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Car Rental Insurance Overseas: Watch Out, It’s A Doozey!

Insurance is one of the things that we get asked about here at Auto Europe almost more than anything else. I’ve thrown together a quick guide to help you when planning your trip. This may seem confusing, but being informed about insurance can save you a lot of time, energy and money when traveling abroad.

Some terms that you should know:
CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) this insurance covers lawful damage to the vehicle.
TP (Theft Protection) covers the car in the event of theft and is usually grouped and sold together with CDW.
Liability covers any damage to persons or property outside of the rental vehicle.  This is always included in Auto Europe rates.
Fire Insurance covers the car in case of fire damage. This is also always included in Auto Europe rates.
PAI (Personal Accident Insurance) covers the hospital bills of people inside the car in the event of accident while driving. This is generally not available until you are at the rental counter.

There are two options for providing the CDW/TP insurance while on vacation in Europe. The first would be to check with your major credit card company to see if they will cover your car if you use that particular card to pay for the entire cost of the rental. Be sure to mention the countries you plan on traveling to, as there are some locations where this will not apply. It’s also important to note that usually the drivers name needs to match the name on the credit card for this coverage to apply. There is generally a 14 or 30 day maximum rental limit with credit cards. Four wheel drive cars, motorcycles, trucks, camper vans or cargo vans are usually not covered and there is usually a maximum value of the car covered. If at all possible, get a copy of the policy from the credit card to bring with you to the counter.

In most cases, there is still a deductible of some sort when collision and theft are purchased. Usually there is insurance offered locally which can reduce the collision and theft deductible if it is something you want to do. It is important to know this amount as they can be as low as zero, or thousands of dollars in some cases.

In Ireland, you will most likely need to purchase the CDW/TP on your rental, as very few credit cards will cover you there. In Italy the CDW/TP is mandatory and is included in our rates.

Having a credit card is very important for several reasons when renting a car in Europe. The suppliers are going to need to block of a set amount for gas, key and insurance deposit. This amount varies by supplier. It will be important to ask at the counter how much they plan on blocking, as the funds are usually tied up for a few days after you have returned your vehicle. If you do not have a credit card, the rental company can ask you for a cash deposit, which will usually mean leaving approximately $750-$2000 (US) dollars at the rental counter, which gets sent back to you about a month after you return the car, in the form of a check.

It’s also important to keep in mind that no insurance is going to cover negligence on your part, so drive safely by obeying all traffic laws. If there is a collision a valid police report is mandatory. You document any kind of damage with photos if you have the ability to do so.

Take these factors into consideration when renting a vehicle and you will be sure to have a pleasant rental experience! If you can think of any other helpful advice, please feel free to leave a comment!

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4 Responses to Car Rental Insurance Overseas: Watch Out, It’s A Doozey!

  1. John says:

    what’s the protocol on negligence and the Autobahn?

  2. John, that’s a really good question. Due to the high speeds negligence is against the law. You can be ticked for a number of things that you won’t get ticketed for in the US. For example, the rule of drive right means that unless you are passing someone, you must be in the right hand lane. You will also get a ticket if you are seen on a cell phone, or flashing your lights at someone. These laws, among many others are enforced on the autobahn by undercover cop cars with no markings to give them away. In America our law enforcement tends to lean towards the Crown Victoria and Chevy Impala for the main highway patrol vehicles. The Autobahn police are specially trained to handle driving at high speeds, as they use modified Mercedes-Benz, Audi, BMW, and even Porches which can handle speeds in excess of 200km/hr. If you get pulled over, you can’t run, as most likely, their cars are better than yours. Even if you did elude them, all cars are equipped with cameras. Fines are severe, even for first time offenders.

    In short, negligence on the Autobahn is not tolerated.

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