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Hiring a Car in Barbados: Rental Costs, Insurance & All You Need to Know

A rental car will be your four wheels of freedom to go where your fancy may take you, stress free & carefree. The ultimate way to experience all that Barbados has to offer! In this guide we’ll share with you everything you need to know about how to drive in Barbados, what are your best options to explore the island, how much should it cost you, how to save your $, and how to get the most of your trip in terms of money & safety!

Renting a car in Barbados can get quite expensive for new holidaymakers to the island, but you can also find very affordable ways to hire a vehicle while you are holidaying in Barbados. Here’s what to consider before you sign any leasing documents.
Barbados inscription in sand

How to rent a car in Barbados

Hiring your own rental vehicle for your stay in Barbados is a great idea, but there are lots of different approaches to reserving a hire car. So, how do you book the right transportation for you in Barbados?

Whether you make a reservation ahead of time or you take your chances and book a car when you get to Barbados, there are benefits and drawbacks to each option. The right choice for you will depend on your circumstances.

Book your rental car in advance

You’ll get rewarded for being organized, so reserve as soon as you can to save money. Some people leave everything until the last minute. Some do it because they are forgetful; some do it because they think they will get a better deal by just “turning up on the day”. Whatever the reasons, this is the wrong way to start your vacation. What if you can’t find transportation because it is a busy period and you didn’t call ahead? Maybe there will be cars available, but they will not suit the needs of you and your traveling companions.

If you decide to compare rates online, it’s a good idea to book your hire car as soon as you decide on a provider. This will ensure that the vehicle you want is available and could help you get a cheap car rental in Barbados.

Booking through online travel agents

There are many online options for reserving rental cars in Barbados, just like anywhere in the world. Global websites – which act as online travel agents – such as Travelocity, Orbitz, or Expedia, often have great deals and make it easy to compare options from lots of brands. Be aware though – these big websites don’t always display every hiring company, often using affiliate links to generate income from indirect referrals.

Booking directly through a leasing company

You can use an online travel agent to get an idea of which company has the best prices, and then head to that company’s own website to reserve through them. Instead of booking through their reservation form, email them directly and ask for any specials and deals that may be available to you.

Booking directly with local companies

To find the smaller, local hire car companies, look beyond the first couple of pages of search results. Here is where you’ll find non-branded companies who can give you first-hand advice and often better hire car deals when booking directly through them.

Using opaque sites

The other online option is to use an opaque site. These sites like Priceline or Hotwire work by selling you heavily discounted pre-paid hire car reservations, but they’re non-refundable as to their individual terms and conditions policy. You won’t find out the name of the leasing company until you receive your confirmation voucher. Some companies like, they are no refund for cancellations less than 48 hours prior to the booking rental begin date. This is a good option for people on a budget or looking for a good deal, but if you need any kind of flexibility, this is not for you!
man drives a rental car on Barbados road

How much does it cost to rent from a local company in Barbados

Hiring a car in Barbados can be a costly experience if you do not do your homework properly and gain a clear understanding of why prices can vary so much. However, you can make sure you get the most affordable deal possible if you do some checking around and understand why some Barbados car hire companies have different rates to others and why some appear to be much cheaper.

Take a glimpse at the prices for renting a car in Barbados. Keep in mind that the prices vary depending on the car you rent. Usually, the price starts from around $20 for an open vehicle and can go as high as $220 for a day for a really performant car, with 5 seats.

The price you pay for renting a car should be transparent, but with so many car rental companies charging for hidden extras it’s not so clear. Educate yourself on the top extra charges that Barbados vehicle hire companies charge, and how you can avoid them and you will be the one with the advantage.

Selecting a car class

When it comes to secure a car online, most sites will give you the option to select the size or make and model of vehicle that you prefer. The smaller the car, the cheaper the price. There are two strategies for getting the best deal and hiring the most suitable motor vehicle for you.

Book the smallest car and hope they run out of it

Most people book the smallest hatchback because they are cheapest, and when the rental companies run out of compact sedans they upgrade other customers who have booked small cars. This is risky, as they might have the said one which you reserved and you’ll end up driving around with your luggage crammed at your feet, but if luck is in your favor then you’ll get a bigger motorcar and a free upgrade!

Book in the slow season

The option above is unlikely to work. Instead, wait until just before your holiday to book your car. That way you can get better deals and see a better variety of cars which are available to you.

Types of vehicles permit holders are allowed to hire

In Barbados, you are allowed to hire different types of cars: mini- mokes for a total sense of freedom, motorcars for a classic experience, ideal for moving from point A to point B, vans and light goods for those who travel together with a large group of friends or family and motorcycles – for adventurous people who travel alone or with one companion.

