italy car rental

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Jan 23rd, 2010, 11:54 AM
  #1
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italy car rental

I will be in italy this fall and will rent a car for 4 days to tour tuscany. I will drive to Florence and drop off the car at the airport so as not to have to drive into Florence. It has been quite a few years since I have rented a car in Europe and would like to know what company you think gives the best price and service. What are the particulars I should know before I rent? Thanks for your help.
cathy52 is offline  
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Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:01 PM
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This may help--look at the insurance details closely.

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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Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:04 PM
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And look at this web site: www.slowtrav.com/italy/driving/index.htm. Lots of detalied information there about driving in Italy.
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Jan 23rd, 2010, 12:07 PM
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I would agree with Bob that autoeurope is the way to go. We have rented cars in Italy from them about 6 or 7 times and have been very happy with the price and service. We have also rented from Hertz in Italy and were very disappointed (long story but the car broke down and we were left stranded on a rainy sidewalk in a strange place). Price includes all insurances, etc. No unexpected charges.
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Jan 23rd, 2010, 01:54 PM
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I had good luck and the best price booking directly with Avis (ah-vis in Eetaly). Hertz price was much higher as were previously mentioned sites. Take the time to shop at least a little.

Note: your U.S. debit and credit cards may not work for automated toll booths (lack embedded security chip). Safer to carry cash for tolls.

If you have a portable GPS device, buy a European chip (available on eBay). Should be a lot cheaper than renting with the car and GPS gives you confidence to go off the beaten path.

Your U.S. insurance won't apply in Europe, but if you buy trip insurance (www.insuremytrip.com is a comparison site) the add-on for a rented car is very reasonable and much less than buying from the rental company.
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Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:20 PM
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Although I think trip insurance is always a good idea, you don't need it to insure a rented car. Your own credit card should be sufficient for that.

I have used AutoEurope for 100+ rentals in Europe and have always been more than pleased with them, especially with their speedy and effective responses when something went wrong - if nothing goes wrong. I always call them rather than use their website for bookings. One thing I particularly like about them is that I invariably get upgraded to a bigger car at no charge.
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Jan 23rd, 2010, 02:28 PM
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>>>Your U.S. insurance won't apply in Europe, but if you buy trip insurance (www.insuremytrip.com is a comparison site) the add-on for a rented car is very reasonable and much less than buying from the rental company.<<<

Most insurance will not cover Italy and I would be surprised if any combined with trip insurance does as most specifically exclude Italy (and maybe Ireland also).
kybourbon is online now  
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Jan 23rd, 2010, 08:00 PM
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Also try kemwel.com... a sister company of Auto Europe but I've found kemwel to have better prices whenever I've rented.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 12:05 PM
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Watch out for the ZTL signs in the cities and also, don't drive in the bus lanes on the Autostrada.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 01:17 PM
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Cathy,

All good suggestions here especially Bob's. I rented from Avis at FCO last May for a tour of Tuscany. Our base of operations was a villa in Montisi. Drove to Siena, Chuisi, Florence, Cortona. All easy to do as long as you park outside the "walls". GOod luck you can do it.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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You need to check several things:

Prices for the type of car you want to rent
Opening times of the offices at which you want to pick up and drop off the car
Size of the office at which you pick up the car (so you have the best chance of getting the one you want)

This can also differ by type of year.

We always do Avis or Hertz, since we like larger more powerful cars fully loaded - and we get corporate discounts at both. Other companies may make more sense for you.
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Jan 28th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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carrentals.com economycarhire.com When in Italy you have to buy their collision insurance. You can buy this insurance 'with excess' and that means you will be liable for a large deductable and it could be from 1200US and up, depending on the car. OR you can buy collision insurance with 'no excess' for an extra premium and that reduces the deductable considerably. Call Auto Europe and ask those questions. [no excess could also be called 'super collision]
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Jan 29th, 2010, 07:58 AM
  #13
 
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I found that the deals offered over the phone when I called Kemwell and Autoeurope were better than those offered on the website. And Kemwell not only beat Autoeurope prices, but their rules for changing your plans were less restrictive.
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Jan 29th, 2010, 09:54 AM
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Nancy is correct !
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Jan 29th, 2010, 10:42 AM
  #15
 
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FYI....
My amex gold card no longer offers rental car insurance protection in Italy! There is an Italy Exclusion...works in Costa Rica, not italy,. So you may want to check.
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Jan 29th, 2010, 12:32 PM
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We have rented cars in Italy several times, and have always had good luck with AutoEurope. They are very nice people to deal with, and we'd never had a problem. I agree, call rather than do it online, sometimes you get a better deal. I've never bought extra insurance. I've also found that initaly.com has the best maps for sale, incredibly well detailed. The one thing we learned the hard way, is that if you do get a parking ticket, you can't assume (like we did) that they wouldn't track us down. They did, through the rental car company, and next month a hefty fee showed up on our credit card. Be forewarned!
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Jan 29th, 2010, 12:57 PM
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I just changed my auto rental from AutoEurope ($449.88) to Kemwel ($366.28) for the exact same rental (same pickup location and date, same return location and date, same class of car). Also, I have checked with American Express and my gold card definitely offers rental car insurance protection in Italy (no exclusion).
AllisonK is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 01:11 PM
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Are you sure, Allison, that would be a first to me.
bobthenavigator is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 02:52 PM
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Am I sure about what?
AllisonK is offline  
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Jan 29th, 2010, 03:02 PM
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Bob, I had called American Express to verify that we would have insurance protection and was informed that we would. I just called again and was now informed that we would not. I'm glad you posted because I would not have double-checked otherwise! I wonder why no protection in Italy? I am going to have to switch to another credit card...
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