List of Car Rental Fees to Avoid When Travelling to New Zealand

Are you sick and tired of looking for a cheap car hire online, only to find out that they have other charges upon your arrival at their depot?

When in New Zealand, not only must you be wary of road rules, you also need to be mindful of your budget! Make sure you are getting only the BEST DEAL by remembering the tips below because no matter where you go, there will always be companies with hidden fees in their pricing. Should you not find the ones below in your quote or bills, make sure to ask about them.


Be wary of VAT (Value Added Tax). All car rental services are being taxed so make sure that in your quote/contract that VAT is inclusive (may also appear as GST). For New Zealand there’s a 15% VAT for car rental services including all other extra equipment that you added to your rental.


For first time renters, there is something that we call a One-way fee. This applies when you book and pick-up your vehicle from a depot different to the one where you are returning it to. Car rental companies charge customers depending on the location of the return depot. Always ask how much these costs when requesting for a quote.

You’d be surprised that some one-way drop-off fees are more expensive compared to your rental itself.


You always have an option to add an additional rental equipment depending on your needs. Most car rental companies offer baby seats, GPS units (you may also be charged GPS usage by renting cars with GPS built-in), roof racks, etc. Do not forget to ask how you are being charged for these rental items. For reference, it’s usually either a one-time fee or a daily rent.


Location surcharges happen when you are picking up your car from a location with a very high customer demand.  Depending on the season and the amount of customer activity in the city, Location Surcharges is why rental prices vary from city to city. Thankfully, there are other car rental companies in New Zealand that does not take this into account and remain consistent with their pricing.


Excess fees have always been present when renting a car. This is the car rental company’s assurance that they are to be paid a certain amount should there be car damages incurred. Clarify this by asking if there’s a security cash deposit or any withheld amount on your credit card upon pick-up and during the entire rental period. Some car rental companies implement this. Good thing, many others do not hold any deposit but offer CDW to shield the renter of the excess liability. We recommend purchasing any type of cover to avoid all the stress involved when being charged for damages.


Most car rental companies have a fuel policy of ‘full to full’ or ‘return with the same amount of petrol when picking up the car’. To avoid charging customers at premium rates, these companies just opt for the customer to return the rented vehicle with the same level of gas as how they got it.

Note that premium rates are charged to customers who do not follow the agreed fuel policy. Usually, they will charge you with the highest rate per liter plus other fees.


Always ask if your rental vehicle covers limited or unlimited mileage. If it is unlimited then you no longer have worries about going an extra mile. However, for companies that still offer limited mileage, the usual setup is that renting certain types of cars come with “unlimited” mileage. For some, luxury vehicles are listed as the limited, while others offer unlimited mileages for these types. Make sure you are getting the BEST DEAL.


Typically, this fee only applies to the person listed as the driver and he will be the one chased for payment for damages incurred regardless of fault. However, since New Zealand is a vast country, you will certainly be needing more than just one driver. Some car rental companies are lenient and gives 1-2 free additional drivers at no cost. If the company does indeed charge you for this, ask if it is daily or a one-time payment to avoid bill shock. Also, look for a cheap car hire company that free additional drivers or one-time driver fees.

If you between ages 21-25, you are required to pay a “young driver’s fee” no matter which company you choose. This is often at charged at daily rates due to the greater risk of renting out vehicles to young drivers.

Remember, always take note of these charges and if they are billed daily or one-time.
Happy driving in New Zealand!