Aside from a U-Haul, I have never rented a car before. I will when we go on vacation in May, so I'm trying to learn all about it before I book anything.
As background, I am a US resident living overseas and do not own a home. I do have the USAA US Touring Auto Policy which would cover me for rentals in the US, however I am looking to rent in Europe this summer so that doesn't apply.
I have the Marriott Visa Signature card which apparently provides secondary insurance on rentals. However, since I have no primary coverage in Europe, that would make it primary, correct?
So, I should be able to rent a car, deny the CDW/LDW & Theft coverage as that would all be covered by the Visa card, right?
I also have an Amex card and have seen their $24.95 Premier package, but it doesn't seem like their is really incentive for me to go with that as I'm only renting for 6 days.
The only problem I see with either of those is that they don't include liability. I don't PLAN to get into an accident that is my fault. But, I will be driving in a foreign country & I haven't driven in almost 2 years. So, is there any option that does include liability that I should look at? It appears that even the expensive plans offered by the rental agencies don't include liability. Should I just use my Visa as I mentioned earlier and be extra careful?
I'm sure that your travels abroad make you a far better informed person than I would be in regards to traveling in foreign countries. However, I would never rent a car in Europe that didn't include the full insurance coverage. An 'at fault' accident in a foreign country is in the eyes and interpretation of those whose laws and customs I might not understand. I would never want to subject myself to all the hassle one would get from an accident or miscue while in a car just because I didn't want to spend the $100 or $200 for the insurance. Peace of mind that I don't (and won't) have any hassle is more than enough reason for me to get the insurance....every time.
I've probably rented 20 or so times in Europe and never had an accident....but I do know how they drive over there. I'll continue to get the insurance whenever and wherever I rent when in Europe.
If you want to know about that Marriott Visa coverage in a foreign country you should probably read the docs on the card or call them for the scoop....and, be mindful that some rental car insurance will not cover travel in Italy at all.
Good luck and happy travels!
When I've rented a car in Europe I book it online and then call the rental company and have them explain the insurance coverage. What I have found is the Avis rentals I have had always came with insurance, and IIRC, you couldn't refuse the insurance. I just returned from Italy in September and our car quote online came with insurance, but as tef6178 mentions never rent without full coverage or you will be unhappy if something was to happen. Nobody ever plans to be in an accident I wouldn't think however; if you were to drive the Amalfi coast for example the oncoming vehicle you won't see until about 3 seconds from impact on some curves.
Safe travels and what countries will you be driving while abroard?
I will be renting in Switzerland, but will likely drive into France and Italy as well.
When I look at Avis, they offer CDW, Personal Accident Protection, and Theft Protection. The Liability option is grayed out and says not available. Every car company I've looked at either lacks a Liability option or has it grayed out.
I went ahead and sent an email to USAA double checking that the US Touring Policy is US only (that's what the name sounds like) and asking if they have any product that would cover me in Europe.
Through further searching I found this article: How to Buy Car-Rental Insurance in Europe
According to it: "To begin with, most rental rates in Europe include liability insurance, which covers damage to anything outside the car—but not to the vehicle itself. For that you need a collision damage waiver (CDW)."
That makes it sound like liability is included (which makes it being grayed out and showing "Not available" make more sense.)
If that is the case, I would just need to worry about the car itself & CDW/Theft which I can get either directly from the rental agency or through a credit card or 3rd party policy.
I had forgotten about the liability being grayed out when booking online, good catch and research.
Will you be visiting the Lake Como area when you come in from Switzerland? We drove in both countries a few years back what as well as Italy this past year, what beautiful places.
I hadn't really thought about Lake Como, though now that you mention it when I was looking at moving to Milan a friend mind told me his sister had a house there I could use if I ever wanted to.
But, since we are wanting to spend time with our other friends in Geneva I doubt we will stay in Italy at all.
AS others have said, I would never rent outside the country without insurance. If you purchase travel insurance that covers medical, trip cancellation, trip interruption, etc, most have car rental coverage as well. You might want to check on some of these since you might get more for not too much more.
Thanks. I checked a site that compares multiple travel insurance policies and everyone I looked only covered payments to the rental agency for damage to the car and loss of use (as far as the rental car part went) so it seems like those don't cover any sort of liability to other vehicles either.
Those policies still look pretty good though. I'm doubtful of the need to medevac out of western Europe, but for other places that would come in very handy.
I just checked and my medevac coverage through work covers me worldwide as long as I am on official orders or R&R. Since this is an R&R trip I wouldn't need the medevac coverage. Also, they buy the air tickets, so cancellation shouldn't be a worry. My medical insurance will cover my family there the same as it does here.
I'm still looking at the different travel insurance policies, but it seems like the value/need for it in my case is somewhat diminished.
According to one rental site:
The following guidelines apply to rentals commencing in Switzerland.
Fire and third party liability insurance is mandatory and is included in all rentals. Third party liability insurance offers US$1,800,000 coverage in case of damage or injury to people or property outside of the rental car.
Also finally found it buried in Hertz Rental Terms:
Basic insurance includes unlimited coverage on bodily injury to persons other than the driver and on property damage to anything other than the Hertz vehicle and fire protection.
So I can mark my question answered... In Switzerland third party liability is included as part of the basic insurance. All I have to worry about is damaged to the vehicle or theft. I can purchase CDW & Theft coverage through the rental agency, a third party travel insurance policy, AmEx policy, or possibly through a credit card (check with the card company to be sure.)
Thanks to everyone for your contributions! Now to figure out if I want to try to earn Hertz points or just get Marriott points.