If you're planning to spend a considerable amount of time in Europe for vacation, as a student, or for business, the best transportation isn't necessarily public transportation. Planes, trains, and buses in Europe add up in cost over time, and they can be inconvenient to boot if you need to make a trip outside of major city hubs.
So what’s the answer? A long-term car rental is an ever-more popular option for many staying in Europe for weeks or months at a time as the collective “we” become more independent, savvy travelers.
If it's your first time dealing with a long-term car rental, you have just as many things to consider as you do with short-term rentals, but in reality, the process for a long-term car rental is much more straightforward. Plus, the terms are much more inclusive and comprehensible if you go about it the right way.
We hope this article will help demystify the process so you can get on with enjoying your trip!
Unneeded Expenses, and Ones You Need
Ethical car rental companies in Europe won’t charge you extra for roadside assistance, and the coverage should be around the clock. Paying an extra daily charge on top of your rental price for peace of mind is laughable.
If a company has a good service and a quality product (in this case, a vehicle) then standing behind that service when a client is in need should just be part of the deal. In a way, it is understandable; it is easy for us to offer roadside assistance when the likelihood of our clients needing it for one of our brand new vehicles is much lower than if they were renting a traditional rental car with a lot of miles.
Car Rental Insurance
Insurance is a necessary part of renting any car, but not all insurance is necessary. Let me explain. Most traditional car rental companies will provide you with multiple different insurance options and enough acronyms to make your eyes tear up at the counter.
LDW, PDW, LLDW, PAI, PEC, LIS. Yikes.
Those are real, and the list goes on with acronyms varying by rental provider, making for an even more mind-numbing experience. The bottom line is this: If you were to choose all of those coverages separately, your daily insurance cost would be at least three times the amount of your daily rental rate. That just seems absurd.
With the Peugeot Open Europe program through Auto France, every single contract has built in full insurance with a zero dollar deductible policy with no option to purchase more insurance at the counter. You are fully covered, every time and you don’t need to break your brain thinking about the terms and conditions.
What Kind of Rental Vehicles Do They Have in Europe?
Different types of trips require different types of vehicles. Some car rental companies may try to get you to rent a luxury vehicle simply because they cost more. Consider what you really need out of your rental and choose wisely to save a little more money. It is possible to rent a nice car without shelling out an exorbitant amount of money for a fancy name alone.
For example, the Peugeot Open Europe program allows you to rent a beautiful, brand new vehicle for prices that won’t break the bank and the exact vehicle model is guaranteed on the contract before you even set foot on foreign soil.
With most traditional car rental companies, you will be told the car class size. However, there are no guarantees. If you are a weekend warrior looking for simple car with little luggage space, then it poses no real problem. But if you have a multi-month trip planned and you find yourself balancing luggage on your family’s laps, cargo space is the last thing you want to worry about.
Compact cars tend to be better for driving around Europe, particularly during busy times of the year when streets and parking are overly crowded. Trying to park a large SUV in tight parking spaces could prove more stressful than you planned, and you may end up spending a lot of money on fuel unnecessarily.
If you do need a larger vehicle for, say, a hiking trip or a large group of people, examine the storage specs ahead of time to make sure you are getting exactly what you need. Using our 2015 Peugeot fleet guidebook, you can do all of your homework beforehand and even map out seat configurations and luggage dimensions, making it easier to plan your packing ahead of time.
Canceling Your Contract
Certain circumstances might occur that could lead to you having to cancel your rental contract early. You might have a sudden change in your work plans or even a sudden illness in your family that requires you to fly back to the United States. Make sure you know what fees or penalties may be involved with an early cancellation of your rental so you’re not surprised later on.
Overall, canceling your contract should not be a hassle if the situation is dire. For example, here at Auto France, in the case of force majeure (I.e. death, serious illness, or accident), a cancellation fee/penalty may be reduced. In fact, if canceled three weeks prior to the rental start date it is a flat fee of $75 even without a dire situation or need for any other proof.
Adding Other Drivers
If you're staying in Europe long-term with your family, you may wish to allow your spouse or adult children to drive the car. Ask your rental company if they’ll let you add other drivers for free. You obviously don’t want the expense of renting an additional car just so your family members can get around as easily as you can.
With the Peugeot program, all immediate family members are fully covered to drive the vehicle under the insurance and assistance terms and there is no need to add them to the contract ahead of time.
A long stay in Europe is not unlike living there, so why not be comfortable and enjoy the freedom of getting around on your own schedule? A long-term car rental will give you that freedom, and these tips will hopefully make the planning process a little easier.
If you have questions about long-term car rentals in Europe or the Peugeot Open Europe program, feel free to contact us.
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