Car rental insurance questions in Europe

Old Apr 10th, 2018, 04:12 PM
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Car rental insurance questions in Europe

We are renting a car in France for 3 days-- Our US policy is with AAA and they say they do not cover car rentals overseas. All of my credit cards say no liability coverage. I can
do the AMEX premium protection plan for $15 to cover that period but there is no liability coverage...I have read articles that say when you rent the car don't accept any coverage at all
so that the credit card will pick up the coverage (especially since my US car policy doesn't cover anything)...I am renting from Europcar and they have 3 prices-- the cheapest is the
BASIC rate which says it includes Liability and fire but not CDW or theft protection. The next expensive is including all of the above but with a deductible and the highest price is everything
above with no deductible....now my question is this....if I do the Basic rate which includes liability will my credit card car rental insurance then pick up the CDW and Theft, etc....or when
I rent the car do I have to tell the car rental place I want the basic rate but not the liability and fire ?????
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 04:50 PM
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Most (all?) European rental cars, to my knowledge, include liability insurance with the rental, separate from the optional levels of CDW. Don't decline the liability - I don't think you can anyway. It's the CDW you want to worry about.

Some people here have reported successful claims with Amex "Premium" Rental Car insurance. But they kind of screwed me over on a rental in Croatia a couple of years ago. I had damage to my car and filed a claim after returning the car - I provided everything required of me for the claim. But the car company ignored requests from Amex Assurance (their insurance company) to provide info for the claim. Because I signed a statement of responsibility for the damages when I turned the car in - which is what both Amex Assurance and the car company suggested I do. Unfortunately, once I did that, neither party had any more incentive to pursue my claim. Amex Assurance seems to have taken the absolute minimum effort to contact the car company (send a USPS letter?), which ignored them.

So...I got stuck paying the damages, over $600 US worth. I called both Amex and Amex Assurance a couple of times each before I gave up, something I rarely do in cases like this. I found dealing with this too stressful and tedious, which is I suppose what they count on.

My mistake was probably signing the statement of responsibility when I turned the car in. I should not have signed - let them take my deposit for the damages, then I could have disputed that charge. In the dispute investigation, the car company would have had to provide evidence of the damage - exactly the info I would have needed for a claim.

You might take the chance that Amex Assurance will actually help you in the case of damage. Or you might pay extra and just buy the extra CDW coverage from the car company (which is what I did last time I rented a car in Europe, though it was only for a day).
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 05:06 PM
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>>Our US policy is with AAA and they say they do not cover car rentals overseas. <<

That is normal, I know of no US insurance companies that cover driving in Europe.

>>All of my credit cards say no liability coverage.<<

Liability is mandatory and built into the basic rental rate.

>>I have read articles that say when you rent the car don't accept any coverage at all<<

That does not mean skipping liability. EVERY rental will include liability.

Your Amex will cover everything else.

BUT - I would use Autoeurope.com - because they will go to bat for you in a situation like Andrew describes - interceding with the rental agency if needed. It is very likely one of Autoeurope's offerings is EuropCar.
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 05:39 PM
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One of the best sources of information I know on insurance when renting cars in Europe is gemut.com -- you might check it out!
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 06:00 PM
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I've heard that if you use a credit card to get CDW insurance in Europe that the rental agency may well then put a huge credit to cover cost of car in case you total it on your card - to be sure they are paid if that happens... - thus maybe exceding your card's credit limit and making it useless for other transactions? Any experiences with that?
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 06:05 PM
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>>I've heard that if you use a credit card to get CDW insurance in Europe that the rental agency may well then put a huge credit to cover cost of car <<

And where have you heard that? Repeating an urban legend perhaps? I've rented scores of cars in Europe and probably used my cc coverage for 80% of those rentals, and not one has places a hold against my cc for the car's value.
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 06:13 PM
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https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...s-Ireland.html

Some folk have heard the same urban myth - I'd say a good question to ask before renting in any case.

Cheers!
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 06:58 PM
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PQ - - Ireland is a special case. . . . since almost NO American credit cards offer coverage there (nor in Italy, or Israel, nor a few other places . . .)

