Renting a Car in Europe

Sep 10th, 2006, 10:17 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2006
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Renting a Car in Europe

Would be interested in best experience with/your choice for rental car agency as well as the favorite type of car for two/four people - either automatic or standard transmission. We'll be picking up and returning to DeGaulle Airport. Did you purchase the optional CDW or rely upon coverage from personal auto insurance or credit card?
Dave007 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:26 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,749 gets a lot of recommendations here, and it's the agency we always use. The firm is a consolidator that usually offers very good prices; we usually end up with a europecar rental.

We do not purchase CDW, as we always buy travel insurance that includes rental-car coverage.

Your U.S. insurance won't cover you in Europe.
Underhill is online now  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:36 AM
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I have had very good results using Autoeurope and I'm using them again for my car in the UK at the end of this month.

Be aware about insurance coverages in some European countries. Whereas the "CDW" may only lower your liability and still require a substantial deductible. However, you can often purchase additional insurance which reduces that deductible.

Dukey is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:43 AM
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You need to check with your own cc company and your own auto insurer.

Blanket statements like "your US insurance won't cover you in Europe" may or may not be accurate, unless the other posters have read the details of your contract they're not in a good position to comment on your own situation.

My cc company DOES cover CDW in most of Europe, with the exception of some countries considered higher risk.
ipod_robbie is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:47 AM
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I always use AutoEurope, which is a consolidator who gets you a car from one of the top international companies (Europcar, National, Budget, Avis...). Depending on the company, you generally can't take a car into Eastern Europe or into Italy, if it is an expensive model.
kerouac is online now  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:49 AM
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ipod_robbie - care to tell us which company that is?? It is quite rare for a US company to cover driving in Europe.

Now, credit cards are another matter. Visa/MC will cover you in some countries - but not all.
janisj is online now  
Sep 10th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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You didn't say how long you wanted to rent. If getting close to 17 days you may want to check the lease buy-back. The minimum rental is 17 days..but you can turn it in early..just compare prices with a rental.

I am doing the lease buy-back for my trip leaving on 9/18. They cover you 100% on absolutely EVERYTHING, brand new car etc. You will find that even with the CDW on regular rentals that you do still have some exposure. I just don't like any kind of problems when I time is 100% problems of any kind!!
gracejoan3 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 11:14 AM
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Should have mentioned picking up and dropping off at DeGaulle in France and Malaga in Spain, total # of days 10 (3 France/7 Spain)
Dave007 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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Hi D,

I always check rates at and

AE will usually beat other firm's rates.

I generally let my CC be my insurer, but make sure that your CC's will cover you in France and Spain.

ira is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 02:05 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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I have used Hertz in France twice over this past year, 18 days & 17 days.
Took out their cdw for peace of mind.
Many of their cars are peugot manual shift. Gas is is expensive - many cars are diesel(gazole), u cannot tell the difference in noise or performance but much more mpg and is cheaper. Have done the trip form North France to Spanish border many times always via Bordeaux. New viaduct now opened on other side.
peteram is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 02:12 PM
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We have used and

We haven't detected any difference in service. We shop each of them every time we want to rent a car, and just use the one that gives us the best price for a particular trip.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 02:14 PM
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Let me suggest that you shop around before deciding where to rent. In past years I have used Sixt, Europcar, Hertz and Avis.
The Hertz and Avis contracts were through AutoEurope.

Most of the time, I get the best price through AutoEurope. I think it only prudent to compare prices before deciding, paticularly where a second driver is concerned. We got clipped one year by Avis for a substantial sum. I argued that by renting through my AAA membership that a second driver was included. Not the case I was told.

The last two years I rented through Autoeurope and ended up with Hertz.

You do not usually know what kind of car in terms of brand name you will get.
This year we had a Corolla wagon which would have been fine for 3 or 4 people of average size. But there was no way I could have known before leaving the US what precise make and model would be available.

bob_brown is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 02:15 PM
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We rent direct - either from Hertz or Europcar. We use our credit card (careful of the details here) for the needed insurance. We have not had the success that others report with Autoeurope but we still check their prices.
GBC is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 02:53 PM
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Dave007:. I think, by rereading your second posting that you will be doing two in France and one in Spain, right? We have rented cars for years in Europe and often use Hertz (for with them you can prepay in the States and have a full voucher when you walk up to the ticket counter) . ,,and there are always some minimal addons with a small airport fee, and sometimes a dollar or so daily road fee)...but this way they will not just "charge what they want" as a rental agency they did to us once.(even with the reservation and price on the computer . They said their computer wasn't working). That was in Exeter England.!