Choose the car you need

This is the first option and the safest for making sure you get the car with the correct amount of space, seats, and doors for your requirements. If you’re traveling with a big family or really value comfort, it is best to book the exact transportation you want.

What type of car should you rent in Barbados?

mini truck toy souvenir
Here are some handy pointers to help you choose the top 5 vehicles to rent in Barbados

Hiring a mini moke

This is a fun car and it is perfect if you arrive during the summer and love the feel of wind on your face. Take the top down and enjoy the fresh air, the wonderful scenery and let all your cares and worries get blown away. The moke is small and practical. It is always a popular favorite with honeymooners and doesn’t guzzle petrol! This is a no-frills car – but then what’s the point of having a radio you can’t hear, and there’s no air con because it doesn’t have doors and instead comes with its own fresh air, a whole island full of it!

Mini Moke storage space is limited, therefore, leave large backpacks at your hotel room and pack only the necessities for the day.
rental car parked next to a beach in Barbados

The economy hatchback

It is unlikely you are going to be spending your whole time in Barbados in the car, so practical and multi-purpose is the order of the day with a small hatchback, such as a Toyota Yaris or a Toyota Vitz. Big enough for four (it has five doors), as long as the two in the back aren’t basketball players! Economical where petrol is concerned and there are usually a few feature comforts included, such as a radio/CD player, power steering, power windows and that all important air conditioning for those of you who don’t like really hot weather.

The compact sedan

A move up into something more suitable for four adults, here we are talking about a car such as a four-door Toyota Corolla. This is a great choice if all four of you enjoy exploring and sightseeing in comfort and once again comes with plenty of extras, including power steering, radio/CD player and refreshing cool air conditioning. A sensible and practical vehicle that is also economical to run.

The small jeep

Back to fun cars with a bit of extra fun thrown in, as well as three doors this time! A soft top allows you to make the most of the wonderful weather in Barbados, but in case of the odd shower, it is as easy as pie to put the roof back up. Then, of course, if it is blistering hot and you want to go out and explore, you can keep the roof up and enjoy a cool blast from the air conditioning. Small jeeps like the Suzuki Jimny are great for couple’s days out and if you are looking to rent a vehicle in Barbados, you will go a long way to find a more versatile car to lease.

The minivan car or people carrier

If you are looking for something bigger to accommodate four of you in bags of space or six or seven of you in comfort, then you are going to want to consider renting a vehicle such as a Toyota Noah van, though you shouldn’t be expecting any floods! With comfort and space come those much-needed extras to make your trips around the island or to the beach even more enjoyable. These should include a radio/CD player, electric windows, power steering, power mirrors and, of course, air conditioning.

Most hire vehicles in Barbados come with automatic transmission as standard, which is ideal for those who are used to having the steering wheel on the other side of the car and can never find the gear stick when you need it!

You may have heard of the expression “horses for courses” and I suppose here we are talking about “horsepower for courses” when it comes to car hire in Barbados. The reason for your visit to this beautiful island could be anything from business to a holiday, a mixture of both, or even your honeymoon. One thing is for certain and that is you will be needing transport while you are here to give you the freedom you deserve to sample everything that is on offer to you. So, the choice of car rental in Barbados likely depends very much on your reason for being here and also the numbers of you there are.

What type of car is best to hire in Barbados for each type of traveler

Wedding travelers

It is well known that Barbados is a popular wedding destination because of the beaches and the sunsets. You can party together with friends and family until sunrise, so the wedding will surely be something you will never forget. Regarding transportation, there are more types of cars you can hire for this event.
If you plan for everybody to come on the island and leave the island at the same time, you can easily rent one or more minivans.
In case your guests arrive at different times, we recommend you to hire economy hatchbacks for every family that lands.

For the big day, the newlyweds can hire a mini moke and arrive on the beach in style.

The options must match the number of the guests and the time they arrive or depart.
diving in Barbados sea


The honeymoon should be a vacation you two will never forget. So make the most out of it and plan to try everything Barbados has to offer. We surely recommend you to rent a mini moke and enjoy the view and the fresh air of Barbados.

Exotic travelers

For the couples that come to Barbados to enjoy their holiday, we advise on more types of car. If you plan on staying for a couple of weeks, you will have some luggage, so maybe you can take into consideration a compact sedan. But if you want some adventure, take into consideration a mini moke. Take into consideration that mini mokes don’t have a lot of space for the luggage.

A combination that offers the advantages of a mini moke and the space for the luggage is the small jeep. It is up to your budget which one you choose.

