Confused about Car Rental Insurance

Hi all. I am a bit confused regarding the appropriate insurance to purchase when renting a car in Europe. We are renting a car in Lourdes, Paris and dropping it off at Barcelona, Spain. We have chosen to go with Hertz. The confirmation email we received indicates that our rental charge will cover collision damage waiver and theft protection. It does not, however, cover personal accident insurance/personal effects coverage. In additiom, we have purchased a comprehensive travel insurance through Travel Insured. One of the benefits is Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expense. Now, here are my questions: 1. What does theft protection cover? 2. Do we need to purchase a separate personal accident insurance/personal effects coverage even if we already have a comprehensive travel insurance?
3. How about in situations that involve damage to a third party? Do we need to purchase an insurance to protect us from that? Truly appreciate receiving information on these things. It really is confusing! Vicki

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
21493 posts

vicki, You may want to contact regarding the car insurance questions. They also offer a downloadable Car Rental Guide on their website. Two questions - is the rental agency charging a high fee for renting in one country and dropping off in another? Also, are you planning to pack along a GPS / Satnav unit along with some good maps such as Michelin? Based on your comments, the vehicle insurance covers damage and theft of the vehicle. It likely won't cover glass or undercarriage damage, so it would be a good idea to clarify that and the "third party" coverage at the time you pick up the car. The rental policy WON'T cover medical costs if you're involved in an "incident", nor will it probably cover someone nicking all your luggage (ie: personal effects) from the car while it's parked somewhere. I'd suggest contacting the agent that sold you the "comprehensive travel insurance" to get a CLEAR explanation of exactly what that policy covers. I don't believe an I.D.P. is compulsory in either France or Spain, although it might be a good idea to have one. The compulsory equipment in rental cars may differ between the two countries. I believe France requires Breathalyzers now. It might be a good idea to ensure that you have the items required in Spain such as two reflective triangles and a reflective Vest (must be carried in the passenger compartment). Also note that if you're fined for any driving infractions, fines may be collected on the spot! Good luck!

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
8339 posts

Your liability insurance is part of the cost of your rental, so no need for an extra policy for that. Travel Insured should be able to tell you exactly what is covered in your policy. Didn't you receive a copy? You need to be familiar with what it covers and how to access the benefits should you need them. I believe an International Driver Permit is required in Spain - and even if it wasn't, do you really want to not have a translation of your license if you need it?

Posted by vicki
15 posts

Tom, thank you for recommending the article. It helped me understand all the different insurance coverage needed in renting a car in Europe. Ken, yes we will be paying a drop fee but we used my husaband's company rate to book the rentals so we got it at a relatively discounted rate (the same goes for the CDW and theft protection). We will be bringing along our Garmin GPS that will have downloaded maps of Europe in it. We are also looking at the viaMichelin site for our route from Lourdes, France to Madrid, Spain. We do plan to apply for an IDP and bring that with us along with our US drivers licence. Thank you for reminding us about the compulsary equipment. Nancy, I do have our travel insurance policy and benefits. I just checked the policy and I think we are covered for both personal accident and personal effects but I will call Travel Insured to confirm this. Thank you again for all your help!

Posted by Terry
Waddell, AZ, USA
2 posts

Vicki, Ken (above) commented on (out of WA state) as a source for rentals. I also use them every year for renting cars in Europe. Last year I was in Ireland, and they asked if I had a World MasterCard, the rare CC that covers the collision damage waiver cost in that country, though you need to contact MC and have them send you an authorization letter to take along (only Ireland, not Continental Europe). I always cover the insurance via my CC. If you paid for the insurance already, I personally would cancel that rental with Hertz and contact gemut. They consistently have a better rate by far, especially out of Germany, but still great in other countries. Best of luck to you! Terry

Posted by vicki
15 posts

Thanks, Terry. I will definitely check the website recommended by Ken.