North Carolina Department of Justiceskip to main content
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
Submit this request

Renting a Car

To make sure you get a good deal and avoid unpleasant surprises when you rent a car, follow these tips:
 

  • Shop around. When comparing prices from several rental car agencies, ask for the total charge, including daily or weekly rates, sales tax, surcharges, airport taxes and any other fees that may apply.

  • Read the agreement carefully. Once you have made your reservation and are at the rental lot, be sure to ask about charges and establish ground rules before you sign your rental agreement. This may help you save money and avoid billing disputes. 

Confused about the terms in your rental agreement? Follow this guide to rental car charges:
 

  • Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is an optional daily charge that guarantees that the rental company will pay for damage to your rented car. By declining the waiver, you accept responsibility for any damages. However, under CDW, the company will not pay for bodily injuries or damage to your personal property. If you do not buy CDW coverage or are not covered by your personal auto insurance policy, you could be liable for the full value of the car if an accident occurs. Some CDW’s exclude coverage under certain circumstances. For example, some companies void coverage if a driver drinks alcohol, damages the car while driving on unpaved roads or out of state, or if a non-authorized driver operates the car.

  • Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) pays a death benefit and a portion of your medical expenses if you are in an accident.

  • Personal Effects Coverage (PEC) or Personal Effects Protection (PEP) safeguards your luggage against damage. If your homeowner’s policy covers your luggage and other belongings while you travel, you may not need this protection. 

  • Fuel Charge is the amount many rental car companies add to your bill for gasoline. Companies that do not charge for the initial tank of gas may ask you to return the car with a full tank. If the tank is not full, you will be charged the rental company’s price for gasoline, which is often much higher than a local gas station.

  • Additional Driver Charge is a charge for an additional driver. Most rental car companies, however, let your spouse or other immediate family members drive without additional cost. Failure to have an additional driver sign up with the rental company may be a violation of your contract and might void your insurance protection.

  • Young Driver Charge occurs when some rental car companies charge extra for younger, less experienced drivers because they are considered “high-risk” drivers.

  • Toll Roads mean extra costs for car renters. North Carolina only has a few toll roads, but they are “cashless” so car renters can’t pay at the tollbooth to avoid rental company fees. The various national rental companies take different approaches to the issue of toll roads. Check your planned route to see if you will encounter any tolls. If so, pay attention to how a company handles tolls when you are researching your rental. You may want to opt-in to the company’s toll road package if one is offered. If you drive on a toll road without doing so you will be charged for the toll AND a large administrative fee that may cost a lot more than the company’s toll road package.

 

We Can Help

If you have a complaint about car rental contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.