Can You Drive Rental Cars Across Borders in Europe?
If you are on a European road trip, you may have toyed with the idea of crossing a border and exploring another country.
Before you do, though, there may be a few things to consider. Does the country you want to visit have any specific entry requirements? Does your insurance cover you? Maybe the driving laws are a little different in the country you are planning to visit compared to the one you have come from.
Before considering all this, you will need to know if you can cross borders in your rental car. The good news is yes. In most cases, you will be able to drive your rental car across borders in Europe.
However, it isn’t as simple as just driving across the border. Below, we look into what you need to do to be able to drive your rental car across European borders.
Crossing European borders in a rental car
Driving across European borders is not a problem, so long as you follow a few simple rules. In some cases, there could be a cross-border fee to pay. In others, there could be a limit on the number of days you are allowed to use the hire car in another country. In some instances, hire companies will stipulate that certain models of cars cannot cross borders. If your hire car is of high value, for example, chances are you will not be able to cross borders with it.
What is a cross-border fee?
The cross-border fee is applied to the rental cost. It covers the additional insurance required for you to drive outside of the country from which you rented the car.
Depending on which borders you are crossing and which hire company you use will determine the charges. Some hire car companies will not offer the service at all. Therefore, if you are looking to venture further afield, it may be wise to check if the suppliers you are considering offer cross-border rentals.
You will need to let your hire company know in advance of your wishes to cross borders. That way, they can prepare the necessary documents for you to be able to travel from country to country.
How much is the cross-border fee?
Depending on where you travel and the hire company you choose to use will determine how much the fee is. Typically, you can expect to pay anywhere from £20-50.
There are a few countries where you will be able to cross the borders without charge, but overall, the fee will normally apply. For example, travel between Western and Eastern European countries will incur the charge.
Depending on how much driving you want to take on, there may be multiple borders you plan to cross. Again, this is something you need to inform the hiring company of. Some hire companies charge per border you cross, whilst others may charge a set fee. Ask the company you plan to use about how the cross-border fees work with them to get a clear idea of the potential costs involved.
What do I need when crossing a border in a rental car?
Depending on the border type you cross will determine what you may need to show. For example, a soft border (one that has no passport control) will not require you to do anything. However, a hard border (one with passport control and security gates) will require you to show your rental documents, as well as approval from the rental company for you to cross borders with their vehicle.
Regardless of the border type, always carry your driving licence, passport, rental documents, insurance documents, and should you require one, your International Driving Permit (IPD).
Aside from documentation, you should also be making sure your rental car has been set up to be legally compliant to drive in the country you are about to enter. For example, are snow tyres required? Are there road safety items you should be carrying in your vehicle when in the new country? Winterisation fees could also apply, so look out for this in your agreement.
Can I leave my rental car in another country?
If your road trip is likely to take you far from your original destination, it is unlikely you will fancy driving back the way you came. This is something not particularly popular with rental companies, although it is possible. One-way rentals do exist, and it this could be a requirement of yours, check with the rental company in advance. It tends to be very expensive, so you should weigh up whether it is worth the expense before committing.
It isn’t just cross-border fees you should consider to ensure you are fully covered. Taking out a European excess car hire insurance policy will mean you are protected from the costly excess fees often associated with car hire. With our range of comprehensive plans, you are covered against all eventualities from as little as £0.12 / €0.14 / $0.16 per day. Get a free quote from us today and enjoy your European adventure worry-free.