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Car Rental 2021

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I've spent a lot of time this morning online and on the phone, trying to find the best (of the worst!) car rental rates for our 63 day rental in Sept/Oct. Calling AE resulted in a lower rate than what I was seeing online - the agent said she would see if she could get me a better rate since we were long-time customers. The prices are insane this year, and the smaller (more affordable) cars are going fast. The agent told me they don't have any cars available to lease - what few they had are long gone.

I checked the AE site, both U.S. and Canadian, as well as Kemwell. Even though they're owned by the same people they still use different algorythms and the Kemwel site often has better rates. Today I found that the AE Canadian site had the best rate - partly due to the current value of the Canadian dollar. For a zero deductible, 63 day FCO-FCO rental I had been quoted US$3,978, but the CAN$4253 translated into US$3447 - so I went ahead and booked the zero deductible rate and now we'll have to drive ourselves back and forth between FCO and Umbria. The car is a Fiat Panda (can't wait to get that baby out on the A1!!!). It's in the "economy" category. If you move up ONE car size, to "compact" the price doubles!

We had hoped to rent from the Perugia airport, but the agent explained to me that with the shortage of cars this year the smaller locations are either closed or have very limited inventory. This was going to be the year I spluged and had a driver pick us up in Rome, but now that money's being used for the car rental. You know what they say about the best laid plans!
 

Anne

100+ Posts
My goodness, prices have gone up so much since last I rented in Italy a few years ago! Good to know AE Cda is still the best rate. I've always found that to be the case when I've rented. We had a Fiat Panda for three weeks in 2015, driving around Basilicata. We found it quite roomy for the two of us (me and my mom) and had lots of power, both on the highway and going up some very steep hills. Oh my gosh, 63 days in Italy....swoon!!

PS - you probably already know this, but in case not, keep an eye on AE prices even after booking...once I noticed they had a better sale a couple months after I'd booked but before our trip. I called them to see if they'd give me that rate instead and they refunded the difference, no question.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
What have you paid on previous trips? I’m interested to see how much the prices have gone up. Your price is about $55/day.

A Fiat Panda is a nice sized car.

Did you look into that local company that Cheryl recommended?
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
Last year (2020) I had gotten the BEST RATE EVER!!!! and was so excited - then we didn't get to go! Here are the rates for the last 3 years
  • 2018 - 78 days - 0 deductible - $2315
  • 2019 - 78 days - 0 deductible - $1482
  • 2020 - 76 days - 0 deductible - $964 (not used because of Covid)
And then,
  • 2021 - 63 days - 0 deductible - $3447
  • I could have gotten the €1000 deductible ($1200) for $3000. I decide that I was more comfortable knowing no matter how large or how small, everything is covered.
I must have missed the post from Cheryl - can you point me to it? But now I'm wondering if renting local covers me - insurance-wise - completely. I'm pretty sure our Capital One MC doesn't offer any coverage for a rental car in Italy, and even if they did their period of coverage only extends for 30? days.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
PS - you probably already know this, but in case not, keep an eye on AE prices even after booking...once I noticed they had a better sale a couple months after I'd booked but before our trip. I called them to see if they'd give me that rate instead and they refunded the difference, no question.
Yes, I learned that trick long ago! One year I had THREE price changes! I seriously doubt that will happen this year. Demand is too high and inventory is practically non-existant in some palces.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
 

Andrew

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I use www.autoslash.com to get quotes for rentals not requiring prepayment. For 17 days in Septmber, I get tax-inclusive quotes for Lancia Ypsilon or similar of $1059 from Avis with Costco membership, or $1090 from Budget with AARP. They direct to Priceline for booking, and $13/day can be added for zero-deductible insurance. Once you book, you can ask Autoslash to track it for price decreases. Before the insurance, it comes to about $64/day, compared to $31 for the rental that didn't happen for us in 2020. This is picking up at FCO, returning at Rome center. I searched for pickup in Perugia city and got higher quotes. It seems comparable or better than Auto Europe's zero-deductible quotes.

Pauline, is it this version of Panda you consider nice-sized?
Screen Shot 2021-06-20 at 11.02.23 AM.png
 

Steve R.

10+ Posts
You all probably know this, but the over 30 days insurance coverage is more problematic than most think. Credit card (& most other) coverage, as stated upthread, is only good for 30 days. But I found out years ago that any continuous rental for over 30 days negates the coverage completely & that the car is not insured even during the 1st 30 days if the contract is for more than that. I wound up making a series of 30 day rentals for the coverage I needed at the time but I was lucky and was staying in the same area and the rental company front line staff completely understood what I was doing and didnt create an issue with duplicating my rate each time.
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
I wound up making a series of 30 day rentals for the coverage I needed at the time but I was lucky and was staying in the same area and the rental company front line staff completely understood what I was doing and didnt create an issue with duplicating my rate each time.
I remember doing this once in Hawaii in the late 80s when we stayed there for 3 months. Every 30 days we had to start a new contract.

