if you rent cars in usa. uu. With any frequency, you probably know the drill when it comes to insuring your rental. Most or all of the coverage you need is available through insurance on a car you own or as a free extra with the credit card you use to cover the rental.
These coverages also apply widely to car rentals in Europe. however, as with almost everything else abroad, certain nuances and exceptions apply, and it’s wise to read up on them before you stand uninformed and probably jet-lagged at that foreign rental counter.
Here’s what you need to know about renting across the pond:
1. liability coverage is included in your rental rate
within most of europe, and certainly within the european union, your car rental rate should include adequate liability cover. You can use this type of coverage if the car is damaged or you cause harm to someone on the road. The agent may offer you an upgrade to more liability insurance, but most experts believe you can safely waive that additional coverage.
the rental agency may doubt that your credit card will cover it
many us credit cards (including virtually all travel credit and rewards cards) offer free coverage that allows you to bypass the rental company’s collision damage waiver. CDW reduces or eliminates the charges you will incur if you damage the car.
However, that benefit is rarer for European-issued credit cards, which tend to have fewer extras than their US counterparts. As a result, you may encounter increased resistance from rental agents when you decline your CDW coverage, especially in areas where the U.S. uu. visitors are less common. To reduce that drawback, you may want to carry a printout of your credit card auto rental coverage provisions. try to obtain a copy in the language of the host country, if available.
some countries have special requirements
A handful of European nations (along with a few elsewhere, including Israel, Jamaica, and New Zealand) have regulations on what credit cards can cover for car rentals. in italy, for example, specific coverage against theft is required. Ireland is among the countries that prohibit third parties, such as credit card companies, from purchasing collision coverage; instead, the driver of the car must buy it himself.
the result: with rentals in italy and ireland, ask what kind of coverage might be included as part of the rental rate. Do your research before you arrive in the country, so you’re not faced with a confusing array of insurance options. more often than in other countries, coverage can be included in the daily or weekly rate. if not, at least you’ll be able to determine how much more you could pay to buy coverage, so you’re comparing the cheapest quotes on an apples-to-apples basis.
American rental company can be simpler
As you prepare for your trip, it’s a good idea to buy a rental car well in advance to get the best rates. You may want to favor a family business that has a us. presence, especially if their rates are competitive and you already have rental experience with them.
For price quotes, those companies can use familiar templates that clearly answer your questions and offer easily accessible toll-free phone numbers.
That familiarity and proximity can also be helpful in the event you have an accident with your car, as that can lead to back-and-forth with the car rental company. the company will charge your credit card for the value of the damage (up to the amount of the deductible) or, if the vehicle is stolen, the value of the deductible associated with the theft. you should then request reimbursement of these charges from your credit card company when you get home, using the police report and the accident report from the rental car company.