Your guide to car rental in Canada

Your Guide to Car Rental in Canada

Last Updated on October 18, 2023

Traveling to Canada offers a world of possibilities, from the majestic Rockies to the vibrant cities of Toronto and Montreal. To explore this vast country, renting a car can be the most convenient and flexible option. However, navigating the world of car rentals in Canada can be daunting. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about car rental in Canada, from the biggest car rental companies to insurance options and frequently asked questions. So, let’s get started on your journey to discovering the beauty of the Great White North.

Car Rental in Canada

Canada is known for its diverse landscapes, and one of the best ways to experience it fully is by renting a car. When it comes to car rentals, Canada offers a variety of options that cater to different budgets and preferences. Whether you’re seeking the best car rental in Canada or just need a reliable set of wheels, there’s something for everyone.

The Biggest Car Rental Companies in Canada

Enterprise: Enterprise is one of the most recognized car rental companies in Canada. With a wide range of vehicles, including fuel-efficient and luxury options, Enterprise is known for its excellent customer service and convenient locations throughout the country.

Hertz: Hertz is another major player in the Canadian car rental market. They offer an extensive fleet, including environmentally-friendly options, and have various locations, including airports and city centers.

Avis: Avis is a trusted name in car rentals. With an array of vehicles, from compact cars to SUVs and premium models, Avis ensures you find a car that suits your needs. Their loyalty program can also be rewarding for frequent renters.

Budget: Budget is known for its affordable rates. They have a wide network of rental locations, making it accessible for travelers across the country.

National: National Car Rental is renowned for its speed and efficiency. Their Emerald Club loyalty program offers several benefits, including expedited check-in and the choice of your vehicle from the Emerald Aisle.

Alamo: Alamo is recognized for its competitive prices and an impressive selection of vehicles, including family-friendly options. They focus on providing value to budget-conscious travelers.

Thrifty: Thrifty offers great value for money and frequently has promotions and deals. They have a broad range of vehicles to meet various travel needs.

The Best Car Rental in Canada

Determining the best car rental in Canada depends on your specific requirements and budget. While the above-mentioned companies are the biggest players, it’s essential to choose a rental agency that suits your needs.

For budget-conscious travelers, Budget and Thrifty are excellent options, as they often have affordable rates. If you value efficiency and convenience, National and Alamo are known for their quick service. Avis and Enterprise are great choices for those who prefer a wide selection of vehicles, including premium models.

Before making your decision, it’s advisable to check for current deals and discounts, as these can significantly affect your rental experience.

You May Be Asking Yourself: Do I Need Rental Car Insurance in Canada?

This is a common question among travelers, and the answer depends on your individual circumstances. Rental car insurance can provide peace of mind, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local driving laws and road conditions. However, if your personal auto insurance or credit card provides adequate coverage, you may be able to decline the rental company’s insurance options.

It’s crucial to review your existing policies and understand what coverage they offer. Additionally, it’s wise to consult with the rental company and ask for a detailed explanation of their insurance options, including any deductibles or limitations.

Car Insurance for Rental Cars in Canada

Car rental insurance is a critical aspect of renting a vehicle in Canada. While it’s not mandatory, having the right coverage can save you from unexpected expenses in case of accidents or damage. Here are some insurance options to consider:

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): This coverage typically covers the cost of repairs to the rental car if it’s damaged in an accident. It’s highly recommended, as it can save you from substantial out-of-pocket expenses.

Liability Insurance: This type of insurance covers any damage or injury you may cause to others while driving the rental car. In Canada, minimum liability requirements vary by province, so it’s crucial to ensure you have adequate coverage.

Personal Accident Insurance: This coverage provides protection for you and your passengers in case of injuries sustained in a car accident.

Personal Effects Coverage: This insurance covers your personal belongings in case of theft or damage while in the rental car.

Supplemental Liability Insurance: This extends your liability coverage beyond the minimum required by the province, offering additional protection in case of a severe accident.

Before purchasing insurance from the rental company, check whether your personal auto insurance or credit card offers coverage for rental cars. Some credit cards include rental car insurance as a benefit, which can help you save on additional costs.

FAQ About Car Rentals in Canada

As you plan your car rental in Canada, you might have some burning questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

Can I rent a car in Canada with a foreign driver’s license?
Yes, you can rent a car in Canada with a foreign driver’s license, but it’s advisable to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) in English or French. It can make the rental process smoother and help you communicate with law enforcement in case of any issues.

What’s the minimum age to rent a car in Canada?
The minimum age to rent a car in Canada varies by rental company and province, but it’s generally around 21 or 25 years old. Additional fees may apply for drivers under 25.

Can I smoke in a rental car?
Most rental companies have strict no-smoking policies in their vehicles. Smoking in a rental car can result in cleaning fees or fines. Be sure to adhere to the rental company’s rules to avoid extra charges.

Can I drive a rental car from Canada to the United States?
Generally, you can drive a Canadian rental car into the United States. However, you should inform the rental company of your plans and check if there are any restrictions or additional fees for cross-border travel.

Can I return the rental car to a different location than where I picked it up?
Many rental companies offer one-way rentals, allowing you to return the car to a different location. However, one-way fees may apply, so it’s essential to confirm the details with the rental company.


Renting a car in Canada opens up a world of possibilities for travelers. From exploring the natural beauty of national parks to experiencing the vibrant culture of Canadian cities, having your own set of wheels is a convenient way to make the most of your journey. When you plan your car rental in Canada, consider the biggest car rental companies, insurance options, and make sure to ask any questions you might have. With the right information, your Canadian adventure will be a smooth and enjoyable experience. Happy travels!

About Maria Kennedy

Maria Kennedy is the managing editor at Travel for Food Hub. Maria is on a full-tilt mission to share local food and travel inspiration. When she is not writing about food and travel, startups or social media, she is enjoying her time with her boys in sunny Spain.

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