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Car Rental in South Korea

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Renting a Car in South Korea

When visiting South Korea, renting a car can be a convenient and efficient way to explore the country. However, it’s important to understand the local driving laws and requirements before hitting the road.

Driving Laws and Requirements

In South Korea, you must be at least 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP) to rent a car. Seatbelts are mandatory for all passengers, and the legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. It’s also important to note that traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road in South Korea.

Choosing a Rental Car

There are numerous rental car companies in South Korea, offering a variety of vehicles to suit your needs. From compact cars for navigating busy city streets to SUVs for exploring the countryside, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Booking Your Rental Car

It’s recommended to book your rental car in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. You can easily make a reservation online or through a travel agency to ensure that you have a vehicle waiting for you upon your arrival in South Korea.

Exploring South Korea by Car

With a rental car, you’ll have the freedom to explore South Korea at your own pace. From the bustling streets of Seoul to the serene countryside and coastal areas, there’s so much to see and do. Just be sure to familiarize yourself with the local traffic signs and rules of the road to ensure a safe and enjoyable journey.

Renting a car in South Korea can provide you with the flexibility to discover all that this beautiful country has to offer. By understanding the local driving laws and requirements, choosing the right rental car, and booking in advance, you can make the most of your South Korean adventure.

Rental Requirements

To rent a car in South Korea, there are a few requirements to keep in mind.

Age Limits

The minimum age for renting a car in South Korea is typically 21 years old, although some rental companies may require drivers to be at least 25 years old. There is also usually a maximum age limit, which can vary by rental company.

Driving License Requirements

In South Korea, you will need a valid driver’s license from your home country or an International Driving Permit (IDP) to rent a car. Some rental companies may also require drivers to have held their license for a certain duration, such as one year.


When renting a car in South Korea, you will need to provide a valid passport, a credit card in the primary driver’s name for the security deposit, and any additional documentation required by the rental company.

It’s important to check the specific requirements of the rental company you plan to use, as these requirements can vary.

Insurance Information

When renting a car in South Korea, it’s important to understand the insurance options available to ensure a smooth and worry-free experience.

Basic Insurance

The basic insurance typically includes Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection. Collision Damage Waiver covers the cost of repairs or replacement of the rental car in case of an accident, while Theft Protection covers the loss or damage of the car due to theft.

Additional Insurance

In addition to basic insurance, travelers have the option to purchase additional insurance for added peace of mind. This may include Personal Accident Insurance, which provides coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits for the driver and passengers, and Supplemental Liability Insurance, which offers protection in the event of third-party claims for bodily injury or property damage.

Insurance Tips

Before renting a car in South Korea, it’s advisable to check existing travel insurance policies to see if they already provide coverage for rental cars. This can help avoid unnecessary expenses and duplicate coverage. Additionally, it’s important to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of the insurance policy to understand the coverage and any exclusions.

Local Driving Laws and Regulations in South Korea

General Traffic Rules

Driving Side: South Korea drives on the right side of the road.
Speed Limits: Urban areas – 60 km/h, Rural roads – 80 km/h, Highways – 100-110 km/h.
Other Useful Info: Traffic signals are often in Korean and English.

Overtaking and Lane Usage

Overtaking Rules: Overtaking is allowed on the left side.
Lane Discipline: Keep right except to overtake on multi-lane roads.
Other Useful Info: Use of hazard lights is common to signal intent to change lanes.

Seat Belt and Child Safety

Seat Belt Laws: Front and rear passengers must wear seat belts.
Child Safety: Children under 12 must use a child restraint system.
Other Useful Info: Taxis may not have seat belts in the rear seats.

Use of Mobile Phones

Mobile Phone Restrictions: It is illegal to use a handheld phone while driving.
Other Useful Info: Use of hands-free devices is allowed.

Alcohol and Driving

Legal Blood Alcohol Limits: 0.05% for regular drivers, zero tolerance for new drivers.
Zero Tolerance Policies: Stricter rules for new drivers and commercial drivers.
Other Useful Info: Random breath tests are common.

Tolls and Charges

Toll Roads: South Korea has several toll roads with electronic toll collection.
Congestion Charges: There are no urban congestion charges.
Other Useful Info: Toll fees can be paid using prepaid cards or credit cards.

Roundabouts and Intersections

Navigating Roundabouts: Roundabouts are not common in South Korea.
Intersection Rules: Right of way is typically given to the vehicle on the main road.
Other Useful Info: Traffic signals are often equipped with countdown timers.

Headlight and Windshield Wiper Laws

Headlight Usage: Headlights must be used at all times, regardless of daylight.
Windshield Wiper Rule: There is no specific requirement to turn on headlights when using wipers.
Other Useful Info: Use of hazard lights is common during heavy rain or fog.

Emergency Vehicles

Right of Way for Emergency Vehicles: Pull over to the right and stop for emergency vehicles.
Other Useful Info: It is illegal to follow emergency vehicles closely or obstruct their path.

Driving Tips for South Korea

Road Conditions

In South Korea, the road conditions are generally good, especially in urban areas. However, rural roads may be narrower and less well-maintained. It’s important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, especially when driving in more remote areas.

Urban vs. Rural Driving

Driving in urban areas in South Korea can be fast-paced and congested, so it’s important to stay alert and be prepared for heavy traffic. In rural areas, the roads may be less crowded, but they can also be winding and narrow. Be sure to adjust your driving style accordingly.

Navigational Tips

Using GPS or a map is highly recommended when driving in South Korea, especially if you’re not familiar with the area. The road signs are mostly in Korean, so having a navigation system can help you navigate the roads more easily. It’s also a good idea to have a basic understanding of the Korean language to ask for directions if needed.

Other Useful Tips

– Familiarize yourself with local driving laws and regulations, such as speed limits and parking rules.
– Be mindful of pedestrians and cyclists, especially in busy urban areas.
– Consider renting a car with an English GPS system if you’re not fluent in Korean.
– Be aware that traffic can be heavy, particularly during peak hours.

By keeping these driving tips in mind, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience when renting a car and driving in South Korea.

Roadside Assistance and Emergency Procedures

Breakdown Procedures

If your rental car breaks down while you’re in South Korea, there are a few steps you should follow. First, pull over to a safe location and turn on your hazard lights. Then, contact the rental company using the provided emergency contact number. They will be able to guide you through the next steps, which may include arranging for a tow truck or sending a mechanic to assist you.

Emergency Services

In the event of an emergency, it’s important to know the contact numbers for the necessary services. In South Korea, the emergency number for police is 112, and the emergency number for ambulance services is 119. Additionally, the rental company will have a dedicated roadside assistance number that you can call for help.

Rental Company Policies

Most rental companies in South Korea offer 24/7 roadside assistance as part of their service. This means that you can contact them at any time, day or night, if you encounter any issues with your rental car. They will also be able to arrange for towing services if needed, ensuring that you are never stranded on the road for long. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the specific policies of your rental company before setting out on your journey.

Where can you Rent a Car in South Korea?

You can browse all the city locations below, sorted alphabetically. Use Ctrl+F (or Cmd+F on a Mac) to quickly find the one you want to explore.