Car Hire Terms Explained
Confused by the car rental jargon? We help you get to grips with what it all means.
AC - Air conditioning
AD - Additional driver
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI) - See Supplementary Liability Insurance
Airport Code - A unique three-letter code that identifies an airport (for example London Gatwick is LGW)
Airport Surcharge - An additional charge applied at some airport locations
AUTO - A vehicle with automatic gears
CAD - Canadian Dollars
Cancellation Waiver Protection (CWP) - Insurance which covers cancellation of your car rental
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) - CDW waives your responsibility for the entire cost of damage to the vehicle (apart from for the excluded areas mentioned specifically in the terms and conditions of your car hire)
Cross-Border - Travelling between different countries with your rental car. There is likely to be a charge for this.
Damage Excess Waiver (DEW) - Also known as Collision Damage Waiver
Damage Refund Insurance (DRI) - Alternative term for Car hire excess insurance
Deductible - Another name for 'excess'
EEA - European Economic Area
e-Tolls - An electronic method for paying toll charges which is used by some car rental companies
EU - European Union
EUR - Currency of Euros
European Accident Report Form - Also called the European Accident Statement, these can be obtained from your car hire company and are filled out in the event of an accident
Excess - The first part of any claim that you are held liable for
Excess Mileage Charge - If you take out a car rental with a limited mileage contract then, if you go over that limit, then you will be charged for any surplus.
Excess Reduction Fee - A fee for lowering the amount of excess you are liable for. This is often offered at the car hire desk.
Fair Fuel Policy - This is when you are only paying for fuel that you use. These are fuel policies such as full to full, or same to same.
Free Cancellation - A car hire contract that you can cancel within a given time limit without facing a charge to do so.
GPS - Identical to a Satnav system, an electronic map that can provide directions to a given location.
International Driving Permit (IDP) - This may be required if your driving licence is not in the Roman alphabet. You can apply for one at the Post Office.
Lead Driver - This is the person who signs the car hire agreement to take responsibility for the rental car.
Liability Insurance - The same as third party insurance. It is always a good idea to confirm your level of cover within your car rental contract particularly if you are hiring in the Americas.
Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) - This waives the renter's responsibility to pay for the whole financial burden if the vehicle you are hiring is damaged or stolen. It is in effect CDW combined with theft protection.
Loss of Use Charge - A fee to cover the car rental company if they are unable to rent the car out again because the vehicle has been damaged while in your care.
MAN - Manual gears
Meet & Greet - A service where the car hire company will meet you at the airport or your hotel for example to hand over your rental car.
One Way Rentals - A car rental where you pick the car up in one location and return it to another.
Out of Hours - When the car hire rental office is closed but you need to pick up a car during this time, some offices will open for you, In these circumstances you will most likely be charged an out-of-hours fee.
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) - This covers accidental death or injury, and medical needs for the driver and passengers during the rental period.
Personal Effects Protection (PEP) - Insurance for the personal belongings of the occupants of the vehicle.
Pre-Authorisation - An amount which is blocked on a credit card during the rental period in order to make sure that funds are available to cover any costs you incur. The block will be taken off at the end of the hire after any costs have been settled.
Repatriation Costs - Costs that arise if the vehicle has to be collected and returned to the car hire pick up location.
Renters Liability Protection (RLP) - Primary liability insurance normally up to the relevant US State minimum level.
Security Deposit - An amount that is charged to your credit card or bank at the time of rental. This amount will then be refunded after your hire has ended minus any costs that you incur during your hire.
Senior Drivers Fees - Fees applied to those drivers over a specified age. These will apply to the main driver and any additional drivers of the vehicle over that age.
Shuttle Service - A bus service provided by the car hire company to take you to their office location.
Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) - Another term for third party insurance which is widely used in North and South America. SLI can provide top up cover to any Liability Insurance that is included with your car rental.
SUV - Sports Utility Vehicle. Often designed for more difficult driving conditions. A large number of them have four-wheel drive.
Theft Insurance Deductible (TID) - The excess on any insurance cover for theft.
Theft Protection - This limits the financial responsibility of the lead driver for the cost of the vehicle if it is stolen.
Theft Waiver (TW) - see Theft Protection
Third Party Liability (TPL) - Insurance to cover the costs of damage to other people or their property.
TP - see Theft Protection (however occasionally used to mean Third Party)
Transponder - Device which is used to record your use of toll roads in some countries such as Portugal and the USA and calculate and calculate the relevant fees.
T,W & G - Tyres, wheels and glass
Uninsured Motorists Protection (UMP) - This covers claims for damage to the rental vehicle caused by an uninsured motorist. It is quite often included within car hires in Europe but not so frequently in the USA.
USD - United States Dollars
Winterization - A charge applied in some countries for winter tyres or snow chains if they are required.
Young Drivers Surcharge (YDS) - Drivers under a specified age may be charged this if they are below a specified age - often 25 years old. The fee will be applied to the lead driver and any additional drivers of the vehicle under that age.