Yes, Ireland is known for its’ automobile challenges. Not only are the roads tiny and the locals fast, the car rental companies are notorious for up-selling you and hiding fees. Most credit card companies won’t insure your car in Ireland. And most American car insurance companies won’t either!
I wrote a blog post awhile back commenting on my experience driving in Ireland. Take a peek: http://wp.me/p1wKmr-ni
But I want to share something here with you that isn’t mentioned in that post:
How to Rent a Car in Ireland
Let me preface all of this by saying the following: Renting a car is worth the potential hassle.
It will help you to see a side of Ireland you would not otherwise see. The following information and tips will help you cut through the noise and have an easier experience on your travels.
Here’s 1 of the most important things I’ve learned so far:
Get Full Insurance Coverage so you have zero-fault liability.
There is a very high chance that you will scratch or gouge your car (walls, hedges, other cars, etc…). Getting the “Super CDW Insurance” as it’s often called will give you zero liability and peace of mind. This fee is often missing when you book your reservation online and will be an additional fee upon picking the car up. You can always call the company (and calling really is the best way to get in touch with people in Ireland, in general they suck at getting back to emails) so you have an idea of the actual cost.
Please be aware that even if you buy the zero liability insurance it won’t cover busted tires, lost keys, or putting the wrong kind of fuel into the vehicle.
Many companies, especially middle men dealers that have killer rates, will attempt to sell you a 3rd party insurance policy. I almost went this route, but I’d read an article that recommended you read the fine print when renting a car. Upon deeper investigation I found out the insurance policy was only valid to European residents!
Here are a couple of companies that list all the fees ahead of time and make it super simple for you:
Dan Dooley: These guys are cool because they have an American counterpart so you can call and speak with someone easily. Also, they list all fees up front and will give you a quote that’s valid for 7 days!
Easy Tour Ireland: Again, all fees are listed and up front. I’ve used this company multiple times to rent a car for Retreat to Ireland. Conn, the owner, is a great go between for Hertz Ireland and American consumers. He gives GREAT customer service!
Budget: Overall, I think this company is trustworthy. They don’t list the fee for Super Insurance, but I found out that it’s about 25 (Euros) per day. I’ve rented from them personally and have had good experiences.
Please be aware that renting an automatic transmission car in Ireland is expensive. Most people in this country drive a manual car, so rental companies have a hard time re-selling their automatic cars when it’s time to move them along.
2nd most important thing I’ve learned:
Get a small car!
A small car makes a huge difference on the roadways. Did you read my blog post yet? Check it out, you’ll see why.
And finally, the 3rd most important thing I’ve learned:
Slow down when you get to the car rental desk, especially if you’ve just arrived in the country.
The Irish are charming. They have a lovely accent. And sometimes they speak sweetly and so fast you get enchanted and then suddenly you’ve agreed to all these upgrades without even realizing you’ve done it.
Slow down. Take your time. And ask lots of questions to make sure you understand. They may think you’re an idiot, but who cares?!
Interested in learning more?
Here are a couple of articles I found helpful if you want to get into the nitty gritty understandings of car rentals in Ireland!