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Have you ever had your rental car broken into in Europe?

Have you ever had your rental car broken into in Europe?

Old Feb 21st, 2004, 06:46 PM
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Have you ever had your rental car broken into in Europe?

We have travelled in both western and central/eastern Europe by rental car. Particularly in the more central/eastern areas the guidebooks always caution about leaving anything visible in cars. Therefore we always are extremely paranoid and make sure we have a car with a trunk large enough to put our suitcases so it looks as though there is nothing in the car. The only place we ever had any problem was in a small town in France where all the hub caps were stolen off of our car in while it was parked overnight on the street outside our hotel. Here in the US we will leave our locked car with stuff in it. Have you ever been broken into on your trips? I guess I should say that I am talking about day time thefts here when your suitcases would be in the car, because obviously at night the luggage would be in your room. My question probably refers to those times when you would be going between places and stop for a day of sightseeing on your way to your next lodging. One reason I am asking this is because we are considering buying some folding bikes to take with us on trips where we might want to have a rental car part of the time when we have the bikes. My husband insists this would be a problem because we couldn't get our 2 suitcases and 2 folding bikes in a trunk and the car would be too vulnerable if we had bags with bikes in the back seat.
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Old Feb 21st, 2004, 07:18 PM
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No, in something like 50+ trips to Europe I've never had a rental car broken into. My in-laws did, but then, they left the car wide open with a wallet on the seat, so one could have seen that coming.

In addition to hiding luggage, I always remove any rental car stickers on the car and throw a baguette and a local newspaper somewhere visible in the car, in what may be a silly attempt to make the car look "local." It seems to work.

I don't think I would feel particularly safe with bicycles exposed, though - that would be a big signal to me that the car was a tourist car, and bicycles are pretty good targets for thiefs. Unless you can hide both the bikes and the luggage, I wouldn't feel entirely safe.
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Old Feb 21st, 2004, 08:04 PM
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It might be a good idea to consider renting bikes in the locations where you want to use them.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 05:26 AM
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The only times I have ever had a car broken into has been the USA.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 05:42 AM
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In more than 30 driving trips we have never had a car broken into. But, just like in the US - I would never leave a parked car with anything visible in it - this is just asking for trouble - especially if you are parked at a highway rest stop or other "tourist" location. I would defiitely not leave a car with any bikes or luggage visible. Why not just rent bikes when you get to to your destination?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:31 AM
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We are considering purchasing folding bikes because we have never had any luck finding decent rental bikes or for that matter finding bikes to rent at all. It seems to be a myth that nice rental bikes are easily available. The bikes would be in canvas carrying bags so they wouldn't jump right out and say "bikes in the backseat", but there would obviously still be something in the backseat.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 06:35 AM
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Last year we had our car broken into in the Alsace area of France. Luggage couldn't be seen, but we had a hatch back. Took suitcases, but left our coats, thank goodness. Police very nice to us and so was the rental car, they didn't charge us for the damage. The thieves only got mostly dirty clothes and nothing else.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 09:19 AM
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We have never had a rental car broken into UNTIL last year while parked behind a "Gite" which was in the country. Funny thing is they took my husbands jacket-nothing fancy - but left mine. Guess it was'nt their taste!They broke the window to get in. The trip to the police station with the owner of the gite is one of our most pleasant experiences. They were so worried that we would judge France unfavorably because of it. Even filling out the forms was not bad because they had them in English. We have taken our regular bikes with us for 10 years and covered most of Europeon them. We have never had a problem. We have taken some risks leaving them chained-with all our clothes on them-in panniers- at a few tourists places and luckily they were o.k.At night we always ask the place we are staying if they can put them away for us. We have had them stored in kitchens of some pretty fancy hotels,in wash rooms, on our balcony in Paris and lots of other garages etc. We also will not rent because of the quality of the bikes. Hope this helps you and hope you enjoy the biking as much as we do!!!
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 09:32 AM
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Once. In downtown Ambois, parked right at the river in a very busy area. They simply punched out the lock cylinder in the door. Got us pretty good. I was known as Vito for the rest of the trip as my glasses were taken and all I had was prescription sunglasses. Took a bit of determination to get a police report completed as it was late on a Saturday afternoon and "come back on Monday" wasn't what we were hoping to hear. The wives were motivated tho and I think the Police decided it was easier to do the report than argue.

We called Avis and ended up swapping cars the next day. No problem with Avis at all.

With the police report in hand, we ended up getting most of the personal items covered. I guess it was homeowners.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 09:36 AM
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Whatever you decide about bikes, there really has to be one basic rule.

Never, ever, leave anything that anyone - however weird - might consider valuable visible in a car. And it has nothing to do with hire cars.

I don't know about the US, but in most of Europe people desperately in need of cash go about their day in pretty much the same places the rest of us go about our day.

Seeing stuff on a car seat is a temptation, and no amount of CCTV and patrols can stop them all. They'll steal the item (Mrs F had a cassette box stolen because, it later transpired, it was the thief's daughter's birthday, and he thought it's make a nice present. The three year old, sadly, wasn't a Monteverdi fan). However trivial that item might be, the damage and hassle that accrue from the smashed window and its repair will never be trivial.

Desperate people do desperate things. Leave anything visible in your car and they'll do it to you. Leave your things in the boot, and they'll do it to someone else.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 12:49 PM
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Yes we have, but it was at our request when we locked the keys in the trunk (blush). The mechanic took about 20 minutes to open the car door, although I'm sure one of the buys who hang around tourist parking-lots could have done it a lot faster. Then again, perhaps BMWs are hard to break into.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 01:39 PM
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Underhill.

I always chuckle at how long it takes for people to 'break' into a car or a house.

A coworker became a track star at high school because of his proclivity for hubcaps.

Ah youth.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 01:39 PM
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The only 2 places I've had my car broken into are Paris and Florence. There wasn't anything in the car either time to make the break-ins worthwhile.
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