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Renting a car in ITALY

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OK, I've rented vehicles in Mexico, France, Germany, UK...and I thought I knew the drill.
Waive the insurance because Visa provides it...
Now I'm taking a trip to Italy. Picking up the car in Venice & returning it two weeks later to Verona.
Good news: no extra fee for different drop-off.
Good news: Hertz gives a 15% discount for AAA members.
Good news: cost of rental is 38 Euros per day.

CONFUSION

- SOME companies say you HAVE to get insurance included.
- SOME let you pick & choose what you are getting covered.
- VISA'S insurance dept says their insurance covers any damage to the rental vehicle with no deductable. But does NOT cover injuries to you, others, or other property damage.

SO -- what should I get? Visa recommended waiving coverage on the vehicle but getting liability insurance -- but if I read my reservation correctly, that would run me USD$900 for the two weeks. Am I interpreting this correctly?

IReservation says that the 531.80 Euros for my two weeks
Includes taxes of 21%
Location Service chg of 7%
Vehicle Lic Fee& Road tax of 35.70 Euros
Theft protection of 72.30 Euros

Excludes:
Super Coverage of 161 Euros
Personal Accident Insurance of 49 Euros a day (OMG that's more than the car rental!)

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    You don't have the option to waive insurance in Italy. It's mandatory, no matter what Visa told you. From AutoEurope's website:

    <<Insurance Information

    General Information
    When renting a vehicle in Italy it is a requirement to have third party liability coverage and fire insurance. Unlike many other countries in Europe, Italy also requires collision damage waiver and theft protection on all rentals. Auto Europe has made getting these insurances on your rental easier then ever by offering them on all rental rates in Italy. Below you will learn more about the required forms of insurance as well as some other options that may be available to you.

    Required Coverage
    In Italy all rental rates will automatically include third party liability, fire insurance, collision damage waiver (CDW) and theft protection, as they are mandatory. Third party liability will provide insurance coverage to people and property outside of the rental vehicle and generally provides from 2.2 million euros up to an unlimited amount of coverage depending on the rental supplier. Fire insurance provides an unlimited amount of insurance coverage to the rental vehicle in the event it is damaged due to a fire. CDW and theft generally have a zero deductible (the amount you are responsible for in the event of an accident or theft), however some specialty vehicles (sports cars, luxury cars, 4x4s etc) and large vans may have deductibles in Italy.

    Optional Coverage
    Personal accident insurance and personal effects coverage are two forms of optional insurance that are available locally to you. Personal accident insurance (PAI) provides death and disability coverage to the driver and passengers of the rental vehicle. The cost of Personal accident insurance is about $16 CAD per day. Personal effects coverage (PEC) provides coverage of personal items that may be damaged or stolen from the rental vehicle. The cost of PEC is about $11 CAD per day. Optional insurances may be available through certain suppliers only and prices are subject to change without notice.>>

    If someone is quoting you 49 euros a day for personal accident insurance, I'd move on.

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    And, for driving in Italy, you need an International Driver's Permit, a translation of your license, as well as your actual license. An IDP is easy to obtain at your local AAA/CAA office, where they'll also take your photo, all for about $20. You don't need to be an AAA member.

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    Hertz or whatever company you are renting from will quote rates without insurance and insurance is required so when you get to the desk it will be added.

    The very best is autoeurope.com. You then have a car at the very best rate. they have shopped all the others so when you come in to get your car you may be picking the car up from Avis, Hertz or anyother company that rents cars.

    In the long run this will save you money. BUT the company will almost always ask if you want the extra collision insurance. That one is just how you work. If you worry about any little thing in a car then buy it ..... but it is very expensive.

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    This may help:

    DRIVING IN ITALY & SOUTHERN EUROPE

    Q. SHOULD WE DRIVE IN ITALY?
    A. Of course you should if your driving skill & confidence would allow you to drive a rental car in Vermont, Colorado or California. But, be advised of these tips:
    * Avoid driving in the major cities except for picking up or dropping cars
    * Have good maps—study them in advance—and have a GOOD NAVIGATOR.
    * Stay in the right lane except when passing and use your rear view mirrors

    Q. WHAT CAR SHOULD I GET AND WHERE DO I GET IT?
    A. It is best to rent your car before you leave for Europe. The best source we have found is www.autoeurope.com [800-223-5555] who is a broker for several car vendors. They will quote you prices to include the variables that are often omitted by others, such as unlimited mileage, mandatory insurance coverage with some deductibles, and VAT taxes. It is wise to compare prices and coverage with their sister company at www.kemwel.com. Autoeurope will match any comparable quote, and are famous for their customer satisfaction if problems do arise with the vendor. The best model will depend on your needs, but for best value we suggest you select a compact car with manual transmission. Automatics are available but will cost you about 30% more and may limit your model options & pick up locations.

    Q. ARE ITALIAN DRIVERS AS CRAZY AS I HAVE HEARD?
    A. Yes & no! They are certainly aggressive, but they are also more skilled than many USA drivers—both are a function of necessity. Italy is one of the most crowded countries in the world and the drivers have evolved these characteristics
    * They are notorious tailgaters. If that bothers you, pull over and let them past.
    * On the AUTOSTRADE they will drive fast, but will stay in the right lane except when passing and will use their blinkers when passing—YOU SHOULD TOO !
    * They will often pass on 2-lane roads with traffic coming. Frankly, they expect you, and the oncoming car, to adjust to the shoulder and make 3 lanes of traffic.

    OTHER ROAD TIPS FOR YOUR DRIVING SANITY:
    1. Learn the meaning of the sign “ SENSO UNICO” and take heed [ONE WAY ].
    2. Be sure to get your ticket when you enter the AUTOSTADA system & be prepared to pay the toll when you exit it [ rule of thumb—300 km=15 Euro]. You can use your credit card in the VIA lane at the toll both, or buy a debit VIACARD in advance.
    3. Do NOT attempt to follow road numbers—that will frustrate you. But, do pay attention to the directional signs that point to your destination [ TO MONTALCINO]. And, be aware if that road leads eventually to a larger city [ ROMA—SIENA ETC.]
    4. Unless you have a diesel car, you will want to fill the tank with benzina from the green pump. Most stations will pump gas for you and will take credit cards.

    NOTE: As of 2005, an International Drivers Permit[IDP] is required in Italy.
    You can obtain them from your local AAA office. You will need a valid US driver’s license, two passport photos, and $15. The photos can be taken at the AAA office.

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