Drivers Licence requirements

What are the Driver Licence requirements?

A full valid driver’s licence with a photo in English or an accurate English Translation is required to rent with Thrifty in New Zealand. If presenting a temporary full New Zealand licence, you must also present an additional photo identification such as a Passport, Kiwi Access Card, Firearms licence or similar.

For more information on driver licence requirements in New Zealand, please visit the New Zealand Transport Agency.

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Are there age restrictions for renting vehicles?

The minimum age to rent a vehicle is 21 years of age. Our New Plymouth, Napier, Rotorua, Taupo and Tauranga branches charge a surcharge of $15 (excl GST, $17.25 incl GST) per day for drivers 21 to 24 years of age.

Provided you have a full licence, there is no maximum age for rental.

Can anyone other than myself drive the vehicle?

Only those drivers named on the Rental Agreement are covered by insurance to drive a Thrifty vehicle. When collecting the vehicle each driver must be listed on the Rental Agreement. Each driver must present their drivers licence at time of collection (and the licence must meet the conditions described above). An additional surcharge of $10 (excl GST, $11.50 incl GST) per driver per rental applies.

Liability Coverages

Liability coverages

Choose your coverage level while making your booking, or you can add this to your rental at pick up. For more details please view our Damage Excess page.

Basic Cover
Basic coverage is included in your quote. Excess liability will vary depending on your rate choice and vehicle category.

Reduced Risk Cover
Reduced Risk Cover reduces your risk to stated rates, this will vary depending on your rate choice and vehicle category.

Stress Free Cover
Comprehensive cover with $0 liability.


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What credit card can I use?

You can use all the major credit cards and debit cards, providing they have the Visa/MasterCard emblem/logo on them. Please remember that the credit card holder must be present at the time of collection. The 2%+GST fee is calculated on the amount debited to your credit card or overseas debit card. Need to use a business card or one under another name? Please use the following link to download an authorisation form:

Standard Credit Card Authorisation Form

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Will a deposit/bond/pre-authorisation be required upon collecting my vehicle?

Full payment is required upon pick up. We take a credit card or debit card for security purposes upon pick up. If you choose to pay by cash or EFTPOS, then we also take a $250 pre-authorisation on your credit card or debit card.

You must have an internationally recognised credit card – cash deposits are not accepted.  The credit card must be in the name of the authorised renter, and the credit card holder must be present at the time of collection. Need to use a business card or one under another name? Please use the following link to download an authorisation form:

Standard Credit Card Authorisation Form

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How/when will my bond/pre-authorisation be released?

A bond or pre-authorisation is a temporary hold placed on your account. During the hold period the funds are not available to you to use, but no money has been debited from your account, it is simply reserved.

The money stays in your account and at the end of the 10 day hold period the funds are released and available to you to use again.

This will not appear on statements as a deduction of the bond amount followed by a credit like you see with a normal purchase.

Accident Cover and Roadside Assistance

What if I have an accident?

Our first concern if you are involved in an accident is your personal well-being. If you do happen to be involved in an accident, you should do the following:

    • First, check if anyone is injured. If emergency assistance is required, dial 111 for an ambulance.
    • If you’re not comfortable driving the vehicle, call Roadside Assistance on 0800 525 525. In any case, notify your nearest Thrifty branch.
    • Do not leave the vehicle without making sure it is safe.
    • Write down names and addresses of all people involved (including any witnesses).

All vehicle repairs must be conducted with the formal approval of your nearest Thrifty branch.

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What if I breakdown or need help?

We provide free 24-hour mechanical Roadside Assistance. In an emergency, breakdown or accident call 0800 525 525.

Thrifty’s Roadside Assistance does not cover non-mechanical defects such as lost keys (or when you find your keys but they’re locked inside the car). The same goes for when the battery is flat due to the lights being left on, when you’ve got a puncture etc.

The good news is that you’re still eligible to receive assistance. But you’ll need to cover the call-out fee.

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Does Thrifty offer one-way rentals?

Yes, however certain fees may apply and this service varies from each location. We also offer free relocation deals. This is a fantastic way to see New Zealand on a budget. Click here to see how you could get a free one way rental.

Can I hire snow chains & ski or board racks?

Snow chains and racks are available to hire from $13.80 per day or $69 for 5 or more days from selected South Island locations. For North Island skiing we recommend hiring from a trusted supplier at the base of the mountain. Requests for chains and racks need to be made at time of reservation.

Vehicles are required to carry chains on Milford Rd between May & November.

Are baby or child seats available?

Baby seats and booster seats are available at additional cost. Just make sure you select the appropriate seat at the time of booking and we’ll ensure that it’s waiting for you, pre-installed for a hassle-free pick up. Whilst are staff have been trained to install baby seats correctly, it is up to the accompanying adult to check its fit prior to travel.

Are GPS units built into your vehicles?

Some of our vehicles do have GPS built in. If you require GPS functionality, please speak to a friendly Customer Service Representative when you collect your vehicle from the Thrifty counter to find out whether you will need to hire one.