Stag party travelers

Get the party started right after you arrive. You can lease a minivan and have your friends close to you during all the vacation. Because you celebrate together, you must stick together. Make sure you tell the company if there will be more than one driver during your stay. Renting a car is the best option, as you get the freedom you need.

Business traveler

For sure, a mini moke is not fit if you go for a business travel. Considering there’s you and maybe one more co-worker, it is best for you to hire an economical hatchback. You will probably spend a lot of time in meetings, so you will need a car for transportation and this type of car is the best choice. If you combine travel with leisure, maybe you can alternate the hatchback car with a mini moke.

One way car hire in Barbados

Domestic one way car hires are permitted (minimum length requirements vary between one & three days depending on the supplier). Travel off the island is not permitted with any supplier.

If you plan to drive with a Barbados car hire, you can pick it up in one location and return it to another location but there are some restrictions that you need to check with your car hire supplier.

One way car rental prices in Barbados vary depending on the car hire company you choose, the location where you drop off your vehicle, and whether you sign beforehand a one-way auto rental agreement. Although Barbados is not a large island, measuring 34 kilometers in length and up to 23 kilometers in width, one-way car rentals can be extra work for car renting services, which have to pick up the car from where you drop it off and bring it back to their pick up location. This is why you can expect some companies to charge you between 30 to 50 US dollars for a one-way car rental in Barbados, which is sometimes included in the reservation quote. However, not all rental car companies charge this fee.

When one-way car rentals are useful

There are some cases when you need to rent a one-way car. For example, if an emergency arises and you have to leave the island quickly. During your stay, you can change your hotel or villa, settling in a different part of the island or when departing, you have extra luggage that doesn’t fit into the car and so you choose to take a taxi to the airport. We also encounter the situation when on arrival, our customers pick up their car from the Bridgetown seaport and decide to drop it off at Grantley Adams airport when leaving the island.

Because Barbados is a small island, you can avoid paying a one way car rental cost. At Drive Barbados, a family-operated car hire company, we want to make our drivers’ rental experience as enjoyable as possible, which is why we do not charge one way vehicle rental rates
view of a beach in Barbados

Rental base rate & drop off fee

Generally, there are two things that influence the price of a one way car rental: the rental base rate and any drop off fee the car hire provider may charge. Some companies may have both a high baseline and a drop off fee, charging you US $50 or even more. Large companies operating near the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados are more likely to charge high drop charges, as they usually expect the cars they hire to be brought back to the pick-up location. Smaller companies, on the other hand, may have either a US $30 – US $50 flat drop off fee, or no fee at all.

The base price and mandatory taxes

Renting companies always list the basic rate in their price breakdown, but not many are aware that it’s a price you don’t actually pay in the end. The base amount doesn’t contain any hiring options, fees or taxes and appears with the sole purpose of showcasing how much the company actually takes. The base rate is followed by taxes and additional charges, which are subsequently included to the invoice. These are the fees which cannot be avoided and which you are obliged to pay.

How do car hire prices vary in Barbados

Seasonal factors

Because it lies so close to the Equator, Barbados does not have four seasons like many other countries. Instead, it has the ‘dry season’ which lasts from December to May, and the ‘rainy season’ from June to November. December to May is known as winter, and June to December as summer, and unlike many other countries, the winter is the holiday season when the climate is at its most favorable.

So where at home, you might find car rental costs lower in the winter period, in Barbados they are higher.

A car hired in the winter season (which includes rental costs, CDW coverage, and taxes) can be as low as:

  • For an economy hatchback cars (Suzuki Swift, Toyota Yaris or similar) – between $400 – $500 per week
  • For a mid-size sedan car – (Toyota Yaris sedan or similar) – between $500 – $600 per week

A car is hired in the summertime (drivers may be able to negotiate a better deal):

  • A discount of between 10 and 20 percent off the usual winter seasonal rate per week.

Daily rentals can be very expensive

  • as much as $70 – $100 per day for an economy car instead of $400 to $500 per week in the peak winter periods

Monthly rental packages

  • discount of 5 to 20% off may be applied

Rates are based on the following dates:

  • High Rate 15th December – 15th April
  • High Rate 15th July – 15th August for the Crop Over Festival
  • Low Rate 16th April – 14th December excluding Crop Over Festival Dates

surfer rides huge wave Bathsheba Barbados

Type of rental vehicle

The cost of car hire will depend on the size of vehicle and model you want. Bigger and more luxurious cars will cost significantly more than their regular counterparts. Economy hatchback and mini moke rentals are very popular in Barbados. Larger vehicles including Jeeps are also fairly common, as well as mid-sized and compact sized vehicles.

