I did a lot of research on international car rentals recently for a trip to Scotland, and although this has nothing to do with peer-to-peer travel services, I am summing it up here in case this is useful for other travelers reading my website. My findings are focused on the UK but they are relevant elsewhere in the world.
Liability insurance: most american policies won’t cover you in Europe but most rental agencies include liability in the rental in the UK. Check your rental agreement.
Collision/Damage insurance: Agencies offer coverage separately for $15-30/day with $1-$2k deductible. This often doesn’t include theft. Many offer Super CDW, which covers everything with no deductible, but of course costs more.
Insuremyrentalcar.com offers independent coverage for much cheaper than auto rental companies will charge.
Credit card insurance: This is a good way to get collision/damage coverage. Credit cards don’t offer liability insurance.
- Be sure you are listed as the driver and pay for the car rental on the card that offers the coverage. You will also have to decline the rental car agency’s damage waiver coverage.
- Many cards exclude Ireland, Israel, Australia, New Zealand and Jamaica. Other countries are also excluded on some cards so read the fine print in the links below. The two best options are below.
Amex: All American Express cards offer premium primary coverage for a flat rate of $19.95 or $24.95 ($15.95 or $17.95 for California residents) for a rental period of up to 42 days (up to 30 days for Washington State residents). The more expensive option includes higher thresholds for medical expenses and coverage like accidental death and dismemberment.
Citi: I believe this applies to all Citi cards, but for best points value on the spend use the ThankYou Premier card. Citi offers primary coverage outside the U.S. for all authorized drivers, and it covers theft and damage up to $100,000. This appears to be the best coverage via credit card. (see tiny fine print link at bottom of page for terms)
Also of note is that I ended up finding the best rate on car rental by going through the British Airways site for their partnership with Avis. Even the guy at the rental counter at Avis was impressed with our rate (£99 for 8 days). I found this rate the day before our rental was scheduled to begin, and promptly cancelled the other reservation that I had made through Expedia months before. The BA/Avis deal includes a free additional driver, which is otherwise quite costly and not included even for spouses in Europe.