So of course they will have 'concerns' if one did not take out full coverage insurance. Context, man! The OP is traveling to France . . . which is apples and oranges vs. Ireland when it comes to rental cars. Don't muddy the waters.
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 07:18 PM
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kja---This website was very informative and helpful--thanks for letting me know about it
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Old Apr 10th, 2018, 07:25 PM
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You're welcome! I'm glad you found it useful and appreciate that you let me know.
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Old Apr 11th, 2018, 08:37 AM
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https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopi...de_France.html

Janis are you sue that that hold never happens in France - the above would seem to contradict your take that this is not a factor ever in France?

Anyway a valid question to ask.
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Old Apr 11th, 2018, 09:09 AM
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. Re: Credit card hold on Budget car hire at CDG
Jan 1, 2016, 5:56 PMIf you do not take the rental company's insurance, the normal practice is to put a hold on the card for the full amount of the excess (deductible). if the car is lost or damaged, the rental company will charge the deductible to your card and leave you to sort out getting a refund.>

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6. Re: Credit card hold on Budget car hire at CDG
Jan 1, 2016, 10:51 PMThey will not try to hold the full value of the car. How many people have a credit limit that will allow that? The hold will be for the amount of the excess. That is standard practice in mainland Europe.

Janis - this is what you call an urban myth? Are those posters from the link I provided above wrong?
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Old Apr 11th, 2018, 03:04 PM
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Thanks everyone for their info-- rented a car through Autoeurope (got a good deal on a europcar rental) out of Paris-- since all US car insurance does not cover rentals outside of
the US my Citicard will give me primary coverage for CDW and theft while the rental car company has liability in their basic rate so I should be covered for anything...citi bank credit card
company even emailed me a letter from them confirming that I have coverage to show the rental car agent. Am I missing anything??
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Old Apr 11th, 2018, 03:49 PM
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You also have to decline CDW from Europcar. Make sure you use a CC at Europcar with the same name that is on the Autoeurope voucher. The "name" should be the primary driver. if someone else is also going to drive the car, declare that person as "another" driver & pay a fee.

Stu Dudley
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Old Apr 11th, 2018, 04:53 PM
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Insurance coverage

Having the right credit card coverage is important. Amex offers full coverage to it's members (free for Platinum members), but depending on your card coverage, the car and the rental rate, you might want to think about the zero deductible coverage option offered by the rental agency along with Auto Europe. The last little 'ding' I had in a rental (based in France) produced a bill of slightly over 900, which Amex removed after getting no response back from their inquiry to the rental agency, in this case Europcar. Even if you have excellent coverage with your credit card, it can take months to settle a dispute.

And yes, every rental car company puts a hold of the excess, which, depending on the car, can be several thousand euros. One issue with the newer, smaller cars being offered at the rental agencies today is that they are prone to minor damage, dents in the doors, fenders, etc. because of the lighter weights (very light guage metal) designed to meet the fuel efficiency standards. The plastic bumpers hold up pretty good, but not the door panels, fenders and hood. About the only cars not prone to being easily damaged are the more expensive models like BMW and Audi.

If something does happen, be sure to take a lot of photos. And make sure you check the car out before driving away.
Attached Files
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CDW Coverage - Auto Europe.pdf (41.9 KB, 170 views)
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Old Apr 11th, 2018, 06:02 PM
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Actually, take lots of photos before driving off at time of rental AND lots before you actually hand in the keys.
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Old Apr 12th, 2018, 01:14 AM
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And make sure you photo the undercarriage - a lot of people don't think to do that, but the rental companies always check it.
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Old Apr 12th, 2018, 03:12 PM
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And don't forget that required International Dirivng Permit!
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Old Apr 12th, 2018, 04:22 PM
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PalenQ--- is that International driving permit really necessary?? Is it just for certain countries?? We drove last year in England and Scotland and the rental company didn't ask for one.
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Old Apr 12th, 2018, 04:46 PM
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You don't wanna ask - there have been some recent threads on this and though many were like you (and me) under the impression the IDP is not required it was shown that yes the IDP is a required document to drive in France (technically a recongized translations of your U.S. driving license - the IDP from your local AAA for about $20 or so makes you legal; without not legal. It was proven by French government info saying the IDP is required for American residents and some rental agencies apparently require one to rent a car.

That said, many others said they had driven in France for years and never had one and no consequences for not having - my French son says last year his state license was just glanced at at a roadside check and that the 'cop just kind of gave it a puzzled look' and waved me on. Others, however say they do know of folks were who fined for not having IDP (really an authorized translation) - so cut to the chase - just go buy one.

End of Discussion.

Last edited by PalenQ; Apr 12th, 2018 at 04:51 PM.
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