Avanti Travel Insurance blog

19 Jan

Driving in Europe – Car Rental Age Limits

Man driving a Mercedes in EuropeRental Requirements For Older Drivers

Renting a car on your European holiday can be a great experience. Avoid disappointment by checking the car rental age limits before you travel.

Driving abroad can be a really positive experience. Renting a car during your holiday gives you more freedom to plan your own route and helps you to really explore the country you’re visiting.

However, if you plan on renting a car while holidaying in Europe, there are some things you need to consider, such as researching the local driving laws and ensuring you have all the necessary legal documentation.

One thing you need to be particularly aware of is car rental age limits. Obviously there is a minimum age limit and this varies from country to country, but many people don’t realise that some European countries also impose a maximum age limit when it comes to renting a car.

Maximum Car Rental Age Limits

So what age limits can you expect when you travel to Europe? Many countries in Europe don’t impose maximum age limits on car rental. These include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

However, in other European destinations, travellers over the age of 70 may face difficulties when it comes to renting a vehicle. For example, some rental agencies in Slovakia, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic and Romania will refuse to rent to people over 70 years of age. Similarly, drivers over 70 can often expect to incur an extra fee when renting in the UK, and some agencies will refuse to rent certain classes of car to anyone over the age of 69.

Other countries impose a slightly higher limit. Drivers in the Republic of Ireland are unable to rent a car if they are over 75, and in Denmark the maximum age limit rises to 80 years of age.

If you are over a country’s age limit, it’s worth considering going through a car rental broker such as autoeurope.com – they have relationships with a large number of agencies and can often negotiate deals for older drivers.

Crossing Borders

What happens if you plan on driving through several countries on your location – all with different age limits? The short answer is that it shouldn’t be a problem. The age limits apply to renting rather than driving, so as long as you are under the age limit in the country in which you collect the car, you should be fine. However, it’s better to be safe than sorry so consider checking with your agency before you travel.

International Driving Permit

There are a few other rules and restrictions you should be aware of when renting a car in Europe. Certain European countries require you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP) in order to rent a car. IDPs verify that you have a valid driving licence in your home country, and they are required in Romania, Poland, Latvia, Hungary, Greece and Italy.

Furthermore, no matter how old you are, or what country you are in, rental agencies can refuse to rent you a vehicle if you have a bad driving record or they have reason to believe you will be unsafe on the road. Some agencies will also require a doctor’s statement confirming that you are fit to drive if you are over a certain age.

Car rentals in Europe usually include motor insurance – however, you will generally be liable for a large excess of around £500 – £1,000.  You can get excess insurance via the car rental agency, but often at an inflated cost. Going via an independent insurance company can save some money. And of course, as with any holiday abroad, you should also ensure you have adequate travel insurance. Our over 70s travel insurance will cover you in case of accident, illness or other emergency. Terms and conditions apply.

The above information should be taken as a guide only. Make sure you check the fine print of any rental agreement before committing, and if you are unsure of anything, call up the agency to double check your eligibility before you travel. Failure to do this could mean you find yourself unable to rent a car once you arrive at your destination. With some forward thinking you can avoid this situation and ensure you remember your holiday for all the right reasons.

Before setting off, read our top tips for driving in Europe. Bon voyage!

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