Read This Guide Before Renting Any Car in Europe in 2022
Renting a car in Europe is not as easy as just selecting a car and booking. In fact, there are a lot of things that you will need to consider beforehand. Prices, rental agencies, and the country itself are all important factors. Europe car rent isn’t always easy, but there are ways to make it simpler.
What Do You Need to Rent a Car in Europe?
The majority of European countries will be satisfied with your driver’s license and passport alone. Although, some European countries will require a driver’s license, passport, and an International Driving Permit, or IDP. In short, IDP’s serve as a US license translation.
The US State Department has authorized AAA to issue these types of permits. Otherwise, you can get them through the Canadian or American Automobile Association.
There are scams for these permits, so be very careful as to where you get them. A lot of peddlers will sell fake, overpriced international licenses. To avoid this, only purchase them at North American Automobile Associations.
What Does it Cost to Rent a Car in Europe?
The cost of a European rental varies by country, agency, month, etc. For example, rentals in Italy are much more expensive than in Germany. You will need to get the cost for the car per day. You will have this number when you are looking at cars firsthand.
From there you will need to calculate more charges. Listed below are some of the “extras” that you may need/have to pay for:
- Value-added tax, or VAT
- Extra drivers
- Theft protection
- Child-safety seats
- Snow Tires
- Emergency roadside assistance
- International drop-off fees
- Airport pickup
- Credit-card fees
- Contract fees
- Late drop-off fees Ensure that you check with your rental company about everything on the above list. They won’t tell you about almost all of these charges right away. For example, roadside assistance may not be included unless you request it before you take the car.
What Age Can You Rent a Car in Europe?
Depending on where you are going, age may or may not be a factor for renting a car. However, you should know the age you will need to be before you go.
If you are 17-years-old or up, you will be able to rent a car no problem in certain areas. Although, some have to be 21 or 23-years-old minimum. There are no maximum age limits, but you should expect added charges.
The minimum age limit is around 19 to 21-years-old. This depends on the rental supplier, however. There is no maximum age limit, but expect a charge if you are under 24-years-old.
The minimum age limit and charges depend on the rental supplier, but it’s usually 18. If you are between 19 to 24-years-old there may be additional charges.
For more information on the age requirements for Europe, you can check here. It has a chart of Europe, the age majorities, etc.
Renting Car Without a Credit Card
Unfortunately, this cannot always be done. Some rental agencies will accept a debit card or a Visa debit. However, this is not always the case, as most require credit cards. Booking online requires a credit card every time, never a bank transfer.
Unfortunately, this is a problem that many travelers face. You can inquire further with a booking agency to figure out their policy and whether or not you could use a debit. A lot of them won’t tell you unless you ask on your behalf.
The Rental Insurance You’ll Need for Europe
European rental insurance can be extremely confusing. For example, you’ll need liability insurance. This only covers damage to anything outside of the car, except the vehicle. For insurance on the car itself, you will need a collision damage waiver or CDW.
CDW is sometimes, but rarely, included in the rate of your rental. Make sure you ask about it so if you don’t have it you can get it before you take the car. CDW does not, however, cover the roof, interior, undercarriage, tires, and windows.
For these aspects, you will need theft or loss insurance. You could also get a Super CDW, which covers damage, loss, etc completely. This means that, no matter what happens, you cannot be financially responsible whatsoever. It does have a higher cost than the regular CDW insurance, but it’s definitely well worth it.
Personal accident insurance provides injury and death benefits for the passengers and the driver. This insurance, however, can get pretty expensive per day, averaging around $100 US each day. Although, you may already have it through your travel insurance or credit card, so check to see if you do.
Though insurance can be very pricey when you add it all up, it’s definitely well worth it. Traveling in foreign countries can bring on enough problems without getting into a car wreck with no insurance.
Benefits of Renting a Car vs Taking the Train or a Plane
Traveling through Europe means that you have a couple of different options. Do you rent a car, or purchase a train or plane ticket? While you’ll save money on gas by taking the latter, renting is more beneficial.
You get to see all of the gorgeous sights that the whole of Europe has to offer. If you see something you’d like to check out along the way, you can stop and do so. Learning the toll roads, parking etiquette, and more can be a challenge, however.
Although, doing some basic research on the driving laws and regulations will help. You should be looking into vignettes, where meters are used, and which have complex time limits. This will help to ensure that nothing goes wrong along the way.
With trains, trips are more comfortable and relaxing, they can’t take you everywhere. Chances are your public transport schedule will not mesh with yours. You may not be able to stop and see everything that you’d like to during your trip.
Plus, trains and planes can be more expensive in the long run. If you need special stops made, or have to take multiple trains/planes, it’ll get expensive. A rental car, however, will only charge extra where gas is concerned.
Best Place to Rent a Car in Europe
AAA/CAA, Expedia, and Kayak are travel agencies that can assist you, too. It’s better to use one of these if you’ve never done a Europe car rent before. Travel-booking in Europe is a favorite among travels because of the simplicity of it, for one.
Consolidators are also a great route to go for renting a car in Europe, too. Economy Bookings, Rental Cars, VIP Rentals and Car Rentals are just a few of the many good car rental consolidators you can use.
So, Are you Renting a Car in Europe?
Renting a car in Europe may seem scary because of all the requirements, but it’s fairly easy enough. Just remember the requirements, insurance you’ll need, and where to find a decent rate. After all that is said and done, remember to enjoy your trip!
Written By Kate Mark
Kate is a mid-lifer who quit a growing corporate career to reawaken her passions and her lifelong dream of traveling the world.