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Our Comprehensive Guide to Car Hire Terms

Baffled by car hire jargon? Use the list below to better understand your car hire


This glossary of car hire terms aims to provide you with a clearer understanding of what is included within your car hire. Further help can be found within our FAQ section. If you cannot find the answer to your query then please contact us either by telephone, email or via the online chat service and our customer service team will be very happy to help

AC - Air conditioning

AD - Additional driver

Additional Liability Insurance - See Supplementary Liability Insurance

Airport Code - A unique three-letter code that is given to an airport (for example London Heathrow is LHR)

Airport Surcharge - An additional charge levied at some popular airport locations

ALI - see Supplementary Liability Insurance

AUTO - Automatic gears

CAD - Canadian Dollars

Cancellation Waiver Protection - Insurance to cover for cancellation of your car hire

CDW - see Collision Damage Waiver

Collision Damage Waiver - CDW waives your responsibility for the whole cost of damage to the vehicle (except for any excluded areas mentioned in the terms and conditions of your car hire)

Cross-Border - Travelling between different countries with your hire car. You may well be charged for this.

CWP - see Cancellation Waiver Protection

Damage Excess Waiver - Another term for Collision Damage Waiver

Damage Refund Insurance - Alternative name for Car hire excess insurance

Deductible - Another term for 'excess'

DEW - see Damage Excess Waiver

DRI - see Damage Refund Insurance

EEA - European Economic Area

e-Tolls - an electronic system for paying tolls used by some car hire companies

EU - European Union

EUR - Euros currency

European Accident Report Form - Also known as the European Accident Statement, these are usually available through your car hire company, to be filled out in the event of an accident

Excess - The first part of any claim that you are liable for

Excess Mileage Charge - If you take out a car rental with a limited mileage contract then, should you exceed that limit, you will be charged for excess mileage.

Excess Reduction Fee - An additional fee for reducing the amount of excess you are liable for. Often an option offered at the car hire desk.

Fair Fuel Policy - a fuel policy where you are only paying for fuel that you use. These are 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 incurring a charge

GPS - The same as a Satnav system, it can provide directions.

IDP - see International Driving Permit.

International Driving Permit - Often required if your driving licence is not in the Roman alphabet. Available from the Post Office.

LDW - see Loss Damage Waiver

Lead Driver - The person who is taking responsibility for the hire car and signs the car hire rental agreement.

Liability Insurance - Third party insurance. Check in your car rental contract to establish the level of cover provided.

Loss Damage Waiver - This waives the renter's responsibility to pay for the whole financial cost if the vehicle is damaged or stolen. It is effectively 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 due to damage caused while the vehicle was rented to you.

MAN - Manual gears

Meet & Greet - A service where the car hire company will meet you to hand over your rental car.

One Way Rentals - A car rental that involves returning the car to somewhere other than where it was picked up.

Out of Hours - When the car hire rental office is not open. If you need to pick up a car during this time, some offices will stay open for you, In these instances you will likely be charged an out-of-hours fee.

PAI - see Personal Accident Insurance

PEP - see Personal Effects Protection

Personal Accident Insurance - Cover for accidental death or injury, and medical needs for the driver and passengers during the rental period.

Personal Effects Protection - Insurance for the personal belongings of the lead driver and any passengers

Pre-Authorisation - An amount blocked off on a credit card during the rental period to cover any costs incurred by you. The block will be removed at the end of the hire after any costs have been paid.

Repatriation Costs - Costs incurred if the vehicle has to be brought back to the car hire pick up location

Security Deposit - An amount that is taken from your credit card or bank at the time of rental. This amount will be refunded at the end of your hire minus any costs that you have incurred while driving the car.

Senior Drivers Fees - fees applied to those drivers over a specified age. These will apply to all drivers of the vehicle over that age.

Shuttle Service - a bus service provided by the car hire company to transport you to where you can pick up your car

SLI - see Supplementary Liability Insurance

Supplementary Liability Insurance - A term for third party widely used in the Americas. SLI provides top up cover to any Liability Insurance included with your car rental.

SUV - Sports Utility Vehicle. Often designed for more rugged conditions and many of them have four-wheel drive.

Theft Insurance Deductible - The excess on any Theft Protection cover

Theft Protection - removes the financial responsibility of the lead driver for the whole cost if the vehicle is stolen

Theft Waiver - see Theft Protection

Third Party Liability - Insurance to cover damage to other people or their property

TID - see Theft Insurance Deductible

TP - see Theft Protection (however occasionally used to mean Third Party)

TPL - see Third Party Liability

Transponder - Device used to record use of toll roads in some countries such as Portugal and the USA.

TW - see Theft Waiver

T,W & G - Tyres, wheels and glass

UMP - see Uninsured Motorists Protection

Uninsured Motorists Protection - Covers claims for damage to the rental vehicle caused by an uninsured motorist. Typically included within car hires in Europe but not as often in the USA.

USD - United States Dollars

Winterization - a charge in some countries when winter tyres and snow chains are required.

YDS - see Young Drivers Surcharge

Young Drivers Surcharge - A fee applied by some car hire firms to drivers under a specified age. The fee will be applied to all drivers of the vehicle under that age.

This content was last reviewed on 23/04/2018