As a general rule of thumb, the smaller the vehicle the lower the rental price.
Sizes are usually graded along the following lines.

  • Economy – Fun ‘mini-moke’ or soft-top Jimny jeep seats 3
  • Economy Hatchback seats 4
  • Compact Sedan seats 4
  • Family Carrier – Noah Town ace Minivan style seats 6+

Rental duration

The duration of your lease will also influence the price. Depending on the length of time you want to hire your vehicle, monthly car rental rates can be reduced by up to 20 – 30%.

Promotional discounts

While most companies will increase their prices during the peak season, however, some car rental companies like Drive Barbados, offer discounts throughout the year, such as free Barbados driving license, ¼ of petrol at NO cost and an international calling card worth US $5.

Prepaid car rentals

Certain companies may offer discounts for prepaid auto rental, however, these are non-refundable. If you cancel your trip, find a better deal in Barbados or change your mind about the vehicle, you will be stuck with the charges.

Rental car taxes: additional features

There are many charges that may affect your costs. The secret to saving money on car hire is to buy the basic package and read extra charges as extra features. Educating yourself on the top extra charges that Barbados vehicle hire companies charge will be to your advantage.
The price that’s advertised for car rental is typically not the whole story. There will be unforeseen charges such as:

  • Insurance
  • Baby seats
  • Sat-nav
  • Late returns
  • Fuel charges
  • Damage

navigation in a rental car
The key to a happy transaction is to figure out what extra expenditure you are likely to come across, and how you can still have a great rental experience without paying for them. Be aware of the following extra cost:

  • GPS satellite navigation – $25 – $35 per week
  • Child seat or stroller – $30 – $40 per week for
  • Additional drivers – $20 – $25 per week per driver
  • Pickup at airport – $5 or as much as $30
  • Gasoline charges – average of $25 – $35
  • CDW Insurance Coverage – The car hire company will have to insure you for collisions and accidents, so having many years of driving experience, and a clean driving record will likely lower these fees.
  • Compulsory Barbados Visitors Driver’s Permit – cost US $5.00 per hirer. The number of people who will be drivers will affect the price tag and drivers with less experience may have to pay more for insurance than those with more years of driving.
  • Taxes (VAT etc.) – Government taxes also add to the cost of renting a car in Barbados. Unlike the rental fees, taxes tend not to change very often, however, they do affect the final price.
  • Cancellation fee – Keep in mind that if you choose to cancel your rental on the same day of leasing, you will be charged $100.00!

Make sure to avoid paying extra charges ahead of time so that you’re able to set your budget correctly.

The key to a happy rental transaction is to figure out what extra expenditure you are likely to come across, and how you can still have a great rental experience without paying for them. Leasing an automobile in Barbados will not be expensive if you are aware of the following extra cost: The simple thing would be to take your child seat with you if you’re going to hire out a motorcar. Companies love to rent out simple items such as baby seats and roof racks because of the positive return on investment.
Sat-nav: nowadays our smartphones are so good that GPS equipment is not really required. You can download an app for a small fee, instead of the expensive sat-nav option at a vehicle leasing service.
closer view to mini truck toy souvenir
Late returns: being charged extra for a late return can be annoying, but if that happens then you have nobody to blame but yourself. So keep track of the time and return the car within the time limit.

If your leasing package includes a few extra items (such as GPS navigation and baby seats), you’ll need to pay 17.5% on Government VAT charges. Save a few dollars by bringing your own travel accessories and by using the free map which is provided upon arrival to avoid paying more than double the daily rate of your rental car!

The delivery of the hired vehicle is free of charge during the operational hours of the leasing firm. An additional fee of $15.00 must be paid if the car will be returned before 8.30 AM and after 4:00 PM. In case of a late restitution bear in mind that an hourly fee of $13.00 will be applied.

Check your rental car before departure

It may sound obvious, but far too many people forget to do their due diligence when leasing a vehicle overseas. Sure, you want your vacation to start right away, but make sure that you check the hire car thoroughly so you cannot be blamed for pre-existing problems such as:

  • Scratches and dents
  • Tires are roadworthy
  • Working electronics

While walking around the car and looking for issues, take pictures of anything that you think is noteworthy or record a video during your inspection, so that you have proof if there was damage prior to your lease.

Extra drivers fee with your hire: One annoying added cost of having to pay more when there are additional drivers. This is really isn’t fair, and for that reason, we have a special offer for the spouse who gets to drive the car free of cost.

Car type upgrade options: Car rental companies in Barbados will try to throw upgrades in your face, but you have to ask yourself – do you really need that upgrade? If the answer is no then select the simpler model and save money by doing so.

