Greetings from Bodkye, County Clare, Ireland! After MUCH preparation and a few false starts, I was able to successfully decline car insurance in Ireland. Here’s what I can share:
- American Express does NOT offer rental car insurance protection in Ireland. Not even platinum.
- Citi Thank You cards DO offer rental car insurance protection in Ireland. Even the fee free one. Even better, Citi will email you proof of this fact if you call the number on back of your card and ask. The documentation can come in really handy if you get a surly car rental agent.
Even armed with this knowledge, I did not have a hassle free experience at the Avis counter in Dublin. There were two nasty surprises hidden in the fine print of the rental contract. I saw them in advance, but wanted to point them out to you as they could be deal-killers when looking at rentals:
- Avis charged me a 30 Euro “Service Fee” for the “Service” of NOT taking their insurance! This was truly a first and I’ll be fighting it tooth and nail when I get home.
And this could be the real Deal Killer:
- If you don’t take their insurance, Avis will Pre-charge a 3,000 Euro deposit to your credit card! Read that again. Three. Thousand. Euro. Now you churners may greet that with a yawn, but many people I know don’t carry a huge amount of credit on purpose and 4 thousand dollars at current exchange rates may take a HUGE chunk out of their available credit line at the start of their annual vacation.
I was lucky enough to have enough credit available, although it triggered a fraud alert from Citibank. Can’t say I’m surprised as I’m not one to charge 4 thousand dollars on car rental in a foreign country on a whim!
Lesson learned: you CAN decline car rental insurance in Ireland, but whether you SHOULD or not is an entirely different question. If I had it to do again, I might have just sucked it up and paid the extortionate rate for the lack of hassle.
As a quick note of comparison, car rental in NORTHERN Ireland, which is UK, was a breeze. My AMEX Platinum covered everything, and Enterprise didn’t charge me a penny over the rates save a 200 pound deposit, which was much easier to swallow!
Please share your Ireland car rental stories.