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Need the low down - and I mean best option for car rental at FLR


10+ Posts
Ok - so I have been agonizing over car rental options at Florence Airport. I will be arriving by train to SMN and then heading up to airport on the tram and hit the rental car desk in the terminal at Portale airport. Going to Panzano again for a visit for a week - want a car to travel in the hill country and beyond.
To be honest I have no idea what I am looking at and what is the bare minimum in terms of making sure that I am paying for what I need in terms of car rental. I rented a car 15 years ago at FCO and what I experienced was nothing short of confusion and I don't want to go through that again. So I need help from the jump on what to do - what to pay for esp in terms of insurance - what type of car for the Tuscan hill country would be good and how can I make sure I am getting a diesel in lieu of a more expensive gasoline car?
So far this is what I am seeing......
I have looked at individual websites i.e. Budget, Avis etc for rental rates and at Auto Europe - From what I see Auto Europe is a good option - the thing that confuses me is the insurance issues associated with booking directly via say Budget vs. going with Auto Europe. The costs between the two options are not at all clear to me - and I am wondering too about the deductibles and how these are calculated as it seems there is no information. I have read previous posts and there is discussion about deductibles being picked up by your bank and / or Credit card - what is that about?
Any very basic information on what direction I should take and questions to ask for a one week rental would be great.
Thanks in advance.
Non posso aspettare a ritornare a Italia in Settembre.
Rea J


100+ Posts
Do you mean Peretola airport just outside Florence? If so, the auto rental agencies are not at the airport terminal...they are offsite. From the airport, you take a shuttle to the rental car site. It maybe easier for you to take a taxi from SMN directly to the rental car lot and bypass going to the airport.


500+ Posts
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On the Auto Europe site, you can select under Coverage Options "No Deductible." That increases the price but many people like it for peace of mind. Credit cards offer coverage, in particular the Chase Sapphire cards are good for primary coverage, and some people have reported successful claims with it in Italy, but it can be a pain to document everything between continents.

Searching random dates in September, I see a big jump in prices between Economy and Compact; I'm tempted to say that Economy would be o.k. for one person not going big distances. I'm not sure that you can be guaranteed a diesel, but you can ask.

Note that picking up at an airport adds a surcharge; you can compare how it would be to pick up at one of the offices downtown on Borgo Ognissanti, although the city driving could be a worry.


1000+ Posts
... and how can I make sure I am getting a diesel in lieu of a more expensive gasoline car?

If you are talking about the difference in the costs of fuel only, then if I am not mistaken, the difference is pretty insignificant : according to this site, the price of both diesel and octane-95 gasoline in Italy was around $1.9 last week.

And about insurance - I find that for a small car you can usually find a deal from a reliable company in which the "zero-deductible" option is not that expensive, and as Andrew mentioned, this added cost is worth the peace of mind. Whatever happens, you're covered, with no delays or problems when returning the car.
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500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
There's an Italian government page with fuel prices here; as I understand Euro-Super 95 is standard unleaded gasoline, and "Automotive gas oil" is diesel, and indeed they're close. I'm not sure how they compare in how far a liter takes you.


Forums Admin
I find the insurance stuff confusing too. I usually book through AutoEurope and they spell out all the details. If it is not clear, phone them. When you pick up your car, if you have all the insurance you need from AutoEurope, don’t let them sell you more. They seem to do this more now than they used to. I had one place tell me that windows and the underneath are not covered even with full insurance. Check with AutoEurope about that.

For size I always get a VW Golf equivalent size which I think is compact, but lots of people go for the smaller economy size.


10+ Posts
So all - thank you for clarifying a number of issues I have been concerned about.
One thing that I have decided to do after talking directly with Auto Europe ( who by the way are very informative and helpful) is I am going to rent a car in Lugano Switzerland for my few days there visiting old friends and then drive down to Tuscany - I calculated the cost of car at FLR airport in addition to the costs of train and / or air travel to / from Florence to Zurich and frankly it is cheaper to keep the car for the full ten days and just drive it. The time lines as well on train or plane are rather onerous from the jump. Auto Europe notes there is NO issue going from Switzerland to Italy and back - My credit card covers damage etc to the car should it happen and even with the hassle of paperwork etc. the difference in cost for no deductible vs just basic insurance doesn't justify the cost.
Pauline - you are correct on size of car - the VW that I was quoted is perfect for what I need.
I am going to work through Auto Europe as they are available 24/7 and have been very clear on what to expect in renting a car in Europe.
Thanks again -
I know why I come here when getting ready to travel - the on the ground wisdom is invaluable.
Rea J.


500+ Posts
Contest 2019 Winner!
In case it's useful, at www.viamichelin.com you can get an estimate of the driving costs (fuel and tolls) for a trip. For a drive from Lugano to Panzano, they include "tax disk," I guess the Swiss autostrada sticker, which would probably already be on a Swiss rental car.


100+ Posts
My credit card covers damage etc to the car should it happen
If you have insurance on your personal vehicle, be sure that the credit card insurance is PRIMARY insurance and not SECONDARY. I believe most cards provide secondary insurance which means you have to first file a claim with your personal car insurance company, and then the credit card will cover whatever the other insurance does not, which usually would be any deductible.

I have a credit card from Chase (not Sapphire), two from B of A, and AMEX Platinum. None of them provide primary coverage. The AMEX card however charges only $25 per rental for primary coverage. So I only use this card for rentals.

In April I had a rental in France and used the AMEX card. In my state of Massachusetts if you have an at fault accident there is a surcharge to your insurance for the next 6 years. I can just imagine having an accident in France and trying to convince my insurance company that I was not at fault.

One good thing if you do not have a personal car, a card like my B of A Premium Rewards will give you full coverage even though it is secondary for people like me with car insurance.

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