Negotiate for a better car rental deal: In Barbados, there are a few auto leasing companies to choose from; therefore companies will be trying hard to get your business. This gives you the power to negotiate to land a better bargain. You won’t know how much you can negotiate on the price until you try.

Car rental from an airport location in Barbados: While it might be convenient to hire a vehicle at GAIA, it is not the smart thing to do. Airport companies are billed with a “concession fee” by the airport and that amount is passed down to you most of the time.

Fuel rates: When you return the car ensure the gasoline is topped up. Otherwise, you’ll be charged with a “refueling fee” and a “convenience charge”, which is money that could be in your pocket.

Damages & unnecessary car insurance: It’s important to inspect a car with care before you sign the auto-rental agreement. Take and save pictures for your safety, and to avoid any liability on return. Also, check with your auto insurance provider to see if they cover your hire outside of your country. Alternatively, some credit cards offer insurance as well.

As you can see from the list above, car hire companies in Barbados have a variety of ways to increase the size of the final price. Our family-operated company will try to minimize the extra costs that our clients incur.
the narrow road among the trees in Barbados

DOs for Barbados car hire

Read the Auto Rental Agreement
Understanding the agreement is important. If there is anything that you don’t understand, then raise your questions with the vehicle hire service.

Check the Google Maps driving time

The information from this tool is pretty much true and it helps you make an idea about the speed limit and places where you must slow down.

Pay with a credit card

The car rental companies usually don’t charge you until you return the car, but they usually do a temporary authorization when you pick up your car. Also, many companies prefer the credit card and most of the credit cards cover extra insurance, but check yours to make sure this rule applies to you, too.

Make a video or take several photos of the car

You must bring back the car in the same condition they gave it back to you. But before starting your adventure, it is better for you to make a video or take pictures of the rented car. This way, you make sure you won’t be paying extra money for damages you didn’t do.

DONTs for Barbados car hire

While the DOs listed above can help make your life a bit easier, the points below should be avoided at all costs. Some are dangerous, some are illegal, and most will cost you money (whether on hospital bills, fines, or car damage depends on how badly you mess up).

Over insure yourself when leasing

Certain levels of insurance will be included within the price of the rental, and your own insurance policy may also cover your hire vehicle. Make sure that you check both policies fully and read the fine print so that you know what you are getting and what you need, to avoid over-insuring yourself.

Forget about hidden fees in the rental price

Be sure to read all of the terms and conditions of your motor rental agreement and ask the provider plenty of questions about the lease. This way you won’t be caught out by any hidden fees that you didn’t know about such as restrictions on mileage or returning the vehicle late.

Get lost when driving in Barbados

If you’re visiting Barbados for the first time and don’t know the area, make sure that you have a means of navigating. Maps are easy to come by, but if you’re unsure of your map-reading skills, opting for GPS navigation with your hire car might be the sensible option.

Run out of gas for your rental car

Equal to getting lost in Barbados, you don’t want to find yourself stuck with an empty fuel tank. Keep an eye on your fuel gauge and keep it topped up. If you are required to return your vehicle with a full tank of gas, make a note of where the closest gas station to the rental company is.<

Skip out on the final inspection

Some rental businesses might encourage you to simply hand over the car and keys and leave everything else to them. This is convenient for you and will save you time, which can be tempting if you’re in a rush to catch your flight, but we would advise staying for the final inspection to ensure that everything is settled properly. If the providers find any issue with your hire car, it will be much easier to resolve there and then in person, rather than it turning into your word against theirs in a dispute over the phone or online.

Wait until the last minute

For sure, you won’t get the best deal available if you book your car right before arrival. Beside the higher fare, you risk not to get the type of car you need.
a seascape and a woman next to a rented car in Barbados

How to save money on your rental & avoid extra charges

You can enjoy the convenience of having a rental car, without racking up unexpected fees, if you come in prepared. Simply following the rules and knowing what the extra charges can be will protect you from them.

  • Hire a car in advance, to enjoy early booking discounts.
  • Keep in mind that long-term is cheaper than 1-day rentals pro rata. Check out weekend and weekly rates.
  • If you choose to cancel your rental on the same day of leasing, you will be charged $100.00!
  • Save a few dollars by bringing your own travel accessories and by using the free map which is provided upon arrival. If your leasing package includes a few extra items (such as GPS navigation and baby seats), you’ll need to pay 17.5% on Government VAT charges.
  • Return your car on time or risk late return fees. An additional fee of $15.00 must be paid if the car will be returned before 8.30 AM and after 4:00 PM. In case of a late restitution bear in mind that an hourly fee of $13.00 will be applied!
  • Remember the airport parking cost on return / drop off.
  • One way rental is where you rent a vehicle from one location and return it in another. One way car hire is a convenient way of planning your trip, but check with the car rental company if they charge extra for this service.
  • Surprises – Unexpected charges when you get home can come in the form of payments for supposed damage, speeding tickets, parking fines, etc. Note and photograph any scratch or damage. Don’t hurry this up – if it’s not documented in your contract, it might show up on your bill afterward. Go around the car and look for any damage and mark even minor scratches on the rental agreement. Don’t leave anything off.

