It's important to understand Ireland car rental insurance before getting behind the wheel of your next rental vehicle. In Ireland, unlimited Third Party Liability Insurance is a legal requirement as included in the pre-paid price of all car rentals in Ireland. Third Party Liability Insurance protects you from liability resulting from property damage, injury, or death caused to anyone or anything outside of your rental car. In addition to Third Party Liability Insurance, Fire Insurance is included in all rental car rates with Auto Europe, which covers any damage caused to your rental car as a result of fire.
A Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) reduces the amount of the deductible (the amount the driver would be expected to pay if there was an accident) to a manageable amount, typically in-between €250 to €1500, down from the full value of the vehicle. Theft Protection (TP) reduces the deductible to a similar amount as CDW coverage, protecting you in the case of theft of the vehicle.
Most credit cards issued in the United States (especially Visa and American Express) no longer offer collision and theft insurance for rentals commencing in the Republic of Ireland. Very few credit cards with rental car insurance still offer collision and theft coverage, and it is up to you to confirm that you will be covered with your card processor. You need to pay for the rental with the credit card you're planning to receive coverage from in order to qualify for insurance coverage.
Most credit cards do not offer collision coverage in Ireland
If you have a credit card that offers collision and theft coverage in the Republic of Ireland, it's absolutely imperative that you provide written proof from your credit card company when you pick up your vehicle at the rental counter. If you fail to provide written proof, you will have to purchase insurance locally or decline all coverage and accept an authorization for the full value of the vehicle. If you decline coverage through the rental agency and opt for coverage with your eligible credit card, an authorization (typically around €1000) will be placed on your credit card.
Below is a chart with a brief guide to car rental insurance coverage by credit card --- call your credit card provider directly to clarify these coverages!
Visa cards do not offer coverage in Ireland, and only elite MasterCard's offer coverage. If you've only got a Visa card, you'll need to purchase a CDW, as well as Theft Protection through either Auto Europe or locally with your rental car supplier.
|Benefit||Visa ||MasterCard |
| Offered on|| All Cards||Gold, Platinum, World, World Elite |
|Rental Period||15 consecutive days domestically, 31 abroad|| 31 consecutive days|
| Vehicle Value||Unspecified|| Under $50,000|
|Includes||Theft/collision damage, loss of use||<-- Same|
|Excludes||Injury, property damage, taxes, damage to other vehicles, damage to tires||<-- Same|
|Drivers Covered||All authorized drivers ||<-- Same|
| Vehicles Excluded?||Exotic or antique cars, trucks, RV's, ATV's, motorcycles, certain vans||<-- Same|
| Excluded Countries|| Ireland, Northern Ireland, Israel, Jamaica||New Zealand, Australia, Costa Rica, Israel, Jamaica, Mexico, sometimes Italy and Germany |
| Excluded Vans/SUVs with More Than...|| 8 seats|| 10 seats|
| Max Coverage||Unspecified||$50,000 |
|Max Loss of Use||Unspecified ||$500|
|File Claim Within:|| 45 days||30 days |
Nearly all American Express cards do not offer car rental coverage in Ireland, so unless you have an American Express Centurion (invitation only, cardholders have an average income of ~1.3 million dollars per year) or similar, you'll need to purchase insurance through Auto Europe or your rental car supplier locally.
|Benefit || AmEx Basic|| AmEx Platinum|| AmEx Premium|
| Offered on||All Cards ||Platinum|| Any cardholder can purchase|
| Rental Period||30 days||<-- Same|| 42 days (30 in WA state)|
| Vehicle Value||Under $50,000 ||Under $75,000 ||Unspecified |
|Includes||Theft, collision damage ||Theft, collision damage, property damage and injury ||<-- Same|
|Excludes|| Diminished value, taxes, wear and tear|| <-- Same|| <-- Same|
| Drivers Covered|| All authorized drivers||<-- Same || <-- Same|
| Vehicles Exluded?||Exotic or antique cars, trucks, RV's, motorcycles, luxury vehicles valued at over $50,000 ||<-- Same || <-- Same|
| Excluded Countries||Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, New Zealand || <-- Same|| <-- Same|
|Excluded vans/SUVs with more than...|| 7 seats|| <-- Same||Unspecified|
|Max Car Coverage ||$50,000 ||$75,000 || $19.99 plan: $75,000|
|Max Loss of Use||Proprietary info || <-- Same|| <-- Same|
| File Claim within...|| 60 Days|| <-- Same||<-- Same|
|Source ||American Express ||American Express ||American Express |
The Discover Escape card does not offer rental car insurance in Ireland, and most rental suppliers in Ireland won't accept Discover cards
|Benefit ||Discover|| Discover Escape|
|Offered on ||Motiva, Miles, Open Roads, others ||Escape |
| Rental Period|| 31 days|| <-- Same|
| Vehicle Value||Under $50,000 ||<-- Same |
|Includes|| Collision only||Collision, theft, and towing |
|Excludes||Theft, any damage not due to collision, loss of use ||Diminished value, taxes, wear and tear |
| Drivers Covered|| All authorized drivers||<-- Same |
| Vehicles Excluded?||Exotic or antique cars, trucks, RV's, motorcycles, luxury vehicles valued at more than $50,000 ||<-- Same |
| Excluded Countries||Valid in any country that accepts Discover || Ireland, Israel, Jamaica, Australia, Italy, New Zealand|
|Exclusive vans/SUV's with more than... ||7 seats ||<-- Same |
| Max Coverage||$25,000||$50,000 |
| Max loss of use||N/A ||<-- Same |
|File Claim within...||90 days ||30 days|
You may be asking why having a credit card is necessary to rent a car, while there are some rental car suppliers that will allow you to rent with a debit card or cash, the reason a credit card is so useful in renting a vehicle is because it allows the supplier to place an authorization on your card; essentially serving as collateral until you return the vehicle. Under the unfortunate circumstance you return the vehicle damaged, the rental company will charge the authorization to cover the damages. The more insurance you have protecting your rental, the lower an authorization they will typically place. If you don't have a credit card, the rental supplier doesn't have a reliable way to hold you responsible for damages you may cause to the vehicle, so they require a hefty cash deposit, if they even allow you to rent without a credit card.
If you're looking for complete peace of mind while driving in Ireland, there are additional options for insurance that can reduce or completely eliminate your liability or financial risk. Most suppliers offer a Super CDW policy, which reduces your deductible to $0, and can be purchased for a daily fee (typically between €12 and €28 a day, depending on the vehicle). All suppliers offer Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), which provides medical coverage for you and other passengers in the vehicle in the case of an accident. Typically PAI is redundant if you're covered by your either your ordinary medical insurance while traveling abroad, or if you've purchased travel insurance. While you're not required to purchase additional insurance when renting a car in Ireland, it's definitely worth consideration as it can save headaches later on.
Be aware that if you are planning on taking advantage of coverage offered via credit card, there may be some restrictions that you could be unaware of, so make sure to check in with your respective credit card company, and request documentation stating all inclusions and exclusions. For example, credit card companies may exclude certain types of vehicles for car rental insurance coverage, such as: exotic cars, off-road vehicles, RV camper vans, large vans, and luxury vehicles. They also may limit the amount of coverage provided to a 30-45 day maximum, so for long-term car rentals rentals it is very important to purchase the appropriate insurance before heading out on the road. See the chart above detailing some examples of rental car insurance coverage offered by credit card companies.
Have further questions? Additional information about car rental insurance options in Ireland is available in the Ireland travel tips section of our website.