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Renting A Car Abroad, From A as Insurance To Z as Zen.

Whether you want to cheap rent a car  a convertible Mustang to roll hair in the wind listening to AC / DC thoroughly balloons, or that we need a mini-van to cross several cities with family, the car rental abroad can be a great asset for your trip. How to do it ? What points require your full attention? Between driving license and insurance, you will find answers to your questions here.

Driving license: French or international?

Flash Info : you must have a driving license. No car rental company, whatever the country, will accept to give you one of his cars if you do not have the sesame.

Obviously, you must distinguish two types of destination: destinations within the European Union, and destinations outside the European Union.

Are you going on a road trip in one or more EU countries? Fantastic ! Your French driving license is sufficient for renting a cheap car rental Small trap : if all the driving licenses issued by the European countries are mutually recognized, this is NOT valid for provisional certificates (ex: driving license examination certificate, receipt of declaration of loss / theft of your license).

Do you intend to burn rubber on the roads of one or more non-EU countries? Fantastic too: most countries accept the French driving license for tourist stays (between 3 months and one year). But not all host countries have this recognition principle. How to know ? Visit the website of France Diplomatie to check according to your place of destination. Sometimes you will need an international driver’s license.

→ The request for an international driving license can be made before departure to the prefecture, sub-prefecture or to the town hall. It will be valid for 3 years and must always be accompanied by the French license. The essential elements of the process are listed here .

Did you know ? Some countries do not recognize national permits or international permits, and require a driving license that can only be obtained locally.

In any case, remember to consult the foreign rules on road safety and driving: speed limits, signs and driving on the left are essential details on site. Concise and indispensable, here are the sites that may interest you for Europe for example:

The rules of road safety in Europe

Infringements of the highway code in the European Union

Detailed sheets for each European country

Did you know ? Germany imposes a minimum speed on the motorway: formal prohibition to drive below 60 km / h because it is considered too dangerous (especially when we know that on certain parts of the road, the speed is unlimited – or say, recommended at 130 km / h).

Important : Regardless of the country where you decide to rent a car, the passport – or the EU identity card – will be mandatory. Less essential, but usually required by the lessor: the credit card , which is used at least to deposit the deposit, and must be in the name of the person who leases the gear.

Where to rent a car?

Several possibilities are available to you – knowing that on Internet, comparatives will be easier and quick to make, do not hesitate to consult the sites of the hirers.

Choice n ° 1: The rental via an international renter . “International renter” does not necessarily mean “best renter of the market” but they have the merit of having a reliable booking system, or preferential rates with your EC or other body. Then you can compare the offers among, for example, those of  Sixt ,  easyCar , Alamo , Hertz ,  Avis , Enterprise , etc.

Choice n ° 2: The rental via a small independent landlord . Family business or other, the small independent rental company can offer interesting commercial offers. These rates are often better because the cars are less “new” say, a big renter. Find out about the reputation of the renter (thank you Internet!), The means of payment accepted, the language spoken, and the conditions required to rent a car (age, age of the license …).

Choice n ° 3: The hiring via a broker . A broker is an intermediary who will buy rentals in lots to rental companies and sells them at a negotiated price. This is a good intermediate solution that allows you to have a good vehicle at a better price. For example,  Autoescape is a broker that offers car rentals in nearly 9,000 destinations.

Important : Comparing offers between different car rental companies is essential, but remaining vigilant on the terms of the contract is essential before booking: what are the fees? what about mileage (unlimited or not)? is there 24 hour support? and especially what are the insurance included in the contract?

Focus on insurance

As you know, insurance is our hobby. Why is it so important?

Sometimes, the reflex can be to fly over the conditions of his insurance (at worst) or to refuse any additional insurance of the car renter (at best). However, having an accident with a rented car can cost more than the entire trip. Some facts:

The contract signed with the lessor provides only minimal protection. The liability (= the damage or injury we might cause to others) is required to support the said contract.

Do not blow too fast: the franchises are then very high (between 2500 and 10000 euros, regardless of the category of your car).

We therefore have the option of lowering the price of these franchises by purchasing optional supplementary insurance. What are they ? The most important ones :

PAI (Personal Accident Insurance) or PI (Personal Insurance) is a complementary guarantee for the driver and passengers. It is an insurance that compensates for a flat rate – because it is always flat rate – non-intentional bodily injury – because if you hit the driver because he changed the disc of Lady GaGa, it does not work – suffered by the renter and the passengers during the period of validity of the rental agreement.

CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) is a guarantee of damage: this insurance reduces the deductible in case of damage to the vehicle.

TP (Theft Protection) or TPC (Theft Protection Collision) or TW (Theft Waiver) is a guarantee against theft. This insurance reduces the deductible in case of theft of the vehicle.

→ For more definitions on the vocabulary of rental contracts, this little guide is well done !

Note : you generally have a period of 5 days maximum to declare the accident with the lessor (so that he can in turn notify his insurer). Of course, fines and other damages caused for non-compliance with the Highway Code are not subject to any insurance.

Good to know : Supplementary insurance may differ depending on the country and the risks of the road. In Iceland for example, the additional insurance “gravel” is almost indispensable: it covers the material damage caused by the chips of gravel (crack of the windshield, scratches on the bodywork). In France, this insurance would seem superfluous, but on the island, the gravel roads are very numerous!

Important : The return of the vehicle is a step not to neglect in the car rental: 1) Remember to  do the inventory with the owner before departure, and do not hesitate to point the finger at least the thing that you  appears abnormal 2) Fill the tank before returning the vehicle and  go around the vehicle with the renter 3) Keep all the documents in case of subsequent dispute.

As a bonus, the most asked question on the Internet: ” Can I rent a car at one place, and drop it to another? ”

→  Yes . Depending on the distance between the two cities, the price will be higher or lower. Beyond 500 kms, it usually costs candy (sometimes double the rental per week). Make sure you understand the conditions of the contract. You can also cross borders with a car rental BUT you will have to report it to the renter and check the entry requirements in the other countries you want to cross.

You can now start on the run!

And as a plus-plus bonus, if yu really do not want to bother with details:

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