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Car Rentals in Sharjah - A Quick Guide before the Ride

Although public transport like taxis and buses are readily available in Sharjah, there's nothing more exciting like driving yourself around to get a true experience of the UAE. Car rentals are fairly common here, but you must be wondering if it is expensive. Before you start to dissuade the suggestion, just remember that all you need to get a great deal are a few official documents and proper planning!

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Documentation

To rent a car in Sharjah, you are required to hold a valid driver's license. The UAE has released a list of countries whose licenses (along with a translated copy) are accepted and those countries being Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, New Zealand, Spain, South Korea and the United States of America. Licenses from the neighbouring countries of Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also accepted. For countries not mentioned in the list, an international driver's license is a must.

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In terms of insurance, there are two types of policies available under Motor Insurance. The Third Party Liability and Loss & Damage (Comprehensive Motor Insurance) covers damages such as emergency medical expenses, natural disasters, 24-hour road assistance and personal accident benefit cover for driver and passengers while the Third Party Liability Insurance is considered the bare minimum. You should ideally have one of these motor insurances to rent a vehicle in the UAE.

How do you find a car rental service?

Car rental services can be easily found online and in great numbers. With enough research, you should be able to find great deals. Some of the most popular cab rental companies to consider are Avis, Hertz, Europcar, Budget Car Rental, Thrifty Car Rental, Cargets and Dollar Rental. Visit their websites and scroll through many of their offers, especially the season and combo deals. Read company policies and keep track of the defined number of hours that you can rent the car, fines if you return it late, etc. In a lot of cases, rates are higher because the cars are arriving from a branch further away than your location. If you can identify the branch districts of the company, you can avoid additional costs. You'll often find that you can get better deals if you call the numbers after thorough research-friendly negotiation works wonders!

Prices

Cars on rent are of two types: compact and mid-size cars. The compact cars include models like i10 Grand and Nissan Sunny that are priced between AED 450 to AED 660 while mid-size cars like the Toyota Corolla and Hyundai Accent are priced between AED 1,500 and AED 2,200. If you plan on driving through desert terrains, you should opt for a 4x4 like the Nissan Frontier 4x4. In case of big cars or luxury cars, you can often find Ferraris and Audis on offer too! The Audi A5 Convertible is priced at approximately AED 500 per day, the Audi R8 is priced at AED700 per day, and a Ferrari California T can be rented for AED 2700 per day. Thankfully, most travel companies allow you to pay online, and this turns out to be nearly 20% cheaper.

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What to look out for?

When the company provides your car, there's nothing wrong with being picky! Look out for any visible scratches, take pictures if required, and let your agent know immediately. Check the miles on the odometer, and ideal rental cars would have driven less than 25,000 miles. Check the fuel tank, especially if the company agreed to provide you with a full tank. These measures will help you avoid unnecessary costs when the car is returned.

Don't forget to check the tyres of the car provided. Driving on highways for hours on end in hot weather can be an exhausting experience, and it would be pretty tough if anything were to happen to the car on your journeys. If you are unhappy with the air pressure or the state of the tyres, don't feel shy to ask for a change. Check whether the GPS is working and USB cables connect properly to your phone. You don't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way of getting help! It's better to voice your discomfort now than put yourself and your co-passengers in danger later.

Like the rest of the UAE, Sharjah too has hot weather which can be quite uncomfortable in a hot car. Don't forget to check the air conditioning! Before you agree to rent a car, we'd suggest taking a quick test drive around the premises to check if it is a comfortable drive.

Regulations

If you are not a citizen of the UAE, it is against the law to drive a personal vehicle borrowed from a friend or relative in the region. Instead, you will have to use public transport, rent a taxi or rent a car for your travels. Although the minimum age to rent a car is 23 years old in other emirates, you can rent a car at 21 years of age in Sharjah. However, this often depends on the car rental company as most are more comfortable renting to drivers with more experience on the road.

Although the country's highways connecting it to neighbouring Oman and Saudi Arabia get confusing, taking rented cars outside the country is prohibited. Within the country, some cars don't have the right license to travel between emirates, so it's best to check these limits before taking the car outside Sharjah.

Drivers are known to cruise at high speeds on the wide highways of the UAE, but this doesn't mean that you should follow. The speed limits are 50- 80 kilometres per hour in urban areas and 100- 120 kilometres per hour on highways. Moreover, seatbelts are mandatory for everyone in the car and children under the age of 12 are not allowed to sit in the front. If you are found over-speeding or breaking any of these rules, you are likely to be fined on the spot by the traffic police. Sharjah has installed radars to monitor speeds on their highways.

In such situations, it is good to keep all necessary documentation like vehicle registration document, proof of insurance, and proof of identity ready in the car. In the UAE, courtesy is valued highly. In case of an accident or misunderstanding on the road, it is recommended to stay calm at all times. Shows of anger and obscenity are not only rude but considered a legal offence which could result in jail time or hefty fines.

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Renting a car in Sharjah doesn't have to be an expensive or difficult ordeal as long as you research thoroughly to find the best deal for you. There are plenty of companies on offer that allows you to pick up the car from Sharjah Airport, your hotel, or one of the company's offices. With proper planning, using a rental car during your trip can be quite an exciting experience

This post was published by Rhea Nath