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POPULAR QUESTIONS ABOUT RENTING A CAR IN EUROPE
CAN AN AMERICAN RENT A CAR IN EUROPE?
Of course! In most European countries all Americans need is a valid US driver's license and passport to rent a car in Europe. Be aware though, there are popular travel destinations that require driver's from the United States to acquire and International Driving Permit, Italy is one of these countries! IDP's are fairly cheap and can be acquired online before your trip or at a local AAA branch. Contact Auto Europe for more information on your European car rental.
HOW OLD DO YOU HAVE TO BE TO RENT A CAR IN EUROPE?
To rent a car in Europe drivers must be at least 21 years old (age may vary by car category). Some car rental suppliers will have rental options for drivers over the age of 18 and looking to rent a car in Europe. Additionally, any driver hoping to rent a car under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge in addition to the daily rate.
DO I NEED EXTRA INSURANCE WHEN RENTING A CAR IN EUROPE?
All Auto Europe Car Rentals include liability and fire insurance at no extra cost. Liability insures against any damage done to anything outside of the rental car while fire insurance protects against mechanical fires. More comprehensive coverage typically includes a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) insuring damage done to the rental car in the event of an accident and Theft Protection to cover the loss if the rental vehicle is stolen while you are in Europe. When renting a car in Italy renters are required to purchase CDW and Theft Protection. Check with your reservation agent what is required in your destination.
Find more information from Auto Europe on car rental insurance in Europe.
HOW MUCH IS A RENTAL CAR PER DAY IN EUROPE?
Similar to airline tickets, the cost per day to rent a car varies greatly based on your destination, the time of year, and the car class you choose to rent. Economy and smaller sized rentals can be as little as $15-$20 a day in popular cities in France and Italy. Luxury vehicles & SUVs will have higher daily rates but keep an eye out for specials or promotions, in some countries Auto Europe provides free car class upgrades on rentals throughout the year.
TYPES OF CAR RENTAL INSURANCE IN EUROPE
Every car rental from Auto Europe includes liability and fire insurance. Third Party Liability takes care of damage done to anyone and anything outside of your rental vehicle. Fire covers the rental vehicle itself in the event of a mechanical fire. For more comprehensive coverage you will need a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW). Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) covers damage done to your rental car in the event of an accident, and Theft Protection (TP) covers the loss of your rental should be stolen, less the deductibles.
CAR RENTAL INSURANCE GUIDES BY COUNTRY
AUTO EUROPE'S CAR RENTAL COVERAGE OPTIONS IN EUROPE
Having collision and theft coverage are a necessity with any rental vehicle, it is a matter of how you apply the coverage. When renting a car with Auto Europe, clients are offered at least two rates for each vehicle in most locations: basic and inclusive. If you choose to go with a basic rate, third party liability and fire are included. Collision and Theft Protection are not included. This means that you are either planning to take the coverage locally at a higher cost plus additional conversion fees, or utilizing your credit card rental car insurance for the coverage. Clients are often able to use their credit cards for this coverage, but it is up to you to contact your credit card company to find out if they will cover your rental insurance in Europe. If your credit card provider will cover it, you will need to make sure you use that card to pay for your rental in advance, and present it to agents at the rental counter when you're picking up your vehicle. Car insurance offered by credit card can vary from country to country, so check with your issuing bank before you leave to be sure of your coverage.
RENTAL CAR INSURANCE OPTIONS BREAKDOWN
Listed below are the 4 primary insurance options available when renting a car with Auto Europe.
Reserve a car rental with the included Liability and Fire Insurance, and request your credit card company provide the Collision Damage Waiver/Theft Protection (Be sure your credit card offers this coverage overseas, as not all do).
Reserve a car rental with the included Liability and Fire Insurance, and purchase Collision Damage Waiver/Theft Protection in advance through Auto Europe. Be aware, upon arrival a hold will be placed on your credit card for the entire deductible amount, and returned to you once the vehicle is brought back without damage. (An excellent option if your credit card doesn't offer overseas CDW/TP insurance).
Reserve a car rental with the included Liability and Fire Insurance, and purchase Collision Damage Waiver/Theft Protection with a Refundable Deductible or Zero Deductible (See below for further information on the specifics of refundable and zero deductible rates).
Reserve a car rental with the included Liability and Fire Insurance, and purchase Collision Damage Waiver/Theft Protection locally from the supplier upon arrival (Be aware this is nearly always more expensive than purchasing comprehensive insurance in advance).
There are very few credit card companies that will provide you with CDW and TP these days. If you do happen to have one of the rare cards that will cover it, you must bring written proof of such to avoid being charged for the insurance locally.
COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER INSURANCE & THEFT PROTECTION EXPLAINED
Zero Deductible/Excess (ZE), Refundable Deductible/Excess (ZD) and Super Coverage are additional insurances that tie into collision and theft. They can negate or minimize deductibles associated with these insurances. A Zero Deductible/Excess rate means there are no applicable deductibles for (CDW) and (TP). A Refundable Deductible rate is a refundable deductible, where you are still initially obligated to the deductible, but are optioned to receive a refund of the amount that you paid, up to what the initial deductible had been. (ZE) and (ZD) rates are pre-paid along with initial payment of your rental vehicle. Super Coverage can be added locally, and will typically be a per day charge. These are subject to availability between supplier, rental vehicle, and countries of travel.
Additional options you may also consider purchasing are Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and Personal Effects Coverage (PEC). These will not only give you peace of mind, but will also take care of any medical expenses for injuries that happen inside your rental car, as well as covering personal belongings if they have been stolen. Sometimes it's extremely difficult to prove the value of items that were in the car when it was stolen, but if you are able to show receipts for these items the process is easier. The best practice is to take all valued items out of your rental anytime you are not in it.
Depending on your itinerary, you may also be required to purchase Travel Insurance from the supplier. This could be a lump sum, or a daily charge, that allows you to cross into specific countries in Eastern Europe.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ARE IN A RENTAL CAR ACCIDENT
Call local authorities and report accident to police
Call supplier contact number found on your rental car keychain
Personally document all vehicle damage with a digital camera or smartphone
Contact Auto Europe (Use our international contact list to find the proper toll-free phone number from overseas)
If you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor, a valid police report is always required. Be aware of what you are liable for by thoroughly inspecting and understanding your car rental voucher before you leave. Please do not hesitate to call Auto Europe toll-free at 1-888-223-5555 with any questions that should arise before, during or after your trip! We are here to help you with all your car rental and travel needs.
INTERNATIONAL DRIVING PERMIT
An International Driving Permit is the correct title for what is commonly referred to as an international drivers license. It is basically a translation of your own drivers license into the most common languages in the world, including German, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian. It is not a stand alone document, as it is only accepted with your original license. The International Drivers Permit can be extremely helpful in the event that you are pulled over for a traffic infringement, or you need extra identification for any reason. If the person asking for your IDP doesn't speak a word of English, having an international drivers license will tell them what your license says about you - sometimes allowing you to avoid delays or other issues while traveling abroad.
WHERE CAN I GET AN INTERNATIONAL DRIVERS PERMIT?
There are currently only two places that are authorized to sell International Drivers Permits. They can be obtained from AAA or the National Automobile Club. There are many places online that offer them, but the two providers listed here are the only two authorized by the US State Department to issue them. If you are planning on traveling to Europe, it is extremely helpful to obtain one, and the cost is low - you can expect to pay little more than $15 for an international drivers license. In some locations it is mandatory to carry an IDP in order to rent a car. There are also instances where you can be fined for not having one should you be pulled over by the police.