I have been strongly advised by my car rental company, Auto Europe, to acquire an International Drivers License for our upcoming trip to Spain. I have driven in Europe perhaps 15 times; 5 of which, to be on the safe side, I purchased the IDL. The other times I passed. Once or twice I have been stopped at "safety road blocks" and don't remember it being a problem." My question is simple; has anyone out there in "Rick's Land" actually ever had to produce one for any reason? Obviously, they are not very expensive and can be obtained with a minimum amount of inconvenience but I have always just wondered. Many thanks, Richard.
Tis better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it!
I would also fathom a guess if you were in an accident in a country that required an IDL and you did not have one your insurance may not cover you as you were driving illegally.
Regardless of how many people have or have not had to produce one - if a country requires you have one - have one - or you are breaking their law. Some countries state an IDL or a written translation of your DL - as easy & cheap as one is to get just get the IDL.
A technical note. It's not a license - it's an International Driver's Permit. It does not replace your regular license, but is a translation of it, and must be used with it. So, you need to carry both your regular license and the IDP.
A number of EU countries are cracking down more on rental agencies, and police checking more, for IDPs. Spain, Italy, and Greece seem to come up as countries that rarely ever cared, but now require it to be presented usually at the time of rental. Not too many stories of people running into problems from police or if there were an accident, but those are rare instances anyway.
Not having one will NOT void your insurance. I've asked the question at the rental counter several times since this myth often shows up on forums.
I've never been asked for it at roadblocks, just for a passport. A friend was asked for it after a traffic infraction. The traffic infraction fine was chump change -- I forget what the no IDP deal was but it made my eyes water when she told me.
Get it...only a few dollars...and you might save a handful of euros!!!
I've done many road trips to Germany, Austria and Italy and have always bought the IDP (not IDL). I've never had the rental car co. suggest I get one, they've never asked to see it at the pick up counter, but as it's required in some countries, I have it with me. $20 and a little inconvenience in getting it is such a non issue for the multi thousand dollar trip.
I had to have one in Greece, where it is required. Without it the rental agencies would not rent me a car (long story).
I was once asked for it from a rental agent in England, where it is not required. Almost didn't get a car rental because I didn't have one (another long story).
I've learned from these that you should always have an IDP if you will be driving. It's a but like insurance, few times will you ever use it, but woa if you don't have it when you need it.
According to Sixt:
"Third Party Insurance (TI)
Protection coverage for the vehicle rented includes Third Party Liability with a maximum cover of EUR 1,000,000.- for personal injuries and EUR 1,000,000.- for material damages.
Excluded from the protection is the use of the vehicle for the transport of dangerous goods. All protection as part of the rental contract will become void, in particular, if an unauthorized driver has used the vehicle or if the driver of the vehicle does not possess the required driver's license at the time of the event giving rise to claim."
I take that to mean if the country REQUIRES an IDP and you do not have one at the time of an accident or other insured event there is no coverage. YMMV
Perhaps each rental company is different but my experience with insurance ia any loop hole in their favor...
ALL of your responses are very good and much appreciated.
I have decided to go with Christi's charming reply:
Tis better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Good decision! You may find this recent Thread interesting......
Thanks for the Thread. Interesting is not the word; think that hilarious may be more applicable.
Even allowing for a 15% "embellishment factor" it has to be one of my all time favorite travel stories.
That's what's really neat about these websites; they are not only informative but, as this story proves, sometimes just downright funny. (Easy for us to say, I suppose.)
Thanks again for passing it along,
think that hilarious may be more applicable.
I'm not sure if the OP from that Thread would agree with you. I'm glad they provided the information though, as it's a good reminder on some of the problems that can occur when travellers don't do their homework.
Thanks, Ken. To clarify.....
I had (have) no intention of mocking or being disrespectful towards that individual.
As a matter of fact, the opposite is true. I admired the way that he handled it with such grace and humor. His response tells me that he is a person of character.
I suspect that he is also a good story-teller; the kind of a fellow that would be fun to swap travel stories with.
Too much of travel conversation nowadays seems to be negative; I prefer not to look at it this way.
The end of this month will be my 42nd pleasure trip to Europe; I learned long ago not to take things seriously, especially myself.
Perhaps that is why I enjoyed that fellow's Thread so much.
No disrespect towards him was intended; actually a good dose of respect.
Have a great week!
I should clarify too. I was being a bit facetious, and didn't think for a moment that you were mocking the OP or being disrespectful. Unfortunately, internet forums can sometimes leave a bit to be desired in conveying things like that.
There really should be a font call "sarcasm"!
Thanks again Ken, Christi and to all who have so kindly posted.
The final thought/comment on the matter.
I am on my way this morning to the Chicago Motor Club/AAA to get my International Drivers Permit.
Happy travels everyone!
Yes, Spain requires an IDP. They are cheap and easy to get at any AAA before your trip. Not getting one could, potentially, turn out to be a major problem (they don't let you rent the car, you get pulled over for a traffic infraction, or you have any accident). There's no good reason not to have one.