Things to know before renting a car in Miami

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Miami is a big city, in fact, it is the seventh largest city in the United States, and if you are planning to travel around it, you better know which are the best options to get around without too many setbacks. 
The city's public transportation is very good and is one of the most economical options, but depending on your needs, renting a car can be a very good decision.

To begin with, renting a car gives you the freedom to explore Miami at your own pace and schedule, without being tied to public transportation or ride-sharing apps,  it also allows you to venture outside the city and explore Miami's surrounding áreas like Coral Gables or Fort Lauderdale and attractions such as the Everglades, Key West, or the Florida Keys and,  it can even be a cost-effective option if you are traveling with a group or planning to visit many places in one day.
But perhaps the greatest benefit is that it allows you to experience the city like a local and discover hidden gems and local hotspots that may not be easily accessible by public transportation.

There are many companies to rent a car in Miami, with different vehicle options and prices, and you can check and compare them here. But first, here are some things you will appreciate knowing:
  1. Age restrictions: Most rental car companies require renters to be at least 21 years old, and some may charge an additional fee for renters under the age of 25.
  2. Documents: You must have a valid driver's license to rent a car in Miami. If you are an international visitor, you may need an International Driving Permit (IDP). You will also be asked for a valid passport or a National ID card or EU ID card , and a credit card (this should be in the name of the main driver) in order to make the rent.
  3. Insurance: It is recommended to purchase insurance coverage from the rental car company, but your personal auto insurance may cover rental cars as well. It is important to check with your insurance provider before you rent a car.
  4. Traffic laws: Familiarize yourself with Florida's traffic laws before getting behind the wheel. Speeding, texting while driving, and failing to wear a seatbelt are all illegal in Florida.
  5. Parking: In Miami can be difficult and expensive. Be prepared to pay for parking or to search for street parking.
  6. Navigation: Consider renting a GPS or bringing your own navigation device to help you navigate Miami's busy streets.
  7. Traffic congestion: Miami is known for heavy traffic, especially during rush hour. Be prepared to spend more time on the road during peak traffic times. Leave plenty of time to reach your destination and and consider alternative routes to avoid congested areas.
  8. Tolls: Be prepared to pay tolls when driving through Miami’s highways. You must know Florida's Turnpike, Dolphin Expressway (836) and the Airport Expressway (State Road 112) are toll roads. And The Palmetto Expressway (826) and Interstate 95 (I-95) are toll-free road. An important thing to keep in mind is that toll roads in Miami cannot be paid in cash or credit card. They require all drivers to pay via SunPass (this is an electronic device that attaches to the windshield and communicates via radio frequency with each toll plaza you pass).

Final tips
If you already decided when and where to rent a car, and you have all the requiered documents, here's some advice you should know before finally enjoy your trip.
  • When renting the car, check the paperwork to ensure it includes all your requested items.
  • Thoroughly inspect the car for damages and abnormalities, and document any issues with photos or videos before you use it so you won't have missunderstandings with the company later.
  • Check that the safety equipment is present and ensure you have a copy of the rental agreement with you while driving.
  • Most car hire companies have a full-to-full fuel policy, this means you'll have to return the car with a tank full of gas. So make sure your last stop is the closest petrol station on route to the drop off point. 
By keeping these tips in mind, you can have a stress-free and exciting experience while renting a car in Miami. So, buckle up and get ready to explore everything this beautiful city has to offer!
PD: If you are driving in Miami for the first time and you need more information about it (like roads, highways, or laws), you may want to check this article.