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Insurance on rental cars in Greece

Hello all! We plan to spend several weeks in Greece in late April. I can add a rental car insurance 'rider' as part of my travel insurance policy for less than 1/2 of the cost of full (supplemental) coverage from the various rental car agencies we will be using on our travels through the islands and mainland. Our agent tells us that the agencies have no interest in any other coverage other than their own, which implies we may be at their mercy for cooperation as well in terms of getting information for making claims, should we be put in that unfortunate situation!! Has anyone had any experience using other than the car rental agency's insurance? Thanks in advance for any advice in this regard!!

Posted by
7649 posts

Insurance is a bit of hope-for-the-best in any situation, and different people approach it in different ways, but for what it's worth, we haven't gotten travel insurance for our trips for ages. We haven't had cancellations or medical issues that would have forced a cancellation, so we've been fortunate there.

As for rental cars, since our VISA card includes car insurance when we pay with that credit card, that's what we've used on several trips in several countries. There's a lot of fine print on the rental/insurance agreement, and if we had needed to report a claim (worst case scenario, a major accident involving bodily harm and/or severe physical damage to vehicles or other property), I'm sure it would involve a paperwork nightmare, if not financial as well. Again, we've been fortunate and not run into anyone or anything (yet), nor has anyone run into our rental car (yet). We've heading to Greece for 2 weeks next month, and will be driving a rental . . . fingers crossed, and using or VISA card.

If you opt to pay for insurance coverage, that could pay off in the end, but getting a break on premiums for the same (or better) coverage than the rental firm offers seems like the way to go, if you are going to get additional coverage anyway. Have a great and safe trip!

Thanks Cyn. You spurred me to take a second look at the insurance provided by our credit card. My impression was the coverage wasn't very good, but I found out it actually compares quite favorably to the coverage by the travel insurance company! It does require that we decline the CDW provided by the rental agency, but on some of the islands none is provided anyway. One thing we will do is get a letter of coverage from the credit card company before we go just in case.

Hope you have a good trip as well!!

Posted by
4535 posts

The concern you should consider with foreign rentals insurance, is that if something does happen, what kinds of hassle and bureaucracy will you have to endure? Accident reports, estimates, paperwork, etc... And the rental agencies will charge you for their cost upfront (can you endure that until hopefully reimbursed?). Certainly read everything carefully and choose based on your risk tolerance.

Personally, on foreign rentals, I get their full CDW and just consider it the cost of travel. If something happens, I just walk away.

Hi Douglas, Your method is what we have done in the past on almost every occasion. Although we have not been in an accident, we had 'car issues' on a European trip where the local company didn't deliver as promised. We ended up paying for the repair ourselves and getting reimbursed later. Fortunately, the repairs were relatively inexpensive. Although we don't know how it would have turned out had we used our own insurance in that instance, having the rental car's insurance didn't save us from a significant amount of hassle getting a reimbursement. It would be nice if one could actually, as you say, pay and walk away!

Posted by
186 posts

We have always just used our credit card insurance coverage and not had any problems when dealing with claims and minor fender benders. We do always use major car rental companies, which might make it easier. On one occasion, we were rear ended in a small beach village in Halkidiki and the car rental agency brought a replacement vehicle to the accident site for us, helped us complete the police and paper work, and we were on our way in 30 mins. Better than the service back home!

Posted by
1397 posts

Interesting thread.
We also use the coverage provided by our credit card. I actually had to use it once in the US and it did work.

In Greece you will find several different business models. The big international agencies want to sell you Insurance and often also have a deductible. We tend to use local car rental agencies in Athens and on Crete. Their business model is, they provide full insurance coverage as part of the rental with no deductible at all. On smaller islands they don't seem to have this feature and even with insurance coverage in the price they have a deductible or first loss.
Its quite a varied experience. I always make sure I pay with my credit card.

Interestingly we were picked up by our rental company and driven to our hotel where the car was waiting for us. After 27 hours of non stop travel, the agency thought it prudent for us not to drive away in their car on arrival. While we were in the car with them they got a phone call from a renter who had been in an accident. It was an interesting conversation. The full insurance coverage comes into effect if the renter was responsible for the accident. It covers both the rental car and damage to the other vehicle. However if the other driver was at fault his insurance has to pay for the damage to both cars. The rental agent told the renter to take a photo of the damage to both cars, the accident scene and the license plate of the other vehicle to enable the insurers to determine who was at fault.

Another thing to remember you credit card does not provide liability insurance. You can purchase that on your homeowners or rental insurance policy as a special rider. The extra insurance offered by rental companies can cover liability which many people don't think about.

Thank you Stanbr and Stephb for your input - all valuable info! It's very good to hear about others' experiences with rental cars, particularly where the credit card insurance had to be used, and better yet, that it functioned well!

As we are using a travel agent this time (another relatively rare experience for us), she is determining which rental companies that will be used. I understand we are using Enterprise on the mainland, but other than that, I'm not sure who the other providers will be. The travel agency is a large one, so I trust (fingers crossed!) we will have no issues with the providers. Based on the rate sheet, third party liability (both personal and property) is included in the rental rates for all the different locations, but we do have to concern ourselves with collision/damage and theft. I like the idea of total coverage and no deductibles provided by the credit card companies in that regard.

Posted by
7649 posts

Your travel agent may be already looking at them, but Rick Steves' guidebook recommends Pop's Car rental, which appears to be a Greece-only local company, and they appear to cover much of the country, including islands. They had the best rental fees we could find for our trip, and their one-way drop off fee, preventing us from having to backtrack, was also very reasonable. Their Website can provide more info.