If you’re travelling or staying in Singapore for some time, you might be thinking about getting a car for convenience. Getting around in Singapore should not really be a hassle with its extensive system of public transportation. However, in the rare instance that you would need to be driving your own car, even if only a rented one, here are some important pieces of information that you must keep in mind.
The rental process here in Singapore is almost one and the same for all companies. And while there are plenty of car rental websites you can check out for your car rental needs, most of these do not provide terms of rental upfront, and none would be updated regularly, as you would expect. So before you make that visit to the car rental office, it’s important that you have some background or have an idea of what to expect, the very least.
Renting a Car in Singapore
For expats with a driving license that is not in English, you would first need to get an international driving permit to have the authorization to drive in Singapore.
For those who have been in Singapore on an employment pass/permanent residency, your overseas license would only be valid for up to a year from the date of your arrival here. After this period, you must convert your foreign license to a Singaporean license in order to drive or even rent a car here.
If you’re cleared to drive or rent a vehicle, you should consider the following pointers for renting your first car here in Singapore:
- Your choice of vehicle.
- Car rental reviews and industry reputation
- Sources of information
These are important things to consider beforehand so that your car rental application would go as smoothly and conveniently as possible. After you’ve selected the kind of vehicle that would suit your travel needs during your stay here on the island, make sure to be clear with the dates for how long you’ll be renting the car for.
As a general rule, book your car early (i.e. two weeks to a month in advance), and consider when you’ll be getting the car, because the day when you’ll be getting the car is affected by the rental rates based on the demand. In most cases, car rental demands are much higher on weekends, so the price will be higher, as well. This also holds true for festive events and holidays.
How to Book your Car
Walk-in reservations are acceptable but are not highly advisable. It would still be best to make a car reservation in advance. This is important to avoid finding yourself disappointed to know that most if not all of the cars have been booked already (especially on weekends) or run out of options during peak hours. Also, booking in advance can sometimes get you better car rental prices.
Whether you apply your booking/reservation directly or online, you will need to provide the following details:
- Name of the person to drive the vehicle
- NRIC Number
- Date of Birth
- Date of License Issuance
- Contact Information
Be ready with your credit card (although not all companies accept this payment option due to operational costs). Either way, once you have settled the payment, be sure to get a confirmation of booking/reservation.
Collection of the Rented Vehicle
Be sure to turn up at least 30 minutes before the agreed collection time. Also, provide the following documents for verification:
- Class 3 Driving License
- Original Identification Card
- Security Deposit (if needed)
- Booking confirmation
- If on a foreign driving License, bring any proof of address (eg. phone, electricity bill)
After you’ve provided your booking confirmation along wiith the other required documents, you need to review and verify the vehicle rental agreement terms, inspect the vehicle (to ensure everything is working properly and the car is free from billable damage), and then sign the Agreement of Rental.
When all is settled, you are now ready to take the car for a ride. Just be sure to adhere to traffic laws in the city and to use the car only as detailed in the rental agreement.
Returning the Car
When returning the car, be sure that everything is in proper order, and that you return the car as you have collected it. Similarly, turn up at least 30 minutes before the agreed time of return, sign the necessary clearance papers and keep a copy of the vehicle rental agreement (VRA). If you have provided a safety deposit, be sure to collect it upon the return of the car.
Important: Just for safe measure, hold on to the VRA for at least a month. This is important in case you encounter any traffic law violations.
Again, only consider renting a car if there is an immediate need for it. Singapore has a good public transport system, and getting around the island isn’t much of a challenge, even for first time visitors.