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There are several types of European insurance coverages. Third Party Liability takes care of damage done to anyone and anything outside of your rental vehicle. Fire covers the rental vehicle itself in the event of a mechanical fire. Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) covers damage done to your rental in the event of an accident and Theft Protection (TP) covers the loss of your rental if it should be stolen, less the deductibles.
Zero Deductible/Excess (ZE), Refundable Deductible/Excess (ZD) and Super Coverage are additional insurances that tie into collision and theft. They can negate or minimize deductibles associated with these insurances. A (ZE) rate means there are no applicable deductibles for (CDW) and (TP). A (ZD) rate is a refundable deductible, where you are still initially obligated for the deductible, but are optioned to receive a refund of the amount that you paid, up to what the initial deductible had been. (ZE) and (ZD) rates are pre-paid along with initial payment of your rental vehicle. Super Coverage can be added locally, and will typically be a per day charge. These are subject to availability between supplier, rental vehicle, and countries of travel.
Additional options you may also consider purchasing are Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) and Personal Effects Coverage (PEC). These will not only give you peace of mind, but will also take care of any medical expenses for injuries that happen inside your rental car, as well as covering personal belongings if they have been stolen. Sometimes it's extremely difficult to prove the value of items that were in the car when it was stolen, but if you are able to show receipts for these items the process is easier. The best practice is to take all valued items out of your rental anytime you are not in it.
Depending on your itinerary, you may also be required to purchase Travel Insurance from the supplier. This could be a lump sum, or a daily charge, that allows you to cross into specific countries in Eastern Europe.
Having collision and theft coverage are a necessity with any rental vehicle, it is a matter of how you apply the coverage. When renting a car with Auto Europe, clients are offered at least two rates for each vehicle in most locations: basic and inclusive. If you choose to go with a basic rate, third party liability and fire are included. Collision and Theft Protection are not included. This means that you are either planning to take the coverage locally at a higher cost plus additional conversion fees, or utilizing your credit card rental car insurance for the coverage. Clients are often able to use their credit cards for this coverage, but it is up to you to contact your credit card company to find out if they will cover your rental insurance in Europe. If your credit card provider will cover it, you will need to make sure you use that card to pay for your rental in advance, and present it to agents at the rental counter when you're picking up your vehicle. Credit card issued car insurance can vary from country to country, so check with your bank before you leave to be sure of your coverage.
An inclusive rate will include the Third Party Liability, Fire, Collision and Theft built in as part of the rental cost. When opting for an inclusive rate, make sure you are aware of the deductible amounts. These can be rather high in some locations. An Auto Europe reservationist can let you know if there is additional coverage that can be purchased at the counter that will lower the deductible as well.
Knowing the laws of the countries of travel in regards to insurance is very important. If you rent a car in Italy, for instance, it is mandated by the Italian government that all rentals come with a non-negotiable minimum of an inclusive rate. To rent a car in Ireland there are very few credit card companies that will provide you with (CDW) and (TP) these days. If you do happen to have one of the rare cards that will cover it, you must bring written proof of such to avoid being charged for the insurance locally.
If you are involved in an accident, no matter how minor, a valid police report is always required. Contact local authorities and then contact the number on your rental car keychain. We also recommend you document any damage with a digital camera if one is available. Be aware of what you are liable for by thoroughly inspecting and understanding your car rental voucher before you leave. Please do not hesitate to call Auto Europe toll-free at 1-888-223-5555 with any questions that should arise before, during or after your trip! We are here to help you with all your car rental and travel needs.