Are you planning a vacation in Europe but you aren’t sure how to get around? Some travelers prefer to create their own timetables rather than having to bank on the reliability of trains or buses, but renting a car for multiple weeks can become extremely expensive.
While standard rental base fares may be reasonable depending on where you are, the real problem is the daily insurance fee, especially since most credit cards have a 30-day rental maximum for insurance coverage on rentals outside of the U.S. Because of this, it might be a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of leasing a vehicle while you’re in Europe.
First, let’s talk about benefits of a short-term lease. With a short-term lease, you will not pay extra fees for listing extra drivers, you are automatically entitled to excellent roadside assistance, and all insurances are covered in the leasing fee. On top of that, there is a zero dollar deductible on the insurance, guaranteed. This kind of package deal is almost never offered with a regular rental. While many standard rentals offer unlimited mileage, renters often can’t get away from VAT, local taxes, and airport surcharges. Short-term leases avoid all of these fees, and the rates are locked in with the quoted price in USD. Also, while the minimum age for car rentals is often 25, travelers as young as 18 can lease a vehicle.
Once the lease is signed, lessees are given a brand-new car directly from the factory. You can choose the make and model, but many short-term leasing companies are based in France and often work exclusively with French manufacturers.
While leasing a vehicle seems like a far better deal than choosing a standard rental, it really only makes financial sense for travelers who are traveling for around 17 days or longer. Most leasing companies have a minimum rental period, so be on the lookout for that if your trip is relatively short. Also, shorter trips may not be worth the hefty base price of leasing a car, even with included insurances and the lack of extra fees. However, if you’re looking to be traveling for several weeks, leasing a car may be the most financially responsible thing to do. Depending on how long you wish to travel, leasing often ends up being cheaper due to the all-inclusive price versus the per-day insurance costs of a standard rental.
So, how can a traveler secure a short-term lease in Europe? One of the most prominent companies is Renault Eurodrive, leasing Renault cars in locations all over Europe. The pick-up and drop-off locations are flexible and versatile, allowing customers to retrieve and return cars at any of 40 locations across continental Europe and the United Kingdom.
Let’s go through an example leasing process through Renault Eurodrive. First, simply visit the Renault Eurodrive website. Then, select your pick-up and drop-off locations and dates from the drop-down menus. You may select the “Automatic Only” option if you are uncomfortable driving a manual, but note that you will likely pay more for this option. Finally, you may select a specific vehicle model or leave the menu at the default “View and compare all models” in order to see every available car.
Once you have entered all of your information, the search engine will display results that most cater to your needs. Results are displayed in order from lowest to highest price, and once you find a vehicle you like, you may begin the booking process. On the reservation page, enter your personal information, any relevant comments or promotional codes, travel information for your incoming flights, and payment information.
If you are reserving your vehicle more than 30 days before your pick-up date, a $500 deposit will be charged to your provided credit card and the remaining balance will be charged at a later date. For customers who reserve their vehicle within 30 days of the pick-up date, the full amount will be charged. However, there are no hidden fees or surprise charges. The price that is quoted will be the price that is paid.
Renault Eurodrive is not the only short-term leasing company. Auto Europe is another great resource, and they are especially helpful because they handle both short-term leasing companies and standard rental companies. So, if the length of your trip falls within the grey area between making more sense to rent and making more sense to lease, you might consider using Auto Europe in order to compare short-term leases with standard rentals very easily. The process for Auto Europe is similar to Renault Eurodrive, but with Auto Europe, customers are able to enter their own desired pick-up and drop-off locations instead of selecting from a drop-down menu. This is because Auto Europe compares results from 20,000 locations in 180 countries, and dozens of companies.
If you are getting ready for a multi-week vacation in Europe, consider a short-term lease and save money on your Eurotrip! I’ll be in France and Germany for five weeks later this year and selected a short-term lease through Auto Europe, so I’ll update you on how everything goes once I’m there!
Have you ever done a short-term auto lease in Europe instead of a traditional car rental?
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