Rental Car Overseas: How to Navigate the Terrain

rental car overseasToday we talk about rental cars overseas: if you are planning a trip overseas, you should be interested. There’s nothing quite as enjoyable as a trip away from home; a time to enjoy the best food, wines, landscapes and culture from around the globe. Tourists have personal preferences when it comes to transportation options. There’s always the bus, train lines and guided tours to get from one destination to another.

But for those who truly want to see the “real country” such as little tucked away quaint villages, shops, cozy pubs and cafes and get away from the tourist traps, a car rental is probably the only option.

It’s possible to fully immerse yourself in another culture, their customs and traditions. Rental cars offer the most flexible transportation choice. They allow for comfort and convenience for those who wish to be on their own, exploring.

Rental car overseas – some important tips!

So, what do you need to know in order to navigate the terrain in the rental car world? It’s best to do your homework before deciding on a rental car agency. Before you leave your home country, spend some time on-line comparing prices and car options.

Some agencies offer discounts for frequent fliers, auto club members and seasonal specials. It’s especially important to read the fine print before booking your car. Once you’ve decided on a car rental agency, it is highly recommended that you make a reservation ahead of time for your rental car overseas.

resolutions-24-128This not only saves money, but also ensures you will have plenty of options in terms of style and size to fit your needs. It’s important to find a car that is large enough to fit your passengers and belongings, but not too large that it’s difficult to drive on narrow, winding roadways.

license-64Drivers must provide proof of eligibility before a rental agency will hand over the car keys.  If you are a US citizen, you are strongly advised to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP). This is issued in the country before your departure. This may be done at either the American Automobile Association (AAA) or the National Automobile Club. These are the only two recommended, reputable agencies.

An IDP is recognized in over 150 countries and is produced in 10 different languages. Along with your IDP, a valid drivers license and or your passport provide sufficient proof to the agency. Drivers under the age of 25 are usually allowed to rent a car in Europe or overseas in general (but take a look at the specific article: https://www.rentcar360.com/rent-a-car-under-25-years-old/)

Additionally, it is valuable to spend some time on embassy websites before traveling abroad. These sites provide important information for drivers, especially the rules, regulations and laws of the roads on your itinerary and safety tips for your protection.  There are pages devoted to international drivers, so be sure to check those out.

A point of common interest: Car rental insurance

car rental overseas insuranceCar rental insurance is one of the most important pieces of information to have in place before you rent a car.  Spend some time reading about the importance of insurance before booking your reservation. Car rental overseas insurance choices can be tricky and you must have enough coverage in case of an accident, theft or loss/damage to the vehicle.

Call your private automobile insurer and enquire about their policies on rental car overseas coverage. Some may offer collision only, which covers medical and persons but does not cover damage to the car. Ask if they offer an umbrella policy. This may be an additional expense you incur that covers the days you are driving the rental car. Another option is to check out insurance companies that deal only in rental car insurance.

They have competitive rates and may be a good choice. If you have a major credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover) you may have insurance from them if you use the card to book and pay for your reservation. Make sure they offer enough coverage for you in the event of an accident. Some cards offer a flat rate for insurance, meaning, you pay a premium price per day for additional coverage other than the standard.

Be sure to inquire if your travel destination requires you to have insurance. In some countries, it is mandatory before you may drive there.

insurance travellingCar rental agencies offer their own insurance which may be very expensive but worth your piece of mind. Most agencies offer Collision Damage Waivers (CDW) and may cost up to $20 additional USD per day. Remember, collision only covers the costs of medical care. It does not include damage to the rental car. It is advised to consider purchasing additional insurance for Loss/Theft. This means if the vehicle is stolen or damaged in an accident or another incident, you will only be responsible for the deductible. This does not cover theft of personal items left in the rental car. Failure to ensure adequate coverage can put you in hot water. You are 100% responsible for damage to the rental. In some cases, you may have to pay the entire cost depending on the value of the car.

Also, certain things are not covered: if you are caught speeding or driving under the influence and are involved in a wreck. Also, if you rent an off road vehicle or one that is built for speed, those may not be covered.

gps rental carsFinally, GPS is a always a nice bonus and takes the pressure off dealing with maps and trying to find your way around. If you have your own GPS, free international downloads are available. However, most rental car agencies offer a GPS for a nominal daily fee. Don’t get lost trying to navigate.

Follow these tips to ensure a smooth ride wherever you travel.