National Park or Addo Elephant National Park, you need to look at off-road car rental or what 4×4 rental options are available. 

Using a two-wheel drive might be ideal for town driving, but a self-drive safari needs a sturdier vehicle, especially if you will be exploring game reserves that have inaccessible roads. You might miss out on viewing spots that are harder to reach with a normal car, which could mean missing out on some stunning scenery and animals.

Wake Up Early

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

A self-drive safari in South Africa is no time to be sleeping in and having lazy breakfasts. To see some animals in their prime, such as lions, you need to arrive before the sun is at its peak, as these predators are most active when the weather is cooler and the sun is lower in the sky. 

It is important to note that the gates of some nature reserves and game parks open very early, with the Kruger National Park opening at 4:30 am. With a 4×4 rental car to power your safari, this early morning start will be smooth sailing. The roads will also be quieter at these early times, which means that a self-drive safari will not be interrupted by guided tours.

Remember To Drive Slowly

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

A safari that you are in charge of should be something to remember, so it is important to drive slowly in your 4×4 rental, despite the power and speed of the vehicle. Not only will this allow you to see the animals and plants properly, but it is a requirement in many national parks. 

You should aim to drive at about 30 to 40km/h in the park, spending time concentrating on any movement or objects that are not bushes or shrubs, as some animals can be camouflaged by surrounding bush. This will allow you to stop in time for animals to cross the road easily, and for the designated photographer to snap some memorable pictures.

Fuel Up Fully

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

With the exception of the Kruger National Park, not many safari parks or game reserves offer internal fuelling stations. If there are stations inside the park, they are usually far apart, which could lead to a half-full tank becoming an empty tank quite quickly.

You will need to make sure that your tank is full before you head off to spot lions, rhinoceroses, and elephants. When it comes to car hire in Cape Town, car rental companies will always fill the vehicles as much as possible, to where the fuel can physically be seen in the pipe, to avoid disputes about how “full” the tank is.

Make Sure You Have Insurance

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

As with any journey, you will need to make sure that you have insurance for your off-road car rental vehicle. For example, you might find that some damage has been caused to the 4×4 for hire you have been using and that you are now liable for damages reaching exorbitant amounts. 

Star Car Rental offers the lowest excesses and, in some cases, zero excess for international visitors. We also provide clear, accurate insurance quotations that specify what exactly is covered and the cost to cover any item not generally covered, making us one of the more affordable car rental companies in Cape Town.

Enjoy The Adventure

Self drive safari in South Africa by Star Car Rental car hire in Cape Town

One of the most important tips to remember when planning a self-drive safari in South Africa is to have fun. Start by book a 4×4 for the rougher terrain, and remember to include insurance in the quote. Wake up early for your safari and drive slowly so you don’t miss anything.

Keep your rental car fully fuelled and enjoy the adventure. Be sure to take only photographs and leave only footprints. Speak to Star Car Rental today for our off-road vehicle options.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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 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?

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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.

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Franschhoek

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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

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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.

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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…

FULL COVER CAR RENTAL INSURANCE DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN FULL COVER.

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

 

HERE ARE A FEW REAL LIFE LESSONS:

1.

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

2.

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.

3.

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.

WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN?

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

HOW DO WE PREVENT THIS?

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.

OUR ADVICE IS SIMPLE:

 

  • 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.