Car Rental from Germany into Eastern Europe

Can anyone recommend a car rental company to use for a roundtrip car rental from Munich to Vienna/Budapest/Prague and back to Munich? Also, what are the additional surcharges, costs and/or restrictions?

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1391 posts

Check out www.autoeurope.com They will tell you about any restrictions and surcharges. Reserve a diesel car for better gas prices and better gas mileage. Have fun!

Posted by Eric
San Francisco
23 posts

Denise.

Thank you for the post. The terms and conditions on AutoEurope's website indicate that their cars are not permitted to enter Eastern Europe. I was wondering if you or anyone out there might know if Sixt, Europcar or Hertz had differing policies or if I should consider renting from a smaller local outfit or consolidator upon arrival.

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

You can book any price at regular fees at Sixt.com, Europcar.de etc etc. As long as you return the car in Germany there are no additional fees. Just let them know upon pick up of the car that you're driving to Czech and Hungary so that they won't give you a Mercedes or BMW or Audi (which are the standard cars with Sixt and Europcar)... Gas in Czech Rep is as expensive as in Germany, so fill up your car in Austria and Hungary if you can ;-)...

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1391 posts

Eric, according to autoeurope's website, if you are going to be driving to Eastern Europe, you need to talk to one of their representatives at 1-888-223-5555. I read this on their website: http://www.autoeurope.com/car.cfm Maybe get rates from them and use these rates as bargaining points for other car companies.

Posted by Eric
San Francisco
23 posts

Thank you Denise and Andreas.

I've learned that Sixt is a very good option. They will only rent certain cars to go East like all the other agencies but they do not charge for any additional drivers and provide comparable rates for insurance...CDW/Super or Extended CDW with Theft coverage/Personal Injury...with the lowest deductible of any of the majors...100 Euro deductible if you opt for the Extended CDW with Theft coverage.

The only issue now is can a Peugeot 307/308 accomodate four average-sized adults comfortably AND fit four 21-22" carry-on luggage bags in that smallish-looking hatch? If not, we are having to consider a pricier mid-size/intermediate car from another vendor. Unfortunately, Sixt does not offer an automatic in this size-range that is allowed to go East. This leaves us with Hertz (Ford Mondeo) or Europcar. Both with less attractive insurance options due to much higher deductibles, even on their best Super/Extended CDW insurance plans.

In order to reduce costs we are renting from a city location and saving on the 20% surcharge that you get on rentals from the airport or railway. We are also considering waiving the CDW/Theft from the car rental company and using our Amex Platinum which offers pretty good "primary" insurance called premium coverage on the rental with no deductible and apparently no hassle for just $25. My understanding is that Amex would step in and deal with the claim directly with the car rental agency since it is a "primary" insurance plan and we would avoid the hassles of going through our own car insurance from the States as is typical with other "secondary" insurance plans from other card issuers.

While I wait for the fine print, does anyone have any experience with this type of "primary" insurance from a card issuer?

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

Eric, the Peugeot 308 category can easily seat 4 adults and actually can also store your 4 suitcases. But you might want to find out how much more expensive an upgrade to the CWMR category would be as then you could get a 308SW/Focus Wagon/Renault Megan Grand Tour type of car. Same seats but definitely more trunk space...

Posted by Eric
San Francisco
23 posts

Andreas.

Thanks for your feedback on the 307/308. Definitely puts my mind at ease.

We had looked into the CWMR for that exact reason but unfortunately it is not offered in automatic by Sixt. I can do the whole trip in stick but my travelmates want to help with and enjoy some of the driving as well.

Looks like we're going with the Peugeot from Sixt. Any input on "primary" rental car insurance from a credit card?

Posted by Denise
Lake Forest, CA, USA
1391 posts

Eric, two years ago when we rented from AutoEurope, I said that I would also like to drive--they were going to charge us extra for that convenience! I wasn't sure if I should have told them. It's not like I've never driven there (we lived there for 3 years). When you park your car in Eastern Europe, take a few precautions against theft. We hide everything that looks like we might be tourists (maps, tour books, etc). Then we buy a local newspaper and put that on the front seat. We always get a diesel car because the gas is cheaper and we get better gas mileage. I love the freedom of driving in Europe and I'm sure you and your friends will also. Have fun!

Posted by Eric
San Francisco
23 posts

Thanks Denise.

I was even considering packing a CLUB to deter theft while in Eastern Europe. I'm wondering if that might be counterproductive and draw unnecessary attention to our little rental.

I'm gonna buy those newspapers.

Posted by Eric
San Francisco
23 posts

Denise and Andreas.

Thanks for all of your input. I just realized one huge thing...my U.S. auto insurance with GEICO DOES NOT travel with me beyond the U.S. and Canada which means I would not have any liability insurance while driving over there. Looking into taking out an international liability or umbrella policy before we go over. Any suggestions?

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

Eric, Peugeot have just introduced a new and very effective feature against car theft: They're increased the size of their logo. OK, that's a joke. But don't worry too much. There is a reason why car rental companies give you a Ford, Opel, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, Toyota, Hyundai, Fiat, Kia etc. to go to Eastern European countries...

Posted by Andreas
Frankfurt am Main, Germany
2511 posts

Sixt.com's web rates include all necessary insurances as in Germany a certain car is insured and not, like in the US, a person. My car's insurance covers my car regardless of who's the driver (as long as that person holds a legal drivers license). If you rent directly with any German car rental agency or the German branch of an international one like Hertz, Avis or Europcar the insurances will be included automatically. Only if you go thru an American company they assume you wouldn't need insurance in Germany and therefore offer you a rate the doesn't include coverage.