AutoEurope is very good also, but they often want a partial payment in the US and the remainder upon picking up the car. I've just never liked that as well....but they do have a good business and are friendly and helpful.
One time they VERY strongly wanted to sell the CDW and we declined and they threatened with several thousand dollars, or something ,if the car is stolen, or wrecked etc> WE still declined. WE've NEVER taken out CDW, as it is covered with our Mastercard!

Hertz also has a good customer relations department also, and though we've have a couple of things to be straightened out , we keep going back to them.

We have always used manual transmission, but lately have rented automatic (one less thing to worry about) though it IS quite a bit more expensive.
Once at Charles de GAulle they "upgraded" us to a Mercedes...fine if you are not going to Italy. Something about the oil light went bad several miles out, but that was straightned out...It WAS a nice car but seems to me it might be more attractive to thievery. In fact we've been asked to take a Mercedes free upgrade on 2 other occasions, but didn't accept it as we were "Dipping into Italy".
Once we did AutoEurope and they used Avis (they are just consolitators) and that was fine....but you might want to try Hertz on your own first and compare. (I just like the full prepaid voucher), Maybe others do it now.
mari5 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 04:10 PM
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US car insurance policies cover you only in the US and Canada. It MAY be possible to buy a special policy covering you in other countries - but I have never seen it.

Many credit card companies provide some amount of coverage in many european countries - you have to ask your card company about the specifics and it will often differ if you have a plain card or gold or platinum or titanium (or black in the case of AMEX).

If you need to buy more coverage depends on what your card offers for free, what car you rent from what company (some companies will rent upscale cars only to AMEX holders since it has no charge limit) and what personal assets you have to protect.

You can't depend on getting any specific type of car from any company. You will probably get the class you reserve - but maybe not even that if you arrive late in the day and there are few cars.

We - even though there are often only 2 of us - always take at least a medium size car and go for one with as much power as possible - since there is nothing worse than trying to get on a highway with fast-moving traffic when yo have a car with a 3-chipmunk engine and a high speed of 70.
nytraveler is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 06:08 PM
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Every time I have used Autoeurope they have required full payment in advance (totally refundable). The only "extras" I've paid upon pick-up were any CDW or "super" CDW and extra driver charges as were warranted.
Dukey is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 06:16 PM
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Whatever you do make sure you book at home before you leave. You'll save a ton of money
skye2006 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2006, 06:25 PM
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For two I believe that a Renault Clio is large enough, but probably wold not feel powerful enough unless it is a standard shift. We have been four in a Peugeot 307, but luckily my wife and I were using one 22" suitcase for the two of us because our friends had one suitcase each (my fairly large camera bag was under my feet whether I was the driver or not). The problem is that you cannot be guaranteed the exact model when you rent. I have the impression that often the Ren ault Mégane is given as the standard but that the equivalent does not always have as much trunk space, and you may end up with the equivalent.

We did not purchase the otpional CDW and declined all insurance from the rental agency. You get better coverage through your credit card. As far as I know, my American insurance company would not have covered a rental in Europe.
Michael is online now  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 01:00 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Underhill: I would be very interested in knowing the name of the travel insurance that you use, especially since it covers rental car coverage? Have you ever had to use your travel insurance?
Thank you
Traveler2 is offline  
Oct 22nd, 2006, 02:51 PM
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I have a standard sequence of companies to check. Avis, Hertz, Sixt, Europcar, and AutoEurope. I save AE for last and have the other prices jotted down for comparison. One Europcar had the better deal. The remainder of the time, I accepted AE's offer. The actual contracts were either with Avis or Hertz.

I can get a better price through AE for Avis and Hertz rentals than I can get by dealing directly.

I strongly recommend that you save all contract papers from AE.

This past summer, Hertz overcharged me. I was making no progress in the Hertz office trying to argue my case, so I waited until I got home.

Then I sent AE copies of all papers pertaining to the rental charges. AE got me a refund of the excess charges.The refund was in the form of a credit posted in dollars to my credit card account.

bob_brown is offline  

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