Renting a Car on Vacation
Sometimes renting a car while on vacation is not a luxury – it’s an absolute necessity. It’s either that or you spend large chunks of your precious vacation time trying to navigate unreliable and unfamiliar public transport systems. Or you’re trying to reach places where public transit just can’t get you. Precious time you could spend sunning yourself on the beach. At the end of the day a rental car not only gives you more flexibility and allows you to visit areas that you would have otherwise missed. It lets you linger longer in special places.
What do I need to do when it comes to renting a car on vacation?
The initial decision you have to make is what kind of car you need? Is a small car adequate? Or do you need a large SUV for a family with a lot of luggage? Do you have time to organize this all yourself or should your travel agent book it for you?
Our advice to you is to book early. This will ensure that you’re getting the best deal at the best time. Being experts in their own field travel agents know who to contact have the right questions to ask and know where the best deals are. While all of this is being done for you you can go ahead and organize the rest of your trip. But then again with online access it is just as easy to get the same deals by yourself.
International Driving Licenses
There are many countries that require an International Driver Permit (IDP) as well as a current driver’s license to either drive a car or ride a motorbike while visiting. The CAA a travel agent or the embassy can provide specific information on international driver’s license requirements. Start this process early even a month or two in advance as processing the paperwork may take considerable time.
It is important that you check that you have the right insurance that covers you to drive the vehicle you are planning to use otherwise you may be left exposed in the event of any accidents or theft. Contacting your broker will help you understand what is required and the procedures to follow in order to obtain the necessary insurance. And speaking of insurance…
Car Rental Insurance
Insurance can be the most stressful part of renting a car on vacation – but also the most necessary. While no one intentionally gets in a car crash or has their rental car stolen unfortunately this can happen. And if you don’t have insurance coverage the car rental company may charge you a lot of money to cover the cost of repairs or replacement. Additionally many car rental companies try to push you to sign up for their rental insurance just in case something happens. While you should have insurance to protect yourself don’t automatically take what they offer you.
Be sure to read the fine print and understand exactly what is covered and what the deductible and other fees are. This is especially true if you’re in a foreign country.
Some credit cards also offer insurance for a rental car. Known as collision damage waiver it limits how much the rental company can claim from you for repairing damage to the rental car while you have it. Typically the waiver covers losses from theft as well but usually not bodily injury caused by an accident. Sometimes the insurance provided by your credit card may be sufficient for your needs or even better than what you’re being offered by the rental company. Just bear in mind that credit card insurance products are not created equal. Some offer better coverage than others – you can read more about credit card travel insurance here .
The best option is to use coverage already on your personal insurance. Check with your broker about putting rental car coverage on your personal policy and to see if you’re covered in the countries you’re planning on visiting. If so you won’t need to get the rental agency’s insurance coverage or rely on your credit card.
Choose your insurance wisely.
And don’t assume that having insurance whether from your credit card your personal insurance or from the rental company’s insurance absolves you from all financial obligations. Even when you have insurance you may be charged a very high deductible or other fees. Be sure to read the fine print and talk to your broker .
You also don’t want to automatically go for the insurance option with the lowest premium. That often means that your deductible will be higher when you need to make a claim and the coverage may be less.
Again bring your insurance broker into the conversation before you travel. He or she can help ensure that you have the right insurance that’s appropriate for your needs and budget. And they’ll organize all the necessary paperwork for you as well so you can concentrate on having a relaxing vacation.