Something to think about for a longer rental and don’t trust the website rates. Read the contract details and talk to someone. Maybe leasing covers you on this.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I use www.autoslash.com to get quotes for rentals not requiring prepayment. For 17 days in Septmber, I get tax-inclusive quotes for Lancia Ypsilon or similar of $1059 from Avis with Costco membership, or $1090 from Budget with AARP. They direct to Priceline for booking, and $13/day can be added for zero-deductible insurance. Once you book, you can ask Autoslash to track it for price decreases. Before the insurance, it comes to about $64/day, compared to $31 for the rental that didn't happen for us in 2020. This is picking up at FCO, returning at Rome center. I searched for pickup in Perugia city and got higher quotes. It seems comparable or better than Auto Europe's zero-deductible quotes.

Pauline, is it this version of Panda you consider nice-sized?View attachment 30623
That's the same sized Panda shown for our rental, and it only listed 2 doors. the agent assured me it did have a hatchback, and now I'm thinking that they're are back doors - but very small ones. Anyone know for sure?
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
You all probably know this, but the over 30 days insurance coverage is more problematic than most think. Credit card (& most other) coverage, as stated upthread, is only good for 30 days. But I found out years ago that any continuous rental for over 30 days negates the coverage completely & that the car is not insured even during the 1st 30 days if the contract is for more than that. I wound up making a series of 30 day rentals for the coverage I needed at the time but I was lucky and was staying in the same area and the rental company front line staff completely understood what I was doing and didnt create an issue with duplicating my rate each time.
We had to do this when we stayed for longer - we leased a car but if you're picking up outside of France you have a shorter leasing period. We had to return the car to FCO and pick up a 'regular' rental for about 12 days.
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
Both AutoFrance and Renault were offering me fabulous deals on a lease vehicle, but unfortunately I think it is still too premature to go to Italy, or most of Europe. I'm afraid those deals will be gone when we do our 2022 trips.

When I have rented I never relied on credit card coverage because it is secondary insurance. You have to first claim on your home auto insurance and then the cc company will cover any balance. In Massachusetts you get charged extra for 6 years if you have an at fault accident. Even if an accident wasn't my fault, try proving that when the accident was in Italy!

I guess by European standards a Panda is spacious, but not by American. The other thing I hate about a car rental is they always read something like "Mercedes A Class or similar" and it turns out you get the "or similar", a Panda. :arghh:
 

Pauline

Forums Admin
That's the same sized Panda shown for our rental, and it only listed 2 doors. the agent assured me it did have a hatchback, and now I'm thinking that they're are back doors - but very small ones. Anyone know for sure?
I don't think there are back doors. At least not in that photo.
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
I was going to say I doubt it is a 4 door, but it might be. How's that for muddying the waters!
 

Andrew

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
The Chase Sapphire Preferred card, which these days has a great opening offer, has primary rental coverage. On various travel boards it's been hard to find reports of people making successful claims with it in Italy, but I've eventually seen some. Questions come up about how hard it is to work across the ocean to resolve a claim.
 

BryanS

100+ Posts
Yes, I think so. @Valerie and @BryanS had one for many years and we’ve ridden in the back and it was a good size.

The Fiat Panda has the been the best selling vehicle in Italy for many years considering it's size for driving in our cities and the decent power it has. There have been several versions and the one we have is a 2009, there is a newer, slightly larger, version that Andrew show in that photo. The Panda is a 4 door with hatchback and will seat 4 people. I can not comment on the newest version comfort/power as I have not driven or ridden in one of these versions.
 

artnbarb

1000+ Posts
I don't think there are back doors. At least not in that photo.
Sometimes on newer cars they have a smaller back door that doesn't have handles, and/or you have to have the front door open in order to open the back door, so that was my guess for the Panda in the photo. The size will be fine for our needs, as long as it does okay on the AI driving between FCO and Umbria.
 

Andrew

500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
I do a Google Images search for Fiat Panda 2021, and they all show back doors with similar handles to the front doors, with possible exceptions for stories about not-yet-released versions.
 

NoSpin

100+ Posts
Andrew, I looked up the Chase Sapphire Preferred card, and you are right their coverage is primary -

Coverage is primary and provides reimbursement up to the actual cash value of the vehicle for theft and collision damage for most rental cars in the U.S. and abroad.**

However, I then scanned down to look for the two ** at the end of the sentence -

** These benefits are available when you use your card. Restrictions, limitations and exclusions apply. Most benefits are underwritten by unaffiliated insurance companies who are solely responsible for the administration and claims. There are specific time limits and documentation requirements.

That doesn't exactly give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. :D
 

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