Renting a car while in Europe is a such a sense of freedom.  But, beware, it can be costly!

 

Here are a few suggestions that learned from experience.
 

If you plan to rent a car before you leave on your trip, you can do that  with your favorite rental company at home in the States.  Note, however, check with your insurance companybecause some American car insurance companies do not cover cover rental abroad.

 

Did you know American car rental companies often do not rent to drivers over 70?  

Not so with companies abroad!

Yes, indeed, your credit card covers some aspects of insurance, but not all.  Call your credit card company for clarification.  

Of course, like me, you may be spontaneous and decide to rent when you are already there!  This can be especially challenging given lack of knowledge and also knowing that any lack of quality service will end in you holding the bag!   I mean, who ya gonna call?

The following information is geared to contracting a car rental company when you are already in the foreign country; but, it may also be useful to you when renting from American companies prior to your departure.

 

It's more clostly to rent from American rental companies.  You can find much more inexpensive and credible car rental companies abroad.

 

The specfic topic of this article is EXCESS.

What is an Excess?

Put simply, if you rent a car in Europe, and it is damaged or stolen, the ‘Excess’ (sometimes called the ‘Deductible’) is the amount of money you have to pay the rental company upon returning the vehicle.

What is Car Hire Excess Insurance?

Rental car excess insurance is an optional insurance policy which protects you against any excess charges you may incur should your rental become damaged or stolen. Other terms commonly used to describe rental car excess insurance includeexcess insurance, excess waiver insurance and Super CDW  (collision damage waiver).

How it works.

Let’s say you rent a car and the vehicle comes with standard rental car insurance included (referred to as collision damage waiver or loss damage waiver). As is the case with most personal car insurance policies, it’s likely that you will still be liable to pay an excess before the rental company cover the rest of the cost. This means that you could be liable to pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars if anything happens to the rental car, regardless of whether it was your fault or not, should this insurance not be in place.

What are the options when buying Excess Insurance?

Choose not to purchase:  Car insurance excess insurance is an optional coverage so you can choose not to purchase it if you’re happy to take the risk. However, please be aware that these charges can be as much as $2,500 depending on where you’re travelling and the rental company you use.

Buy Excess Insurance from the rental company:  The excess waiver offered at the rental desk is often more expensive than stand-alone alternatives and are often less comprehensive. Costs for insurance coverage at the rental desk vary from $5 to $25 a day. What’s more, not all waivers sold by rental companies are zero excess, which means you could still be charged even with their cover in place.

Buy insurance prior to renting:  Policies start at about $3.00/day to a mere $40 for an annual policy.  Policies are accepted at rental locations worldwide and annual policies can be used for as many trips as you like across the year.  What’s more, policies are ZERO excess policies - you simply pay for the policy and that’s that!

PLEASE NOTE: The rental company may require you to leave a deposit or provide credit card details before they hand over the vehicle if you decline their insurance coverage -  so please ensure you have funds available for this before collecting the car.

 

My testimony: The Portuguese car rental company I rented from said they didn’t recognize my insurance...which was the scam I fell for.  Don’t be fooled by that common practice!  And, note, you can’t call the Better Business Bureau in Europe to complain.  Like me, you will be SOL!

I learned from my Portugal experienced, dug around on the internet and found iCarhireinsurance.com.   Please note, I get no benefit from this company...it’s simply my experience.

By buying car hire excess insurance from iCarhireinsurance.com, or any other similar company, you’ll be covered against excess charges of up to £6,000, or, at the time of this writing,  $6,250, both in Europe and worldwide.  What’s more, their policies also cover vulnerable parts of the vehicle often excluded from standard rental company policies, such as tyres, windscreen, roof and undercarriage.

It’s great peace of mind.  Check it out!  You won’t be sorry!

 “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”                                                                                                 – Oliver Wendell Holmes