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    Glossary of Car Rental Terms

    We have a compiled this glossary of common terms used on our site. These should help you understand what is involved with your international car rental from Auto Europe. If you have a question that is not addressed here or in our FAQs, please contact us and we will be glad to help you.

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z



    Airport Surcharge

    A fee that is paid for picking up at the airport. This can be a flat fee or a percentage of the total rental charge depending on country and supplier. Make sure to ask your reservation agent about the airport surcharge and there may be a way to avoid it by picking up at a convenient location in town. Also note that if you avoid the fee by picking up in town you can still drop at the airport for no additional cost.

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    Basic Rate / Inclusive Rate

    The two types of rates are Basic (meaning that you are opting to use your credit card for insurance coverage) and Inclusive (the insurance is being supplied by the rental company). In some countries it is mandatory to take the inclusive rate due to the lack of support by credit cards or high risk locations.

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    CDW (Collision Damage Waiver)

    A provision in a car rental contract in which the rental company charges an extra fee to the renter and in turn agrees to waive its right to recoup losses due to damage inflicted upon the vehicle. Most of the time these policies come with a non-waiverable deductible, which can often also be reduced by purchasing Super CDW, or zero excess insurance. Collision damage waivers usually do not cover windows, tires, roof, undercarriage, interior, side mirrors, incidents that occur while on a ferry or damage due to vandalism or acts of nature. Many US and Canadian credit cards will cover this policy up to 30 and 45 days, respectively. Also known as LDW (Loss Damage Waiver)

    Child Seat

    Most countries in Europe require that children under a certain age be secured in a child seat. These can be reserved in advance from the rental agency. Depending upon age and/or weight, a particular front or rear facing seat will be appropriated. Please note that as child seats are additional equipment they are considered on request until confirmed by the supplier. To find out the requirements for child seats, please visit our car rental guides as it varies according to the country you pick up in.

    Covered Hatch

    In lieu of an enclosed trunk, some smaller vehicles have a hatchback luggage compartment with a shade or board that can be pulled over the luggage in order to shield it from view. You will usually find these in economy and compact vehicles, and sometimes in the intermediate class as well.

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    Some rental companies will, for an extra fee, deliver or collect a vehicle from a port office or hotel. This fee is usually calculated based on the distance from the rental location. All deliveries and collections are considered on request.

    Driver Profile Form

    In the case that special arrangements need to be made, such as a hotel delivery or after hours pick up, a driver profile form must be filled out in order to expedite the pick-up process as much as possible. This allows the majority of the paperwork to be filled out prior to arrival.

    Drop Box

    Most metropolitan rental locations have an after hours drop box, which will allow a renter to return their vehicle when an office is closed, after parking it in a spot designated by the rental company. If you should need to use a drop box at the end of your rental, please notify your reservations agent or the rental counter before you pick up your rental car, so they can properly inform you of the process.

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    EU (European Union)

    The European Union is a collective of twenty five nations brought together over the last decade to further political and economic communication within the boundaries of the world's smallest, yet most diverse continent. Most of these countries have adopted the Euro as their currency. Recent additions include Greek Cyprus, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta and Poland. Most car rental companies disallow or charge a fee for entrance into countries east of Germany and Italy.

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    Full Prepay

    Some suppliers require that a payment be made in full regarding your rental rate in order to confirm the vehicle. As with all our rates it is fully refundable in the event that you need to cancel. Any local taxes or surcharges are still paid directly to the supplier at time of pick up.

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    Grace Period

    The amount of time after the 24-hour period that you are allowed to bring your car rental back to the rental agency without being charged for an extra day. Most car rental companies will allow at least 30 minutes. Check with your supplier once you reach the rental counter as it varies by company.

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    IDL (International Driving License)

    A reprinting of your US or Canadian license into several different languages, intended to expedite the process of dealing with authorities in the event that you are pulled over. You are required in some countries at the rental counter to have one, including but not limited to Austria, Greece and Poland. In some countries such as Spain and Italy you can be fined up to 200 Euro on the spot if you are pulled over and do not have one. They cost between 15 and 20 US dollars and can be purchased through your local AAA or CAA or online from the National Automobile Club.

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    A location that is subcontracted to another business that is allowed to use the supplier franchise name. They are typically smaller locations with only a single agent available at times.


    A type of insurance that covers the renter of a vehicle in the event that damage or bodily harm is inflicted to persons or property outside of the rental vehicle. Most liability insurances are rendered void in the case of driver negligence, such as operating under the influence.

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    No Show Fee

    Some higher end vehicles and vans have a no show fee if they are not cancelled within 24 hours of pick up and nobody arrives to collect them. Essentially, while the price of the rental can be refunded, the no show fee can range from 20 to 200 dollars. Make sure to read your terms and conditions on your voucher to find out if your rental car has a no show fee.

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    On Request

    Some special services and last minute reservations are considered "on request" meaning that they have to be confirmed manually by an operations agent. While a credit card is necessary to request these types of vehicles, the client is not charged until the rental is confirmed. You will be notified if the vehicle you have chosen is on request. All vehicles reserved within 48 hours of pick up are considered on request.