wallet with money and credit cards on a table

Car rental insurance

Hiring a car if you are 25 Years, or younger

The younger you are and the less driving experience you have, the more you’ll have to pay on insurance policy. The collision damage waiver (CDW) will be quite high, easily surpassing $1,000, and the collision excess deposit will also increase.

Insurance can be a major area of confusion for travelers. Before signing on the dotted line of any vehicle insurance form, you need to examine the affordable options that are available on the automobile rental insurance. To hire and benefit from insurance in Barbados, you need a credit or debit card.

Keep in mind that select credit card companies, such as American Express provide a form of car hire insurance, so make sure you know exactly what it covers before the rental company charges you extra.
The exact figures depend on the company you hire your vehicle from, but if you are 25 years or younger, you should be prepared to pay more to lease a car in Barbados.

Rental protection and insurance

Leased cars are widely insured at the rate of hire. However, in case of accident or damage caused to the vehicle, up to $2,000.00 can be deducted.

To avoid this preposterous fee, one can optionally purchase an additional Excess Waiver, also known as Extra Protection, which can reduce the deductible fee to $125.00.

In case of an accident, the Excess Waiver will be completely discharged and must be reacquired for the rest of the rental.

CDW terms and excess amounts

CDW is also known as Collision Damage Waiver and represents the amount of money the driver must pay in case of an accident. The CDW allows drivers a measure of insurance that the rental company will not charge over a certain amount in the event of an accident.

The deductible amount for this insurance ranges between $1,000 and $1,750. This is not the same as automobile insurance. Rather, it allows the driver to use the car rental company’s auto insurance as if it were their own transportation.

Security deposit fee

Another possible scenario is paying a $600.00 Security Deposit upon hiring, which is returned to the renter if everything is in order and no damage done to the vehicle.

This supplement does not include damage to the tires, rims or the interior of the car! Although flat tires are fixed for free, those beyond repair will be charged for.

Don’t forget to read your policy and credit card member agreement thoroughly, to know beforehand what you already have covered and what extra additions you need to buy.

Since many local companies fail to state insurance clauses clearly, I highly recommend you ask all your questions regarding the rental terms and conditions before signing on the dotted line.

How to avoid rental insurance pitfalls

Read the small print! That may sound like something you don’t have time to do when hiring a car, but that’s truly important, especially where car rental insurance is concerned.
Why? Because the small print tells you the truth, not just the bits that make everything sound like a good deal.

Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.

Read the small lines and discover the pitfalls. This way, you will know how to avoid the traps and safely ensure you have the right vehicle rental insurance cover for the right price. Here is a small list of things you should double check while reading the small lines:

  • You may have offers of free insurance from your bank or other financial institute. More often than not, you will find that you have some form of holiday insurance cover, but it won’t cover you for vehicle hire.
  • It is possible that your credit card company or bank have already offered you CDW insurance, or collision damage waiver insurance that will cover you for this first US$1,750. Double check if you are covered for Barbados.
  • You may have automobile insurance which covers you for driving any vehicle at home. However, experience tells us that that kind of insurance will not cover for driving a rental car abroad.
  • You may have taken out a very comprehensive holiday insurance policy to cover everything when traveling in a foreign country. However holiday insurance, even for injury while in a vehicle, will not cover you for driving a hire car.

Make sure you get the correct cover

Comprehensive car insurance is necessary for leasing a car as not every driver on the island is insured. If you are not at fault when an accident occurs, but the other driver has no insurance, a claim will be made through the insurance company providing your car hire insurance.
Comprehensive insurance will usually cover you for all but the first US$1,750 of any claim. You should take out what is called collision damage waiver insurance. That will cover you for all but usually the first US$125.00 of the US$1,750 excess. The typical cost of CDW insurance is US$125.00.
You can opt not to take outCDW insurance, so remember that you will be responsible if your car is damaged by someone else and they do not have insurance coverage. You will also be responsible for any minor damage to wheel rims and bodywork, as well as the interior.
If you do have CDW insurance that is provided by someone not recommended by your insurance company, remember that you will have to pay for any excess damage and then reclaim it from your own insurance company.
Of course, if you want complete peace of mind when you arrive in Barbados, then please do consider in choosing one of the options available for insurance coverage when renting a car.
Drive Barbados can offer you this service with your vehicle rental when visiting the island.

