Help with Car Rentals & Insurance

Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 11:30 AM
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Help with Car Rentals & Insurance

Will be renting a car in Sicily for 16 days in the fall. I have read some horror stories about problems with the car rental agencies. I'm tyring to find out just what type of extra insurance I should carry. Seems like some travelers have been talked into extra insurance that they don't need. I guess I would just like to be armed with the knowledge before I start negotiating with the car agency. I do want to make sure that we have the proper coverage. Any suggestions?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 11:47 AM
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Renting with Auto Europe in Italy has always worked with me. You can typically decline CDW as your credit card company might already provide it...the main 'add on' I would get is 3rd party liability and ensuring all passengers are covered.
cheers,
CC
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 11:58 AM
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You can't decline CDW in Italy. It's required. Also required is an International Driver's Permit, if you come from abroad. (The IDP is easily and inexpensively obtainable in North America at the AAA/CAA.)
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:08 PM
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Book by phone and ask questions:


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.
bobthenavigator is offline  
Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 12:28 PM
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I rented a car through the broker EconomyCarRentals.com which offers rentals with no deductible. Others have reported no problems in getting reimbursed for credit card payment of damages to a car. If the fact that you would have to first pay for the damages with your credit card, thereby limiting subsequent uses of your card, just take another credit card with you as a back up.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2011, 04:23 PM
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Michael. I am scouting out automatic rentals for my brother. I have used EconomyCarRentals.com before and I suggested them to him as the prices are hundreds of dollars less expensive than the Auto Europe prices. He needs an intermediate.
Economy is still not showing any compact or economy automatics for my trip and I called them. They said to call at the end of March.
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 09:01 AM
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I'm not sure I understand this extra insurance coverage. I have been reading the fine print. What exactly is CDW insurance. It seems like it doesn't cover much. Things like mirrors, tires, windows seem to be excluded. Is it only for body damage if you hit another car. What if someone slams their door into your car and causes damage?

I did check with my credit cards. American Express does NOT cover Italy (that should be a red flag) however VISA does. I've read that some of these rental agencies hold money on your credit card. It all is very confusing to me. I just want to make sure I have coverage and the right kind of coverage.
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 09:14 AM
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In Sicily,rent with AutoEurope-easy to pick up and drop off at either Palermo or Catania. Take all of the insurance CDW that is offered on the car especially in Sicily with the small streets and midget spot parking! AutoEurope is out of Portland Maine and they will be happy to explain everything to you on your rental and why.
My daughter and I rented a Mercedes 180 diesel from AutoEurope in Catania/returned in Palermo and loved it. It had sensors on it to let you know if you were too close to something which was a godsend when we were in some small towns with even smaller streets. I would highly recommend getting a diesel because it will save you some money on your gas bill.Personally I like to drive automatics so be aware that if you want one of those you must book early as they are not as plentiful as manuals.
I would book with a major car rental agency so if something happens to the car you can get a replacement from one of their local agencies if it cannot be fixed.
What is your itinerary?
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 09:26 AM
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Forgot to add that we bought a TOM TOM GPS European model and it really was wonderful to have in some of the remote areas we were in using the GPS. I would also send away to get a good map-perhaps the Italian Touring Club Association?
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 09:42 AM
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RR: You don't have a choice about Collision Damage insurance in Italy. It's required. So is theft insurance. So those aren't "extra," they're mandated and you have no choice but to pay them. What would be "extra" would be insurance to cover you if you or a passenger were injured.

CALL AutoEurope on the phone and ask them all your questions. They are exceedingly helpful.
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Old Mar 13th, 2011, 01:14 PM
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Just a couple of thoughts. I'm renting a car in Sicily (returning to Milan) in Sept 2011 for two weeks. I found the best rates to be at the Hertz UK site (www.hertz.co.uk) using their prepay rates. The rates are a little different now than when I booked -- go to the "deals" tab and find the 60 day advanced Europe deal. When you do the booking it puts in UK as country, but my credit card charge went through with no problem. I suppose it's possible I will have a problem when I pick up the car, but searches of other forums (flyertalk) have others reporting no issues picking up a car booked on the UK site.

As far as excess insurance, I am going to be buying a one year policy at http://www.protectyourbubble.com/carhire-insurance for £38.03. There is plenty of feedback you can find that says this is a legit company that has made good on their policies when there are claims. This policy will fully cover the CDW and theft excess, as well as tire damage, windshield damage, key lockout, and some baggage coverage. Policy can be read here: http://www.protectyourbubble.com/download.php?id=23

Finally, I bought this GPS with preloaded Europe maps at J and R for less than $100: http://www.jr.com/hugel/pe/HUG_P2P610T/

Have a great time in Sicily!
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Old Mar 14th, 2011, 03:28 PM
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Dutyfree, there will be 4 adults and our luggage. Will the Mercedes 180 hold all of us and our stuff. I definitely will call AutoEurope as several suggested. Yes, heard about getting a map from the Italian Touring Club.

Charlie, I have not tried Hertz UK although several have suggested AutoEuropeUK as well. Thanks for the info about the insurance policy, I will check it out.

My husband is not a fan of GPS, I'm still working on convincing him that we will need one in Sicily. He will be doing all the driving and prides himself on his ability to navigate.
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