5 Things You Should Know When Renting a Car in Ireland
The thought of driving on the left is usually the biggest concern for travelers renting a car in Ireland, but for some, the car rental policies and prices deliver a big headache… especially since they tend to be different for North Americans in Ireland from other parts of Europe. Here are a few things you should know to prevent surprises along the way:
- Many online car rental quotes only include the cost of rental and basic insurance coverage (usually a €1,000 deductible). Taxes, fees and extra insurance may NOT be included.
- Most car rental companies wait until the customer arrives in Ireland before introducing their zero-deductible insurance (often called Super CDW/Super Collision Damage Waiver Insurance – many companies DO include information on their websites, but it is easy to miss).
- Most credit cards DO NOT cover car rental insurance in Ireland. That’s because Ireland is on the short list of countries where Mastercard and Visa do not offer this benefit. Many credit card customer service reps aren’t aware of this detail, so ask for confirmation in writing and be sure to bring the document with you when you travel (World Mastercard and Canadian Visa usually DO cover insurance).
- If your credit card DOES cover car insurance in Ireland, you will be required to sign extra documents to waive the rental company’s insurance. Some agencies require a deposit or a hold on your credit card when insurance is declined. These “temporary” fees can range from €0-15,000 (€2,000 seems be the most common).
- Call rental agencies before you book and ask questions… especially if the costs, fees, and extra insurance are not clear to you. One call before your trip can save hours of frustration during and after your trip.
What Are Some of the “Hidden Fees”
Beyond the straightforward cost of your rental car, there are several fees that will likely appear on your bill… some of them are lumped together and presented at the time of booking under the “fees” header, but others may not. Irish rental companies vary greatly on this count, so it’s best to ask ask specifically. Here are a few fees to look for (warning, each rental company in Ireland seems to have a different name for these):
- Environmental and Recycling Charge (usually under $5)*
- Boarder Crossing Fee (could be around $40)*
- Vehicle Licensing Fee (usually under $5)*
* These fees are usually included in the standard “fees” category
- Fees for drivers under the age of 25 (drivers over 70 used to be charged extra or denied, but this has changed at most rental agencies)
- Local Taxes
- Airport Fee/Location Service Fee
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW insurance) – LLI (Limited Liability Insurance) – CD Excess – Excess Liability – this fee is usually quite clear
- Super CDW – CDI – Peace of Mind (POM) Insurance (please contact your rental agency directly to make sure you understand what each of their insurance offerings cover and how much they cost)
- Personal Accident Insurance – Personal Benefits
- Theft Protection
- Transaction Processing Fee – Credit Card Admin Charge (usually a few dollars or a percent of the transaction)
- M-50 Tolls – Some rental cars are now set up to automatically bill you if you use the M-50 toll road near Dublin
- “Deposit” when Declining Insurance
- Late Fees
Is Super CDW Insurance worth it?
If you’re a betting type of person, the odds are in your favor if you do not purchase the extra insurance (unless of course you’re a lousy driver). However, the peace of mind of having a zero deductible can often outweigh to potential cost savings.
My advice… first-time visitors who are not used to the left should seriously consider the extra insurance – I’ve seen many rental cars returned with damaged passenger side mirrors, missing hubcaps (casualties of the narrow Irish roads) and worse. Renters are charged a premium for those damages. After that first trip, you’ll be in a better position to decide if you’d prefer to skip the Super CDW.
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Note: Each rental company is different, so be sure to review the policies and information provided each… Not all companies participate in the policies listed above.