Owning a car feels incredible, but it can come at a massive cost in Singapore. Our land-scarce island has rigid car-control rules that make motor vehicle ownership not only expensive, but also a hassle.
Fortunately, the public transport system in the city-state is world-class so that you can get around with ease. Nevertheless, there are certain occasions when it would still be more convenient to drive a rental car in Singapore. For instance, when you want to travel with the elderly or take a trip with the kids.
If you’re a newbie to car rental and don’t know what to expect, not to worry! Below, we’ve prepared a guide to help make the process of renting a car in Singapore easier.
Car rental industry in Singapore
Singapore’s car rental industry can be categorised into three: international brands, local companies, and car manufacturers or distributors who offer leasing contracts. Your choice of a rental car in Singapore depends on how long you want it, your budget, and which model you’re eyeing. International brands tend to be pricier than local brands.
Car rental in Singapore is a highly competitive industry. There are numerous comparison sites online where you can take a look at different car rental services in Singapore and pick according to your needs.
Average rates: Planning your budget
The rates vary with the type of car. Here’s a peek on the average prices:
- A 5-seater average sedan starts from about S$50 per day
- A 7-8-seater family SUV would attract about S$150-S$200 per day
- A passenger or goods van would cost you anything between S$110 and S$500 per day
- A luxury-branded car for special occasions such as weddings would set you back about S$200 to S$950 per day
There are also service providers that offer long-term car rental services in Singapore. Besides the vehicle’s model and mileage, the prices of car rental arrangements come in a range depending on the duration of lease. Whether you need to rent for 3 months or a year, you can certainly look for flexible leasing packages if you have a $1000 monthly car rental budget, for instance.
To rent a car in Singapore, you must have a Singapore driving license of the appropriate vehicle class. The majority of car rental companies require you to be 23 to 69 years of age, but there is a number of companies that will rent to people aged 70 to 74 – often with additional costs.
If you’re a probation (P) plate driver, i.e. you’re within the first year of obtaining your driving license, you’re most likely not eligible to rent a car from most companies in Singapore.
Expats need to hold either a valid driving license in English or an International Driving Permit to be eligible to drive in Singapore for up to 12 months. After which, you’ll need to convert to a Singapore driving license.
What’s in the rental contract
Car rental rates vary between different companies and contracts. Some expensive packages include additional features such as extra insurance coverage.
A standard contract for a rental car in Singapore contains the following:
- Rent fees
- Duration of contract
- Security deposit
- Insurance coverage
- Cancellation penalties
- Any restrictions, for instance on mileage
- Emergency contacts of the rental car company
Not all car rentals permit cross-border travel into Malaysia. The companies that allow their vehicles to cross over into Malaysia often do it at an extra cost (S$20-S$50), depending on how far you’ll be going into the other border.
If you have plans to drive up to Malaysia, make sure that you select a sturdy vehicle, and that you are clear about the rental company’s policy on travelling out of Singapore.
Last checks before you drive off
Before driving off with your rental car, conduct these last few checks on the vehicle.
Firstly, check the year of the car’s registration. From there, you’ll get to know the age of the car and the price of its COE. A higher COE means higher expenses for the car.
Next, check the mileage of the car. The vehicle’s age doesn’t always reflect how much it’s been driven. In Singapore, cars usually travel 20,000 to 25,000 kilometres a year on average. The higher the mileage, the more worn out the car, even if it’s relatively new.
Lastly, check the car thoroughly for any signs of damage – both on the exterior and interior. This is to ensure that you aren’t liable for any damage caused after you’ve returned the vehicle.
Finally, the best way to make payments for a rental car in Singapore is via credit card. Use a card which would give you the maximum reward or rebates for its usage. You can also discuss with the car rental provider for any exclusive offers and discounts depending on your credit card’s bank.