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Traveling By Ferry With A Rental Car In Europe

When traveling in Europe, it’s key to have a clear idea of what you can and can’t do. At Auto France we want to do as much as possible to make your trip stress-free so you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.

Since travel through European countries very often involves travelling over a lake, channel, or river, it is wise to have a plan on getting to the other side with your car—and very often that plan will involve a ferry. If your plan is to rent a car, you may start to wonder, ‘Am I really supposed to be taking this new vehicle on here?’ The long and short of it is, yes! You can take that factory-new Peugeot on board because not only is it completely legal but also, with Auto France, you will have the necessary full insurance for the entire length of your trip.

Often, due to restrictions made by other rental companies (typically the “big name” companies), travelers will experience unnecessary stress and increased limitations, causing their trip to suddenly become incredibly cumbersome. In fact, it is often actually illegal to do something as minor as taking your rental on a ferry, and just doing so will violate the rentals insurance policies and leave you hanging out to dry. We want you to have the ability to fully experience everything that Europe has to offer, whether it’s crossing the English Channel, exploring Spanish Islands or taking a car on the ferry from Nice to Corisca, It's all possible.

The best way, of course, to ensure your relaxation on your trip is to prepare. Follow these simple instructions when planning your travel and you'll be on your way to an unforgettable experience in no time.

  • Do your research

It seems like such a simple concept, but it’s often overlooked: By simply reviewing your itinerary, you can easily determine when, where, and how often you will need to worry about crossing waterways via ferry and what the cost is to do so. Most major ferry operators have websites allowing you to book your trip online in advance. However, in order to book your ferry trip, you will be prompted to select the exact vehicle make and model as well as the vehicle dimensions which provides the logistics team the ability to place you on board properly so that boat doesnt start-a rockin. Needless to say, it can be difficult to provide this information when your car rental booking says “compact or something similar”. With Auto France, you will receive the exact vehicle model from your contract, and not only that, each model has a dedicated page with exact exterior dimensions and specifications which you can reference while you book your ferry.

  • Review your route

While this is somewhat related to the above, we are writing in more logistical terms here. If you are crossing the English Channel from Dover, UK to Calais, France you're going to have to switch the side of the road you’re driving on, so be prepared. It might also be a nice “pre boarding” move to program and save your final destination if the model you chose has a built in GPS unit as over 95% of our Peugeot models do. If you’ve ever taken a ferry with a car before, you probably know that most people are in a hurry to get off the boat which could leave you little time to pull over and fuss with electronics.

  • Review the policies (insurance & custom/port)

As we alluded to earlier, not all companies are as flexible as Auto France, so look at the insurance policy! Make sure they are happy to allow you to take a vehicle on a ferry first before you do make any moves.

It’s important to note that the insurance isn’t the only factor in whether or not you will be permitted to take your car rental on a ferry. Sometimes what can hold you up are the ferry operators or custom-port officers at either end of the ferry ride, and you simply won’t know this until it is too late.

With a traditional car rental you will have a car rental agreement with your name on it, which will virtually be the only link to you and that car. With Auto France, every lease provides you with a contract that is recognized by custom agents as well as a green insurance card (“carte verde”) for entering multiple countries and a vehicle registration in your name which shows you as the owner of the vehicle while you are in possession of it. We have heard of port officers holding up car rental clients and calling their rental providers in order to make sure the vehicle entering their country wasn’t stolen and the rental agreement is legitimate. This sort of holdup simply won’t happen with a car you temporarily own through Auto France.

  • Pack warm

Okay, we’re partially joking with this one, but those ferries can get breezy! Bring your jacket—and a camera wouldn't hurt either. Snap a  good photo of that beautiful Peugeot on the ferry and send it to us!

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