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Auto insurance when renting car in Italy

Hello fellow travelers. I will be renting a car in Italy for the first time. I have read about the collision damage waivers, etc. BUT, when I spoke to the insurance company I use here in the United States for my regular auto coverage, they told me I'm fully covered at the same limits as my regular policy, even in a rental car---even in Italy. I'm finding this difficult to believe, given all the horror stories I've read about the confusing and expensive collision waivers. Have any of you had experience with this? I'd hate to spend money on extra insurance that I don't need, but would also hate to discover that I'm not covered, should anything happen. Appreciative of any insights you can offer.

Posted by
10344 posts

Jennifer: You're wise to be checking further, I say that for 3 reasons: 1) We've only had a few people tell us their US auto insurance covers them for CDW in Italy, a few but not many; apparently you've been told by a voice on the phone "don't worry about it, you're covered"; personally, I'd request the insurance company rep to show me exactly where the policy says that.2) Some policies that do cover driving in some countries in Europe (such as some credit card coverage policies) exclude Italy from their CDW coverage (another reason to get verification about your policy).3) Although I have no numbers to back up this statement, the impression I've gained from my own experience driving in Italy and that of others is that it's somewhat more likely that there will be (let's call them) incidents driving in Italy (scraping the car on things, hopefully nothing worse). So, as a general statement only, you're probably somewhat more likely to need CDW coverage there.

Posted by
1589 posts

" Appreciative of any insights you can offer."

From my heart:
Don't rent a car in Italy. The combination of trains and buses will get you EVERYWHERE that you need to go. You live in the city, so you must use these creatures every day!

Posted by
8 posts

Thanks for the reply. You are correct, and we will be using trains for most of our trip. We are only renting a car for three days when we'll be traveling through some more remote regions of Toscano and staying at a couple of farm houses WAY off the beaten path (and far from train tracks). We want to explore the back roads and get lost a little. Our Italian is good, so we think this will be fun and put us more in touch with "real life" in rural Italy. So, still seeking tips on insurance . . . anyone?

Posted by
8700 posts

The Auto Europe site says that CDW is REQUIRED in Italy. AE only offers an inclusive rate for car rental in Italy. For other countries AE lets you choose between a basic rate (declining CDW) and an inclusive rate. I suggest that you call AE's toll-free number and ask more questions. Then talk to your insurance agent again.

Posted by
12187 posts

Ask your credit card company where you can see the written policy for your credit card?

It's easy to have someone on an 800 number tell you your covered but you can't rely on it. The written explanation of your coverage which was sent with your card and presumably can be retrieved online is a contract that the company is legally bound to.

Before you rely on the card's coverage, know the policy, your duties, what the plan covers and its limitations. As an example it would be good to know that you are responsible to pay for all the damage and then apply for reimbursement from your card company.

I drove in Italy without a scratch but had full CDW insurance that was included in the price of our leased vehicle.

Posted by
1589 posts

Jennifer, I now understand ( sorta ) your need for a car in Italy, but, by all means, do not waive any coverage. As noted above, at the very least, assume an incident while attempting to park in a nonexistance parking space. Could you recover from stateside "protection" - maybe, after a loooong battle. You mentioned needing a car for three days, so go fully protected. Have a great trip!

Posted by
1294 posts

I'd be skeptical as well. Look into it again and ask if it is spelled out in your policy. If not, request a letter stating that you are covered in Italy. If you are covered...who is your insurance company?? Mine doesn't cover us outside North America. We purchased travel insurance that included auto insurance (CSA travel insurance company) and when we returned a car with damage, they paid us back with no hassles. If we had been able to use our own insurance from home, our rates would have gone up. (My husband and I haven't had accidents here in the states so we have maximum bonus points and get a credit every year) I'm kinda glad we didn't use our own insurance, since the travel insurance was cheaper than our bonus credit.

Posted by
518 posts

Go to : www.ricksteves.com/cdw

In Italy you not only need "super CDW" insurance from the car company but also (required) is theft insurance. Read Rick at the above address for the details.
My insurance agent/friend advised me a long time ago to ALWAYS take out the insurance with the car company (this includes renting in the US) to avoid some miserable and expensive alternatives. I usually just double the rental amount in my mind when I book and am pleasently surprised if it turns out to be less. I have a cousin who totaled his rental on a round-a-bout in England. He had the maximum insurance. The company came to the site with another car, and they were on their way.

Posted by
7722 posts

My feelings would be to take the Full CDW from the rental company since it is only three days. Even if it were a couple hundred Dollars, it is still worth the peace of mind. While you may have coverage with your existing Auto Policy, trying to convince authorities there, plus the hassle of dealing with a claim, may be more hassle than the ability to save a few bucks. It would also be very likely that they would want you to settle any damages prior to leaving, and have you get reimbursed from your Insurance Company.