How does credit card car rental insurance work in Barbados

What happens with your credit card details once you hand them over to your hire car company

We also want to run through what will usually happen regarding your debit card in the event you are involved in an accident which damages the vehicle you have hired. Car rental is not a complicated business in Barbados providing you stick within the tried and tested guidelines.
man holding a credit card in his hand
Now first off, when you agree to hire a car in Barbados you will be required to provide all your credit card details. This is so that the Barbados hire car company is able to receive payment for the renting of the vehicle. However, providing your details also allows the hire company to take additional payments in the event you have been involved in an accident.
When you rent a car in Barbados you will be offered the option of paying for what is called Collision Damage Waiver. In simple terms, your actual car insurance policy will only cover you for the total cost of damage repair, less between US $250.00 and US $1,500.00 depending on who you are insured with. You really should take out a CDW policy to protect yourself for the amount of cover your main policy doesn’t include, which will usually cover you for all but the first US $50.00 or US $100.00 of any claim.

In the event you have an accident, the hire company has the right to use your credit card to make good any balance between the amount of insurance cover you have on your car for lease, and the actual cost of repairs. However the car hire company cannot simply decide how much you have to pay and help them, it has to be a legally justified amount.

In addition, your credit card can be used to make payment in instances where you have not informed the rental company of your actions. In the event you return the car but do not have time to run through everything with the hire car company as you have to catch your flight, the vehicle hire company in Barbados has the right to take payments using your credit card details. Instances where this can happen include:

  • Exceeding the agreed mileage allowance
  • Payment for parking fines occurred while the vehicle was in your possession
  • Payment of fines relating to traffic infringements (speeding, etc.)
  • Undisclosed damage to the car – including the interior
  • Damage to tires (not wear and tear but damage caused by hitting a kerb, etc.)
  • Late return of vehicle

As a credit or debit card holder you should feel reassured that when using your credit card for paying for a vehicle rental in Barbados, you are not leaving yourself open to being financially abused. Firstly, with a hire car company like Drive Barbados, we depend on our reputation for being fair and honest and we know that it would never pay in the long run to abuse any system that is put in place to protect both the person hiring the car and the company leasing it out. In addition, your credit card company will investigate any unauthorized payment made on your credit card and if they consider that payment breaches the terms of use, then they will make what is called a ‘chargeback’ and credit your card the full amount due.

Airport parking

The airport in Barbados, the Grantley Adams Airport, has been well designed and thought out, certainly allowing for plenty of airport parking. With the need for many Barbadian or Bajan residents to travel abroad, convenient parking at BGI Airport is a must. However a good number of tourists and holidaymakers also use the airport for short flights to neighboring islands, and therefore there is a substantial need for hire car parking. The layout of the parking facilities at Barbados airport is such that the first five sections are specifically reserved for hire vehicles for companies which have offices at the airport itself. Rental cars from private companies not based at the airport you can park in any area.
parked cars at Barbados airport

Airport Parking Fee

In 2016, the airport handled about 2.1 million passengers on over 30,000 flights to and from the island according to the airport’s website
However, ith such a volume of traffic, emphasis is not placed on maximizing revenue from the car park. The minimum stay fee is just $0.50 for half an hour and $0.50 per half hour thereafter. However so as not to penalize the long-stay parker, there is a capped limit of $6.00 per day. These fees are very similar to the adjacent public car park.

At both the departures and the arrivals areas there are automatic pay machines, which accept coins or notes (local currency). There is a 15 minute grace period after payment is made on your card within which you can leave before further charges become due. Also look after your card – the penalty for lost or damaged parking cards is $5 plus $6 per day and for every other day the vehicle is left in the car park lot a charge of $6 per day is added!

If you have any queries or difficulties, there is also a manned payment booth beside the departure terminal, as well as intercoms located at each exit and entrance to the car park. The booth is open from before the first departing flight in the morning, and an hour after the last flight arrives.
Of benefit to both hire car companies, tourists and residents alike, the airport parking facilities have 24-hour security which greatly eliminates the risk of theft and/or damage to your vehicle, whether a rental car or your own personal transportation.

Telephone for the GAIA airport car park pay station booth is 563-1300 ext. 61444.

Dropping off and picking up someone

With a multitude of international flights arriving and departing from it each day, GAIA can be a busy airport. Even if you are just dropping off someone for their flight or collecting them, it is advisable to leave your vehicle in the airport lot. However, there is a small time frame to pick up and drop off on the parking and drop area isles.

