Dubai: Are you planning to visit the UAE anytime soon? If so, you might be interested in exploring the country on your own, by driving around. But what are the rules that tourists need to adhere to if they want to drive in the UAE?
Gulf News spoke with car rental companies in the UAE to find out.
Find out if you need an International Driving Licence
According to Zeeshan Hassan, owner of ProX Luxury Car Rental, tourists and visitors can easily rent a car in the UAE and drive it as long as they have a driving licence that is accepted in the UAE.
“If their current licence can be converted into a UAE driving licence, then they can drive on that licence. If not, they would need to apply for an International Driving Licence,” Hassan said.
If you have one of the driving licences that can be converted into a UAE driving licence, you can simply rent a car and use your home country’s licence to drive. You don’t need to actually convert the licence into a UAE driving licence while you are on a visit visa.
Which countries’ driving licence can be converted to a UAE driving licence?
If you are a national of the following countries, and have a driving licence issued by the country, you are eligible to swap your licence for a UAE driving licence:
1. GCC Countries
33. The Republic of Montenegro
34. United States of America
37. South Korea
38. Hong Kong
39. People’s Republic of China
41. New Zealand
43. South Africa
“If you do not have a driving licence issued by any of these countries, then you would need to get your licence converted to an International Driving Licence, which you can apply for in the UAE, too,” Hassan said.
“So, to rent a car, all you need to do is provide a copy of your passport and a valid driving licence,” he added.
If their current licence can be converted into a UAE driving licence, then they can drive on that licence. If not, they would need to apply for an International Driving Licence.
– Zeeshan Hassan, owner of ProX Luxury Car Rental
Check your insurance cover
Car rental companies also advised visitors to pay attention to the type of insurance cover they opt for when renting a car.
“You should know about the insurance coverage, what are the deductibles [the amount you would need to pay in case of a claim], and how comprehensive the coverage is,” Hassan said.
If you are at a rental company and about to pay for your auto insurance, it is important to pay attention to the details of the insurance and ask the necessary questions, to ensure that you are sufficiently covered.
Arif Hussain, Marketing Manager of Dubai-based Amex Car Rental, spoke about how many visitors do not opt for a CDW or Collision Damage Waiver, which ensures the driver in case of serious accidents and damage to the car, ultimately costing them a lot more in case of an accident.
“The difference between a basic insurance and a comprehensive cover is hardly a few hundred dirhams and it can be very helpful for drivers visiting the UAE,” Hussain said.
As an example, Hussain spoke about how a basic sedan or hatchback may cost you Dh100 with an additional cost of Dh40 for comprehensive insurance. Similarly, for a higher-end four-wheel drive, while the daily rental rate for the vehicle may be Dh500, a good insurance would cost you an additional Dh80 per day.
The difference between a basic insurance and a comprehensive cover is hardly a few hundred dirhams and it can be very helpful for drivers visiting the UAE.
– Arif Hussain, Marketing Manager of Dubai-based Amex Car Rental
Car insurance when visiting the UAE – Know the terminology
Here are some of the terms you should familiarise with, when purchasing your auto insurance as a visitor:
• CDW – Collison Damage Waiver – When renting a car, this policy will cover the financial liability in case of a collision and serious accident.
• PAI – Personal Accident Insurance – This cover would insure the driver from accidental medical costs, emergency care and accidental death during your rental trip, up to the limit specified in the cover.
• Zero deductible – A zero-deductible car insurance refers to the fact that you are not required to make any payment towards a claim that is covered within the insurance.
• Mileage cover – When deciding on your insurance cover, also look at the limit on the mileage that will be covered. “For example, of the insurance covers 250km a day, and you plan to take a trip from Dubai to Abu Dhabi, check if it would be feasible to purchase the insurance for an extra day and pay for the extra insurance, so that your trip is covered,” Hassan said.
How much deposit do I need to pay?
When you rent a car, you may be asked to pay a security deposit by the rental service provider, which can be approximately Dh1,000 for a basic car and Dh5,000 for a high-end car.
“What we recommend is that the visitor should pay the security deposit through an international credit card. This is because the deposit gets refunded after 22 days, and if you have paid the deposit in cash, you would need to wait to receive it back. However, if you have blocked the amount through your credit card, it can be refunded without the need for you to be present in the UAE. So, you can receive the refund even if you have travelled back,” Hussain said.
Why do I need to wait to receive my deposit back?
One of the reasons rental companies have a waiting period before the security deposit is refunded is to wait for any updates on fines or charges that the driver may have incurred while using the car.
“If there are any speeding fines or Salik crossings, those will be deducted from the deposit, before it is refunded,” Hussain said.
This is why it is advisable to familiarise yourself with driving rules in the UAE, including speed limits, parking rules and toll gate fees.