Last Updated on December 8, 2022 by Caitlin

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Considering renting a car in India? Known for crowded, colorful cities and truly crazy traffic, India can be an intimidating place to drive. On the other hand, if you plan to explore the countryside and smaller towns and villages, having your own wheels may be a fun and liberating way to get around.

Few travelers rent a car to drive themselves in India. It’s more common for foreigners to hire a car with a driver who knows the backroads, shortcuts, and somewhat lax rules of the road. But if you’re set on renting a car yourself, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Essential Tips for Renting a Car in India

Book from home.

Don’t wait until you get to India to rent a vehicle. It will be cheaper to book your car from the United States before you go. The further ahead you reserve your car, the better the chance of landing a deal because you can watch out for price drops.

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You need an International Driving Permit.

To drive in India, you must either be a legal resident with an Indian driver’s license or have an International Driving Permit. This document is simply a translated version of your state-issued driver’s license and can be obtained from the AAA. Give yourself some lead time to apply before you leave on your trip.

You’ll drive on the left.

India is a former British colony and consequently a place where people drive on the left.

Pay for the rental in rupees.

Although it may seem easier to be charged in dollars instead of rupees, this option will cost you more in the long run. Pay in the local currency to avoid Dynamic Currency Conversion fees. If you opt to pay in U.S. dollars, the rental car company converts the purchase amount from the local currency on your behalf. But this process is entirely unnecessary, since your credit card company will process the transaction in either currency, and you will pay through the nose for the non-convenience.

Double check your insurance coverage.

Before you leave for India, contact your credit card company to see what collision coverage, if any, it offers on car rentals abroad. A car rental contract in India generally requires fire insurance and third-party liability. These supplemental fees will automatically be added to the cost of your rental.

A self-drive rental car comes with a hefty deposit.

If you opt to drive a r