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Rental conditions for rental cars in the UAE

Travelers who wish to explore the Orient around Abu Dhabi by rental car must pay attention to the contract conditions of their car rental companies. In general, to get to your destination as relaxed and safe as possible, you should read the fine print in the rental agreement. Even if you decide to rent a car on the spot, you don't have to know Arabic to be adequately informed about the conditions of driving a rental car in the United Arab Emirates. The commercial language English is not only widely used in tourist institutions.

Stop - Some road traffic regulations are different in the UAE than in Europe

In any case, round trip travelers should know that the car rental company usually reserves the right to provide a similar vehicle model of the same category. For example, if it says in the travel documents that a Honda City 1.3 has been rented, it is quite possible that a Toyota Yaris will be handed over on the spot.

Well secured on the roads of the UAE

It should be ensured that the sum insured of the liability insurance is at least 1 million Euro and that the comprehensive risk is also covered. It should be clarified individually what is included in the rental price and what the payment modalities are:

– What damages are covered by the insurance included in the rental price?
– Is it a comprehensive insurance policy?
– What is the amount of the deductible in case of damage??
– Should passenger accident insurance be purchased separately?
– Is the rental price inclusive of unlimited mileage?
– Is the possession of a valid credit card mandatory?

Toll Gate fees, which rental car drivers pass in Dubai & Co. are paid by credit card

Most of the time, a credit card is required when renting a car to cover toll gate fees and unforeseen costs that the car rental company takes out of its responsibility. Depending on the provider, this includes: Damages that are not covered by the insurance according to the contract and damages in the amount of the deductible, fines as well as delays such as the late return or the failure to finally refuel the car.

The credit card is then charged with a lump sum, which is transferred back after the return of the car again. Beware of so-called debit cards, some car rental companies do not want to accept them. We almost didn't get the car at Europcar because we didn't have a real credit card but "only" a Visa debit card. In Germany it does not make a difference, there apparently it does. We have had probably really luck, because: I know from a reader that she didn't get her pre-ordered car at National Car Rental because of this problem and had to take a cab to the desert hotel. Very annoying!

Important: Who is allowed to drive where in Abu Dhabi and surroundings?

It should also be checked who is allowed to drive a rental vehicle in the Emirates or what characteristics the driver must have:

– How long the driver must be in possession of a valid driver's license?
– Is there a minimum age with regard to the desired vehicle class?
– Can additional drivers be included in the contract free of charge?
– Must the driver have an international driver's license?

Which roads are allowed to drive far from the big metropolises, in a desert area of course.

– Are border crossings (z.B. into Oman) are possible without additional insurance?
– Must the entry into another country be reported at the time of rental?

As a rule, such a thing must be made known, of course, otherwise you will not be adequately insured when you travel out of the country from the UAE. Regarding travel to Oman, there are unfortunately some uncertainties at the moment. Some car rental companies seem to be no longer 100% sure after certain changes in the law, what is possible and what is not – in any case, at the moment you may get contradictory information or have no chance to find out more about the conditions for the Oman excursion with the rental car when booking online, which makes the excursion difficult to plan.

What is certain, however, is that the company "Dollar UAE" currently (as of November 2017) advertises on its website that trips to Oman can be arranged through them. In the FAQ it says:

Our cars may be driven into Oman with prior purchase of an Oman Insurance Certificate along with the No Objection letter available at the rental desk. Charges vary based on the vehicles, time and period. However, certain vehicle groups may not be allowed to travel into Oman territory. Driving to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Yemen, Kuwait, etc. is strictly forbidden.

A reader recently wrote to me that he spontaneously asked "Budget" when picking up his booked car how the conditions for a trip to Oman looked like. There were some conditions like day visa, additional insurance and border crossing point, which deterred him, but the important thing is that it seems to be possible with this company. However, you have to keep in mind that this can theoretically change quickly.

– Does the insurance coverage expire when driving on unpaved roads?

Often this is the case, because especially in the desert (where there are some unpaved roads, which only consist of rolled sand) there is a risk for inexperienced drivers, to drive on unpaved roads!), there is a high risk of accidents and breakdowns for inexperienced drivers, who are also driving an unsuitable vehicle.

More fun than danger is Dune Bashing when you get in the car with qualified drivers

Attention: For the so-called Dune-Bashing you need a special qualification in the UAE. If you are not experienced in driving vehicles on sandy surfaces, you should not be tempted to leave the tarmac, even if you have a properly equipped jeep. You could easily lose your orientation or get stuck in the sand. However, several tour operators offer desert safaris or even off-road courses.