Make sure you know what's in your Europe car rental contract

Next time you rent a car in Europe the contract you sign might be a bit different than in the past. Initialing boxes to indicate whether or not you want additional insurance coverage is now mostly a thing of the past. These days you simply affix your signature at the end of the contract. It is up to each renter to determine if it includes unwanted charges, such as expensive, un-needed insurance. More than ever, the onus is on the renter.

Some of the new contracts are a plus for renters, as they have scrapped industry jargon in favor of plain words such as insurance instead of CDW, SCDW, TP, and PAI. In addition, contracts are currently offered in several languages, including English. In some cases the insurance charges are enumerated and spelled out in straightforward English.

Of course, you'll also be agreeing to the following clause: If the charges under this rental contract are paid by credit card, the cardholder's signature shall be regarded as authorization to debit the total amount to his/her account with the credit card company. This authorization shall also be valid for subsequent debits due to rental rate corrections, damage events including any corresponding towing fees, and traffic offenses. Of course if you've booked with rental rate corrections are not a factor as you have a guaranteed U.S. dollar rate.

Four Cautions

  • By all means rely on your credit card for CDW (collision) and theft insurance.
  • Don't let anyone tell you have to buy CDW and theft insurance (except in Italy and Ireland).
  • Insist on a copy of the contract in a language you speak and read.
  • Read the contract yourself, don't take the agent's word for what's in it.

Book your rental car in Europe with Gemütlichkeit's travel department and get the best rates, personalized, knowledgeable service and our unique at-the-rental-counter safety net that ensures our customers get what they are promised. We book with all the major companies in more than 35 countries. If you have questions about rentals in Europe, or simply prefer to deal in-person, phone us at 800-521-6722.