Fuel options

Option One: Purchase “Pre-paid Fuel” you can add this to your rental at pick up. This enables you to pay in advance for a full tank of fuel, so you can bring the vehicle back empty without having to incur any additional cost. You’ll find that our Pre-paid Fuel rates are considerably cheaper per litre than what you’ll get at the pump, so take advantage and save time and money. Once purchased this option is non-refundable.

Option Two: If you don’t have time to stop for petrol and won’t be using a full tank, let us fill it up for you. You’ll be charged the location re-fuelling rate at the time of returning your vehicle, so please ask your counter staff upon collection.

Option Three: Make sure you go to a petrol station before returning your vehicle and bring it back full. This will avoid any additional re-fuelling charges.

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Pick up / Drop off

Once I have made a booking, can I change the details of my booking?

You can modify your booking prior to the pickup date, altering your dates, times, vehicle type and additional extras by calling our Contact Centre on 0800 73 70 70. Just like airline sites, the daily rate may increase, so it’s best to ensure you get it right first time. If possible, please ensure any changes are at least 12 hours prior to your vehicle collection. Please note that if you’ve already collected the rental car and want to make a change, its best to contact the pick-up location. Refer to the contact details provided on your Rental Agreement.

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What happens if I'm late returning the vehicle?

Even the best-laid plans sometimes don’t work out, so we do offer a grace period of 59 minutes. After the 59 minute grace period an hourly rate is charged for 1 – 4 hours. Anything above 5 hours is considered a 1 rental day.

Can I return the vehicle outside the location operating hours?

Yes, you may return your vehicle when the Thrifty location is closed, to an alternative location. The vehicle will remain your responsibility until it has been checked by a Thrifty Representative.

Can I extend the rental?

Yes. Extending the rental duration is possible either at the time of check out or during the rental itself. Contact us or come in to the nearest location. Any extension will be subject to vehicle availability and additional payment.

Can I cancel my booking?

You can cancel your booking at anytime free of charge.  Please let us know about any cancellation as soon as possible, that way we can make the vehicle available for other customers.

Do I need to check the condition of the vehicle prior to leaving the keys at the counter?

Yes, but rest assured our trained staff will have already inspected the vehicle to the best of their ability prior to pick up. If you find a new apparent defect (not listed on the inspection sheet), then we encourage you to inform a Thrifty employee. A joint examination of the vehicle can then occur.

Toll roads and administration fees

Are there any toll roads in New Zealand?

Yes. Travelling north of Auckland on the Northern Gateway requires a payment of $2.40 per car. Travelling on the Tauranga Eastern Link Toll Road will incur a fee of $2.10 per car or Takitimu Drive Toll Road (Tauranga) is $1.90 per vehicle. You can pay online pre or post travel, or go here to find out where you can pay by cash. You will need the car licence plate details. And make sure you pay within 5 days to avoid those administration fees!

What are administration fees?

Thrifty charges an administration fee to cover the cost of the time involved to process the paperwork of an infringement. Infringements include speeding tickets, parking fines and unpaid toll fees. The administration fee is $28.75 per infringement.

If you’d like to avoid paying this fee, Thrifty suggests driving within the speed limit, parking legally and paying tolls in cash or online within 5 days of travel. If you do travel on a toll road and pay after this 5 day period, please scan and email a copy of your receipt so we can add this to your reservation.

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Are there any additional charges to the rental?

Any additional charges such as underage surcharge, premium location surcharge (also known as an ‘airport service fee’) and optional extras are all included in your quote at the time of booking. Other extras such as refuelling or our pre-paid fuel service may be applicable at the completion of your rental. A surcharge of 2% +GST will apply when paying by credit card or overseas debit card.

What does 'Premium Location Surcharge' mean?

The premium location surcharge (also known as an ‘airport service fee’) applies to all rentals collected from any of our airport locations and the Wellington and Picton Ferry Terminals. These locations incur additional operational costs for us.

We choose to recover this cost on a ‘user pays’ basis rather than spreading this cost across all our rental sites in New Zealand. This is a worldwide industry standard charge. In some countries the fee aligns with a percentage of revenue charged by the airport companies. In New Zealand we charge a flat fee of $51.75 per rental at our Auckland Airport, Wellington Airport, Christchurch Airport and Queenstown Airport locations. All other airport locations are $46 per rental. This is a one-off charge regardless of how long the rental is.

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Vehicle Information

What age are your vehicles?

Our vehicles range from 0-2yrs old, with an average age of 9 months.

Do any vehicles having towing capacity?

Our Utility vehicles are the only Thrifty fleet fitted with tow bars and can tow up to 2,500kgs.

Can you guarantee the make, model and colour of the vehicle I prefer?

All our rental vehicles are subject to availability, so unfortunately we can’t guarantee the make or model of the vehicle as we often have varying models within the same category.

Colour? No, unfortunately not. We simply cannot guarantee the colour of your vehicle.

But be sure to ask our friendly counter staff at the time of collection and we’ll see what we can do for you.