Why Yes, You Can Take Advantage of Car hire in Italy
Car hire in Italy allows a traveler more independence and flexibility on their trip. A rented car allows you to be on your own timetable, rather than that of trains, buses, or taxis. Car hire is practically a necessity if you wish to explore the countryside, and it provides added privacy when touring the cities.
What to expect
The most common car when it comes to the majority of Italian car hire companies are Fiats and Fords. Do take into account that most cars in Italy have standard transmissions – you will pay more for an automatic. Be specific when you make your reservation!
For the less adventurous, there are ways to hire a car with a driver as well. Drivers are paid by the day, but be sure to give them at least a 15% tip when you are finished with them. Most hotels can recommend drivers to you, so don’t be afraid to ask!
For Americans traveling in Italy, you can save more money by booking your car hire service before traveling in Italy proper. While most American chains (such as Avis, Hertz, etc.) have affiliates in Italy, the rates are much higher. If you have small children that will require a car seat, be sure to request this – a minimal fee will apply.
Hidden Surprises and Hidden Costs
In general, Italian car hire companies will hold you responsible for any damage to or loss of the car. Collision policies do not cover theft – in fact, all Italian car hire companies require you to purchase a theft-protection policy on top of collision coverage. However, you may already have sufficient coverage under your personal auto insurance policy, along with credit credits – save money and research!
If moving from one city to another, be sure to check for drop-off fees and/or one-way service charges. These can be very expensive. Other fees to note are early-return fees; some Italian car hire companies will charge you for returning the car before your contract expires, while others will give you a refund for those extra days. Before you turn in the car, check to make sure the gas in the tank is at the same level as you received it. Car hire companies will charge you a refueling fee if they have to do it for you! To save money, buy gas as far away from any car hire company as possible – gas stations around Italian car hire companies may overcharge.
Getting an International Driver’s Permit is not required to drive in Italy, so save your money. However, this permit may keep you from getting involved with local authorities. All the international permit does is buy peace of mind – you must decide what that is worth to you. These permits can be obtained from the American and Canadian Automobile Associations, respectively.
No matter which Italian car hire service you choose, keep in mind that you and anyone that will be driving your rented car must be at least 21 years of age. Those under 23 years of age are generally expected to pay with a credit card.
Don’t let the details keep you from using a car hire service in Italy – with a little extra planning, a wonderful trip awaits you!