Car Rental Overseas
Hiring a rental car is probably one of the best ways to see a country since you can reach smaller towns and have the flexibility to stop wherever you want. If you are travelling for a longer period, it may even be a more cost-effective way to travel compared to taking public transport. However, driving in a foreign country can be daunting for someone as well, with different driving rules and not being sure of the entire car rental process. But don’t let that put you off! There’s nothing that can’t be done with a little bit of research and tips for car rental in a foreign land from us:
Read Up On The Driving Rules
This is fundamental if you are going to another country. Most countries require an international driving permit (IDP), so do ensure you get it done before going for your trip. Although your Singapore driving license is recognised in many countries, the IDP is useful when you are renting a car in countries where English is not the official language.
Other than the IDP, you should also check out if the country is driving on the left or right, and whether they offer automatic cars if you are looking for one.
Look For A Reputable Car Rental Company
It’s best to start your search on a travel-booking site or forum and look for bigger brand names for car rental. While you are searching, you shouldn’t just use the upfront price as an indicator because you should base your decision on the all-in services and hidden fees you’d need to pay. Such charges can include pickup/drop-off locations, insurance coverage, road taxes, cancellation fees and changing any rental conditions. Having said that, Avis and Hertz are two reputable brands operating in Europe so you might want to check them out.
Rental Car Insurance
Note that your personal car insurance in Singapore will not be valid for your rental car overseas so you need to take out a separate one. Most car rental companies require you to take a basic car insurance that provides liability coverage for accident-related damage to others’ vehicles. Usually, you’d have 2 options – collision damage waiver or your travel insurance coverage. The first would probably be the most convenient as it is provided by your rental car company and it waives the high deductible the company can collect from you in case of an accident. However, this can also be quite expensive, charging you around $15 to $30 a day.
The other option is to use your travel insurance coverage. Certain travel insurance provides coverage for the rental vehicles excess, which means that you will not need to pay the rental company to reduce your excess. If you have a travel credit card like the American Express Krisflyer Ascend Card that provides free travel insurance, you might want to check up their coverage as well.
Other things to take note of:
- It is better to pay in advance – this is because you when you pay on the spot, you may be subjected to an unfavourable currency conversion by the rental company. When you pay online, you will pay the exact amount in your home currency, as well as avoid the overseas transaction fee.
- Take note of all local charges, which can include road tax, additional driver charges, airport taxes or any car vignettes you need to buy.
- Check your rental car thoroughly and do not leave the pickup site if you are not wholly satisfied. Asking for a change later can be complicated after you’ve signed the documents.
- Ask for the car-operating manual; it is something you might need along the way, and especially if you have rented the local GPS system as well.
- Always take note of the toll-free helpline you can call in case of emergency.