Car Rental in France (Insurance)

May 22nd, 2000, 10:33 PM
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Car Rental in France (Insurance)

I will be renting a manual midsize car similar to a Renault Laguna (from what I am told) with Hertz in Paris at the end of May for a week so I can drive to Provence and the South of France. I've never rented a car before in Europe and I was wondering if the process is as smooth and flush as it is here in the US. My main concerns are the little things that could go sour like different contracts and especially the push to sell insurance. When I rent from Hertz and Avis in the US they always try to sell the insurance such as CDW, etc but I always politely decline because I have my own auto insurance and also a gold credit card and I know that it's almost pure profit for them.
Are they really pushy about making you purchase CDW (insurance) on rental cars in France. Will they take "non merci" for an answer or will I have to show some proof of my own U.S auto insurance?
Has anyone dealt with Avis or Hertz in Paris? I've always had good service with them in the USA. The exchange rate is so good this year that I was able to get a midsized car manual with air conditioning for about $24 including all taxes.
Also, as a side note, which midsize cars have you all rented and been satisfied with in France? I usually take any car but a Pontiac Grand Am with low miles in the US. I am also thinking that since gas is so expensive there maybe I should ask for a diesel.
May 23rd, 2000, 07:10 AM
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We rented a car last summer in Paris and drove to Provence and the South of France also. We had no problems with renting the car. It worked just like we were at home. They didn't push insurance. We just said no thanks. I would definitely go with a diesel if you can get one. It saved us alot of money and it was readily available at gas stations. We rented and audi station wagon and it was great. I really don't think you have anything to worry about.
May 23rd, 2000, 08:06 AM
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My experience with diesel has also been very favorable; it will definitely reduce your fuel budget by 25-30% and it certainly doesn't keep you from driving as fast as you want, as long as you have an appropriately powered vehicle (1.6 l or better, preferably 1.8 or 2.0 l or higher).

But don't let expectations spoil your trip. In my experience, you can REQUEST diesel, but whether they have one for you that suits your requirements otherwise is highly unpredictable. On a trip last September, I rented my first diesel ever, when they had nothing BUT diesels (Beauvais airport, near Paris); the very next month, in Avignon, there were apparently NO diesels to choose from.

And this is purely an anecdotal experience of one - - but take it for what you will: I got a Skoda (made in Yugoslavia?) on that rental (the NON-diesel) - - it seemed like a nice enough car - - more creature comforts than I often get (power windows, cup holders, etc) - - but the transmission burned out at under 10,000 km showing on the odometer. When I turned it back in (in Rome, with Hertz - - they were very nice about it), they laughed and shrugged their shoulders with a remark something like "It's a Skoda, what would you expect?!"
May 23rd, 2000, 08:46 AM
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You might want to call your auto insurance agent and ask about coverage of a rental car in a foreign country. When I contacted my agent (State Farm), she advised to TAKE the insurance because my U.S. policy would not cover Europe. We just bit the bullet and paid for the insurance. Also, we obtained International Drivers Licenses from AAA ($10 for passport-type photo, $10 for the license). It was suggested that if something does happen, you at least don't have to forfeit your U.S. license. If anything else, the Int'l License makes a great souvenir!!
May 23rd, 2000, 09:42 AM
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If you have a gold card, it covers CDW(Collision Damage Waver)The liability insurance is covered and paid for in your Insurance rental agreement-Required by Law.
Check your credit card summary of benefits to see how long the insurance is covered. My gold visa covers insurance for 30 days of rental, whereas my gold mastercard covers only 15 days of rental coverage. If you're renting for more than two weeks, this becomes very important. So check this out with your credit card company.

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