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Car rental in Italy

Django

10+ Posts
Hello folks,

I saw the post by Andrew regarding car rental but did not want to hijack that thread. I am looking at getting a car rental from Padova- probably for just 2-3 days in September. I've never rented overseas. Probably will be looking at getting an automatic (I'm terrible with stick and do not want to risk it, even for the savings).

What tips do you have on car rentals? I'm not really fluent in Italian but I can get by on basic communication.

Should I get the maximum coverage? What lessons have you learned? It's only just for my mom and myself. I'm not looking to use a car for the whole trip.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
Check to see what coverage comes with your credit card before you decide what to add as part of your rental cost. You will need an International Drivers License (AAA provides them). Something new this year (Europcar) was having roadside assistance as an add-on daily charge rather than an included service.
 

Django

10+ Posts
Check to see what coverage comes with your credit card before you decide what to add as part of your rental cost. You will need an International Drivers License (AAA provides them). Something new this year (Europcar) was having roadside assistance as an add-on daily charge rather than an included service.
Hi Alpinista, you know you're correct about the credit card and coverage. I use my USAA Visa credit card when I need to do a rental stateside and I don't get extra coverage. But when it comes to international rentals I'm a little more hesitant. I mean, is it safer to just bite the bullet and pay for the rental car company's coverage?

I should mention that I was stationed in Italy a couple years ago when I was in the military, so I'm familiar with the roads. I know about the historic center traps (zona limitata), and I know better than to take the car into certain towns (e.g. Napoli).

I'll get that International Drivers license- I keep saying to myself to stop by the local AAA.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
But when it comes to international rentals I'm a little more hesitant. I mean, is it safer to just bite the bullet and pay for the rental car company's coverage?
We do not get extra coverage since the credit card we use is very generous with provided benefits. We had damage upon return last year (we think a valet parker at a hotel dinged a fender) and were fully reimbursed through the credit card (Chase VISA). It was a little bit of a pain getting all the documentation together since we weren't aware of the damage until turn-in, but it all turned out well. Might try calling your credit card company's help line to verify all the small print stuff in your contract.

We had a friend visiting this year who paid almost double what we were paying for a rental -- we get bare bones and she paid for everything from a GPS to all the insurance coverage to an extra driver. We always do the "return full" option since fuel off site is cheaper than the rental company charge.

We also get small cars for ease of parking when we're in town and for local driving (my wife's home area is marked by narrow, hilly roads) and find that even the little cars do OK on the autostrada. You might want something larger for comfort, but that's another expense item to factor in.

I'm not familiar with the airport in Padova, but anything you have to get priority service (on-line check-in prior to arrival, etc.), always helps with getting on the road.
 

joe

500+ Posts
You've received very useful advice from Alpinista, I'd add that full coverage (zero deductible) is indeed worth the added cost (which is usually not very significant). Not only does it give you peace of mind, it can save you time, which, as we all know, is a precious commodity on a holiday. Last time I returned a rental in Italy, I just handed over the keys at the desk - they didn't even request that I wait while they check the car, because they knew I had full coverage and that the tank was full.

Of course take a good look at the car when you take it out, take photos from all sides if you want to be completely sure about the state of the car when you took it.

I don't leave anything valuable - ever - in a rental, no matter where it is. Stuff like that is either on me, or with the hosts in the accommodation.

I've had to have an attendant park the rental in an underground parking once, because that was the procedure, and the only convenient parking place I could find. Nothing bad happened, and these people take care - but I was worried a bit, and I'd prefer in the future not to need a service like this.

And yes, an int'l license is a must.
 

NoSpin

10+ Posts
I agree with Alpinista's advice if you are renting for a week or two, but for 2 to 3 days rental I'd go with Joe's advice and just get the full insurance with NO deductible. ( I emphasize NO deductible, be careful because some collision coverage can still have a deductible of 800 to 5000 euros depending on the value of the vehicle). Read the fine print. ;)

Typically the insurance is a daily charge so it adds up over a couple weeks, but for 2 days it's not worth the aggravation if you have to file a claim.
 

GailS

100+ Posts
All good advice from others. I'd recommend AutoEurope which has no deductible rentals. Good pricing and they have been excellent with any issues we've had over many years with local companies. They are a broker for multiple agencies but will work with Europcar, Avis, Hertz, etc. locally for you.
 

Django

10+ Posts
Thank you everyone! Yes I plan to use AutoEurope. Good to know about the No deductible option. I wasn't sure what that meant when I was looking.

One quick question- are the rental contracts in english as well? Looking at either Hertz or Avis
 

joe

500+ Posts
Yes, you should always be able to get a contract in English, at least that is my experience in Italy.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
Just remembered that the Europcar desk also offered us a Telepass option as part of the contract this year for autostrada travel. We didn't take it and I need to do more research to see if it would be cost beneficial to have it.
 

Django

10+ Posts
Just remembered that the Europcar desk also offered us a Telepass option as part of the contract this year for autostrada travel. We didn't take it and I need to do more research to see if it would be cost beneficial to have it.
Just make sure to have cash on hand at all times and you should be fine.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
Just make sure to have cash on hand at all times and you should be fine.
We're spoiled by use of the EZPass in the US and are often jealous of the cars zipping by us at the autostrada toll booths when we are sitting in line and they are going through the Telepass lanes. We have bank accounts in Italy, but have never taken the step of getting an Italian credit card to tie the Telepass charges to. If the car rental Telepass option isn't prohibitively out of line for cost/benefit, we'd probably take that option next year.
 

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