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International drivers license

Hello there...My family and I are traveling to Greece this year...and I have rented a car from Avis...do we need an international drivers license?

Thank you
Victoria

Posted by
2902 posts

YES. Sometimes an agency will hand over a car without asking for International Driving Permit (not licence), but that is dangerous... because if you get into a fender-bender, without IDP your insurance coverage would be voided. Easy to obtain at local AAA, takes 15 minutes; show your license, costs ?? $15 or $20 ... if u bring a couple of passport-size head shots, you save $4 or 5 of that.

Also, unsolicited advice; sometimes Americans say, I'll save a bit on the insurance, won't take the full CDW because my Visa card covers that for me. Well folks, if an accident occurs, you are half a world away from your Visa people, and if it's 5 pm in Greece, it's midnight in NYC. Pay the extra $3 per day for the full insurance, and drive care-free. Have rented cars in 8 of my 11 trips, and have not ever had any incidents, but have heard from others who have.

I always tend to rent from Greek-owned agencies, but others do Avis, Hertz etc, often because of "deals." through credit cards.

Posted by
123 posts

Greece is one of the countries where it is technically required. When I went to Greece and rented a car, they never asked me for it, but you don't want to risk it because you could get a fine. As stated above, it's easy enough to get from AAA so might as well just to be on the safe side. It's then good for one year in any of the required countries (Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Spain).

Posted by
8889 posts

An International Driving Permit is a certified translation of your licence, for the benefit of policemen who can't read English and don't know what a licence from your country looks like. It is only valid with your licence, not on its own.

Posted by
9363 posts

EACH driver must have one if you intend to share the driving duties.

Posted by
28145 posts

Greece is one of the countries where it is technically required. When I went to Greece and rented a car, they never asked me for it, but you don't want to risk it because you could get a fine. As stated above, it's easy enough to get from AAA so might as well just to be on the safe side.

It is irresponsible for a RS staffer to make it sound like a "nice-to-have".

It is the law.

If you have an accident and don't have the legal paperwork expect to be treated as a person with no insurance and no license. Think jail and paying for the car out of your pocket.

Posted by
1437 posts

I had a serious car accident on Crete, this past May. The IDP was required. I was very glad to have had both the IDP and no-deductible insurance. I was lucky to walk away from it and not need to deal with anything else other than the injury.

Posted by
4535 posts

I agree with Nigel. This is the second thread on this issue where RS staff advice is not clear about the legal requirement for an IDP in certain countries. It is LEGALLY required, not a "better to be safe than sorry" advice. Whether the rental agency asks for one or not is irrelevant (and they DO ask in Greece). If asked for one by police, you can be heavily fined for not having one. Traffic stops, checkpoints and accidents do happen.

Posted by
2951 posts

I have in fact witnessed a situation wherein a visitor to Santorini who was in an accident and had no IDP was detained until he could get money wired from home to pay for damages to the vehicles involved because his insurance had been invalidated. And you can bet the damage estimate had been padded by the "injured" party.

Posted by
3333 posts

We rented a car at the Athens airport. I can't remember from which company, but it was one with a well-known American name. The agent asked for my IDP while doing the paperwork. I had the distinct impression that the IDP was required.

Posted by
2951 posts

Greek law requires it. Some rental agents won't ask you for it but it is the law.

Posted by
137 posts

And be careful driving over there! They are nuts...you will see little roadside shrines, that should tell you something! LOL
Have fun. So jealous. :)

Posted by
3 posts

Victoria,

It is always safest to err on the side of caution but I did not get an international license when I was there last month. Now I was in Crete and it could be more loose, but I don't think it is a big deal to have this license in Greece.

Good luck!
Thanks,
J

Posted by
9363 posts

Then you broke the law, J. Nothing to be proud of or advise others to do.

Posted by
2951 posts

J, I'm sure you'd suddenly think it was a big deal if you were the one being detained, waiting days in jail until someone from home sends enough money to pay for all damages and fines just because you didn't feel like spending $20 on the IDP.

Posted by
28145 posts

J, the advice that valuetutoring gave could not only wind up with you in jail, but because you didn't have a valid driving license if you had an accident you would have no valid insurance (it only counts if you have a valid license) and all the costs for you and the other party (ies) would come out of your back packet. Not bad for a $20 bit of paper, eh?