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Rental Car/Theft

We are renting a car for 2 days in Nice in late May. We will only use it for our day trips so I am not worried about luggage being stolen. What concerns me is the car itself, even though we purchased insurance.

Is there any identifying information on the car that says it’s a rental, like what we have here in the states, license plate plaques or stickers?

I was reading some of the other posts and it was recommended to spread newspaper inside the car.

Are there any other recommendations?

Posted by
597 posts

Is this some sort of April Fool joke. France in general, and Nice in particular, is full of cars, some old and some new. Many will be hire cars, which can usually be identified fairly easily. Others will be cars from elsewhere in Europe, Mercedes from German, Alfa Romeos from Italy, and Volvos from Sweden. Nice is an up-market sort of place, so mnay of these cars will be expensive. Every day, some of these cars will be stolen, or will be broken into. Most hire cars will be ordinary in appearance, and not particularly susceptible to theft. Thieves are not looking for hire cars used by Americans, and a new car with lots of newspapers strewn inside will just look odd. In fact, it might be taken as an indication that it is being driven by some neurotic American, and a bit of a joke.

Posted by
658 posts

Make sure you have full theft protection insurance before you drive away. Then make sure you leave nothing on view in the car when you park.. The idea of spreading a local newspaper across the seats is an urban myth that has been around for years, it’s not going to be stopped now. It is of course pure horse feathers. Most European countries do not have special markings for hire cars, but some do ( mostly the small islands where theft is almost unheard of ). Ask before you rent. Carry the phone number of your rental company at all times so that if the car is stolen they can get a replacement to you swiftly. Renting from a major international hire company can often prove beneficial if you need to make an insurance claim for lost belongings. They have more experience and often can pass your case notes to a US office to be completed when you are back home.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks Al, I have made a reservations with Auto Europe. They seem to be a reputable company, I havent read any bad reviews on them. Do you know if there is certain type of car that is popular among theives? I just don't think that theives steal cars like they do here in the states, so most of the theft must be breaking into the car, right?

Posted by
505 posts

People steal cars and steal things from within cars and vandalize cars everywhere in the world. Someone places are worse that others. So, it's just a matter of having proper insurance and taking practical precautions - i.e. lock your doors, don't leave valuables visible, parking in reputable garage if street parking is poorly lit etc. Make sure you read the information you get when renting, and if you are unsure of anything, make sure you get it explained. I think that company is a 'middleman' for other rental companies, so you need to be sure that you are getting what was agreed upon initially.

Posted by
658 posts

Hi Maricela - most car theives simply break a car window, grab something valuable and ride off on a scooter or if they don't have a scooter they run. It's not a subtle crime. So the answer is to leave nothing where they can see it. That way they just walk past your car and on to the next. In my experience most car theives do not have high IQs.

Posted by
112 posts

Hi Maricela,
We have driven all over Europe, western and
Eastern and have had only one problem. We
parked in a large parking lot in Luxemborg and
opened our trunk to get our jackets and when
we came back someone had tried to open the
door thru the keyhole and turned off our whole
system and we had to go thru the trunk to get
into the car
They were watching us from a far and there
were other breakins that day, too. We had
to make a police report and then picked up
another car right away..
We always use AutoEurope. We always pay in full
before hand because we are charged in $$'s and
there is no surprises at the end.
You can also drop the car off early, if need be,
and they will refund your money.
They also cover 3rd parties and the other car
which your CC does not cover.

If something happens and it does get stolen,
they will replace it.
Dont't worry, enjoy your trip.

Posted by
25 posts

Thank you so much for the advice Juli.

I have made reservations and paid for my car through Autoeurope. Do you purchase the "No Insurance Excess"?

Posted by
2042 posts

A few thoughts.
1. If you take AutoEurope's insurance your credit card insurance will not cover you. My CC does not have a deductible on some things, Auto Europe does. Check and discuss with your CC company. I have decided for my upcoming trip to Croatia it's better to let my Platnium USAA MasterCard cover the car then Auto Europe.

  1. Look at the car. I rented one in Mexico a few years ago that that had "National" stickers on the front and rear bumpers. Those stickers came off!!!!

  2. Use common sense. I have driven in Spain, France and Italy. I have left luggage in the car overnight. So far so good, but I do try to leave the car in a secured garage at night.