Disabled parking available

You can find disabled parking spaces on each aisle of the parking area at GAIA, making it easily accessible.

Alternatives to airport parking

If you find negotiating airport parking stressful and expensive on your trip to the island, here are some other options available to you:

King George Memorial Park

A 10 minutes’ drive from the airport is a refreshing alternative. There is free parking for visitors, so if you’re quite early for your departure it’s a beautiful spot to relax before your flight. It is located in Jezreel, Work Hall, in St. Philip Parish, 1.9 miles north of Diamond Valley, coordinates: Latitude: 13°7’50.5″ Longitude: -59°27’11.99″.

Hotels near BGI Airport

Sometimes it’s found that staying in a hotel near the airport removes a lot of hassle from a holiday, particularly if you have an early flight the following day. It can take away those stressful rushes to the airport to make your flight on time. You’ll be happy to discover hotels give great deals on a one night stay that includes free parking for your vehicle at the hotel, cutting down your costs. There are several hotels located only a couple of miles from the airport, all with their own free parking:
Peach and Quiet Hotel – Inch Marlow. 1.7 miles from GAIA
Ocean Spray Beach Apartments – Surfer’s Point, Inch Marlow. 1.7 miles from GAIA
Silver Point Hotel – Silver Sands Beach, Silver Sands. 2 miles from GAIA
The Crane Residential Resort – Crane Beach, St. Philip 3.9 miles from GAIA
Car Rental Services from Grantley Adams Airport, Bridgetown

Fuel Up Your Car

Whether you’re filling up before setting out to explore the island or refilling your hire car before returning it, there is an ESSO – Sol Gas station situated just next to the airport.

Restaurants Inside & Outside The Airport

In Bridgetown Airport itself you can find a branch of the popular Barbados restaurant Chefette before security, which should take care of any pre- or post-flight hunger. The restaurant telephone number is 418-8770 or 418-8771. Other options are a few steps away from the airport parking facility or you can park just before you decide to drive into the car park to PUG’s. It’s just across the street from the airport parking. Or sit, relax and have a refreshing ice cold beer, while waiting for your flight departure.
Whether you’re quickly passing through the airport to pick up your rental car and heading off on your Barbados trip, or gradually easing yourself into your island holiday, you’ll find the facilities at Grantley Adams Airport and its surroundings suit all types.
Just like considering the costs of airport parking, when deciding on renting a car for your trip it’s important to consider your options. Rental companies based at GAIA are on average 30% higher than local firms due largely to the high costs of operating out of the airport. Choosing to rent with a local, family-owned business has a huge number of benefits, not just in terms of lower costs for your time in Barbados.

Is it safe to rent a car in Barbados?

Getting around safely and comfortably is not guaranteed just because you hire a car; it demands more effort and vigil from you, as a road user, to avoid undesired incidents and accidents.

One of the best things about planning your vacation in Barbados is the safe scenic place with sightseeing opportunities for both young and old visitors, with friendly locals and clean ocean breeze that’s is always near. Follow our tips and tricks and make sure you stay safe while visiting.

The most pressing danger is night driving. Many roads do not have pavements, so pedestrians usually walk on the side of the road where they’re difficult to see. Roads are generally quite narrow and buses and vans go much closer and faster than you might expect.

Because of the potential for car theft, you should never leave valuables in an unattended vehicle and always park in well lit areas. You are advised to never pick up hitchhikers.
Avoid driving your vehicle during the peak rush hours, from 6:30 to 8:30 am and from 4:30 to 5:30 pm during weekdays.

What should you do in case of an accident in Barbados

If you have an accident whilst driving, stay safe by calling the rental car company right away and do not accept responsibility for the accident, even if you are clearly at fault.
These are the telephone numbers you should keep close while traveling in Barbados:

  • Police – 211
  • Ambulance – 511
  • Fire Service – 311

Don’t Forget to Bring Your Sense of Adventure!

two rental cars at the road in Barbados
There is so much to see and do in Barbados, and hiring a car will enable you to enjoy your independence and make the most of your time here. From glorious beaches to mysterious caves, fascinating trails to marveling at the wealth of stunning wildlife, discovering Barbados ‘off the beaten track’ is a must, and so is vehicle rental.
Photo credit: Daniel L. Berek


Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation. Bridgetown is the capital. Around the island are beaches, botanical gardens, the Harrison's Cave formation, and many other tourist attractions.

Tel: (246)-624-0702 © 2022 - Drive Barbados Rent A Car - 786 Fontabelle Road, Henrys Ville Bridgetown, Barbados