Traveling abroad should be an exciting time in one’s life. If this is a trip that has been years in the making, good planning is essential to ensure an enjoyable visit. Part of that planning should include consulting the State Department’s website, especially if you plan to rent a car and drive during your travels. Not all countries recognize a U.S. Driver’s license as a valid means to drive legally in their country. In that case, call respective embassy to find out if an International Driver’s permit would qualify. After inquiring, the next call should be to the car rental agency to research car rental insurance. Again, this would be prudent to learn about what exactly is covered or not covered here.
Don’t forget that insurance policies in foreign countries are not generic, what is industry standard in the United States, may not apply overseas.
A little extra research and legwork will pay off, not only for your peace of mind, but your wallet as well. Just to add to the already confusing dilemma of coverage types and what is and isn’t included in your rental cost, every country varies in what it offers. What might be acceptable in Ireland, does not necessarily apply when renting a car in the south of France. As a tourist and foreigner, it would be wise to know the ins and outs about your comprehensive coverage. Talk with your credit card company too, some will provide additional coverage options that you might not know about unless you specifically ask.
In some countries, liability coverage is included in the rental costs; others will require an additional daily fee, plan on some in the range of fifteen to twenty dollars which will be added on top of those rental fees. Double check in regards to that liability coverage, though it may cover damage to other’s vehicles, it may not include any costs to repair the car you’re driving in. In this case you will need to buy what is known as a Collision Damage Waiver or CDW. Again this will come as an added expense, but is a critical piece of information to have before opening that car door, especially if part of that international experience includes exploring out on the autobahn or trying to remember about opposite traffic directions in Great Britain. Personal Accident Insurance helps to pay for medical bills incurred to the driver as well as the passengers. Like the Collision Damage Waiver, this will only add to the already accumulating rental costs, but the cost of protecting yourself and loved ones is hard to put a price tag on.
Just remember to start your driving venture at the State Department’s website. They can provide the embassy or consulate contact information who can answer all your driving queries, well in advance of your impending visit. Part of enjoying the benefits of international travel is to take advantage of all the varying destinations and scenic landmarks that each particular country has to offer. Once home, those photos of historical sites and scenic landscapes taken overseas will be worth the cost. Being a safe tourist is being a smart one, too. Keeping everyone safe while traveling among Rome’s ancient ruins or glimpsing the Parthenon through your car window is as important as getting that fabulous photo.
Mark McCrell is an auto aficionado who loves to drive his 1974 Buick LaSabre around town and write about all things auto. He currently blogs for the website AutoInsuranceQuotes, which specializes in cheap auto insurance.