    One Ways

    When a rental car is dropped of at a location that differs from its origin, this is called a one way. The two types of one ways include domestic (within a country) and international (outside of country). While many domestic one ways are free of charge, there is almost always a fee for doing an international one way. Some rental cars are not allowed on one ways. If you are taking your car rental on a one way, you will be notified if there is an incurred fee.

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    PAI (Personal Accident Insurance)

    Covers the driver and sometimes passengers in the event of bodily harm to themselves while inside the vehicle, up to a predetermined amount. This can be purchased, based upon the supplier, at time of pick up.

    Partial Prepay

    Some suppliers require that only a deposit be put down instead of the full amount in order to confirm your vehicle. This deposit is fully refundable in the event that you need to cancel. The balance is then paid directly to the supplier at the delivery of the vehicle along with any local taxes or surcharges.

    PEC - Personal Effects Coverage

    Covers the belongings in a persons vehicle in the event that they are stolen or destroyed, up to a predetermined amount. This can also be purchased, based on the supplier, at time of pick up, although in most cases PAI must be purchased first.

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    Rental Agreement

    The contract that is signed by the renter once the rental counter is reached. Typically this contract is in both English and the native language of the country and deals with requisites such as insurance coverage, dates, car size and type, etc. Please note that your voucher is not a rental agreement.

    Rental Period

    The time frame for which you are responsible for the rental car. These periods are designated in 24 hour increments and Auto Europe has a 3 day minimum rental period in most cases. Often times there is no difference in price between 5, 6 and 7 day rental periods.

    Road Tax / Vehicle License Fee

    In Europe, cars are taxed when registered in an effort to raise money to restore and maintain the roads in the country in question. They are also taxed a fee to license the vehicle to others. The rental companies therefore pass these taxes to the renter in small portions to eventually recoup the fees they pay on the vehicles.

    Roadside Assistance

    Rental companies almost always include a 24-hour breakdown and towing service in case your car becomes undrivable during a rental. The phone number for roadside assistance is usually either in the glovebox or on your keychain.

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    Security Deposit

    The amount of money blocked on a credit card during a rental in regards to the deductible on insurance as well as a full tank of gas and car keys. This block is released provided the car is returned in the same condition it was rented in, with the same amount of gas and the keys intact.

    Short Term Lease

    Also known as the "buyback program". If you are planning on needing a car for more than 17 days, have a US or Canadian passport and live outside the EU, then a short term Peugeot lease might suit you better than a normal rental. The cars are brand new, with little to no mileage on them, include zero excess insurance, fewer restrictions on the countries where you can take them, and are typically cheaper once you get closer to having it for a full month. You can learn more about leasing at our buyback lease page.

    SIPP Codes (Standard Interline Passenger Procedures)

    The industry standard for determining the kind of car that is being rented. They comprise of 4 letters that designate size, type, transmission and a/c, respectively. A quick description can be found below:

    First Letter:
    Car Size
    Second Letter:
    Car Type
    Third Letter:
    Fourth Letter:
    M - Mini B - 2-door A - Automatic N - No A/C
    E - Economy C - 2/4-door M - Manual R - Has A/C
    C - Compact D - 4-door
    I - Intermediate F - Four Wheel Drive
    S - Standard K - Truck
    F - Full Size T - Convertible
    P - Premium W - Wagon
    L - Luxury X - Special
    S - Special


    The company that a consolidator places you with to initiate your car rental. Auto Europe is one such consolidator and uses many of the major European car rental companies to get you the best price based on factors such as time frame, car type and location.

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    Theft Protection

    Insurance that covers the renter in the event that the vehicle is stolen. In most cases in order for a policy to become active a police report must be filed within 24 hours of theft and the rental company notified. This type of coverage does not cover belongings inside the vehicle. Many US and Canadian credit cards will also provide this type of coverage for overseas rentals along with CDW.


    The act of a chauffeur transporting passengers from one place to another. This is another service that Auto Europe provides to its customers and more can be learned about it by visiting our transfer and chauffeur pages.

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    Auto Europe may sometimes have a promotion running where you are eligible for a guaranteed one car class upgrade for the normal price. For example, in the case where you reserve a compact size vehicle, you may be eligible for an intermediate class instead. To learn more about upgrades, check out our specials page. There may be an upgrade in your country of travel running right now!

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    VAT-Value Added Tax

    Ranging anywhere from 7.6% to 25% depending on the country you are picking up the rental car in, value added tax is much like sales tax here in the United States. While it is a common misconception that you can get refunded for value added tax after returning from Europe, this does not apply to car rentals since it is a service and not goods.


    A voucher is essentially a faxed or e-mailed description of your rental details. Your voucher acts as an indication that payment has been made in order to confirm your vehicle. Note that there are two different types of vouchers: Quotation (not paid or confirmed) and Confirmation (paid and confirmed). Please be advised that your voucher is not a rental agreement which still needs to be signed at the counter upon arrival, and is subject to local laws. Make sure to check your voucher in order to determine whether it is confirmed for picking up your rental car.

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    A term used mostly at airport and rail station locations meaning that you are not arriving by plane or train, so there is no need to meet you at a corresponding gate.

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