I have been driving in Greece for 20+ years. I have been on tinny island mountain roads and cruised the high way from Athens to Thessaloniki. I now live in Athens and drive there comfortably. If you are considering renting a car in Greece for your holidays, there some important thing to take into consideration. Read on about how to rent a car and what is important.
Renting a car in Greece for your family vacation is a great way to safely discover your holiday destination. With a car, you are not depending on a taxi or public transport and you can book a car seat for your babies or children.
Preparation for renting a car in Greece
I believe that successful family travel is all about planning. It is best to book your family car well in advance. This way you will not have any unexpected surprises and you will not have to wait at the rental car company at the arrival (air)port. You will get the model that you need for your family (think of the busy summer season) and with the extra’s that you need such as a baby carrier/child car seat or GPS. You will also have time to struggle your way through the (online) material and you will have time to arrange a good insurance. You can try to find the best deal on the websites of the many rental car companies in Greece or you can be renting a car in Greece via search engines such as www.rentalcars.com. These compare the prices among the largest rental car providers in the country according to your dates and preferences.
Requirements for renting a car in Greece?
To rent a car in Greece you need to be at least 21 years old, some companies require 23 and the age may vary by car category. You need to have held your license for at least 12 months (some companies require 2 years therefore check this carefully!). While, as mentioned above, the minimum age restriction to hire a car is 21 years, drivers under the age of 25 may incur a young driver surcharge. Some suppliers have a maximum rental age for 70 for car hire in Athens and other Greece destinations. Citizens of the EU can use their own licenses for driving in Greece. USA driving licences are accepted but must be accompanied by an International Drivers license. Other nationals should have an International Drivers license. This is an official translation and verification of the drivers license in 10 different languages and it is valid for one year from the date issued. You will also need your passport and a credit card.
What kind of car do you need?
The type of car that you need depends of the size of your family, your luggage, your itinerary and your personal preference. Driving in Greece has it’s challenges (read more about that in my blog post Tips for Trips by car in Greece) therefore I would advise to choose a car that you are comfortable driving with. As far as your destination, it depends if you are going to be in the city, on the islands or in the mountains. Greece is mountainous and if you are planning a mountain trip, then choose at least a Economy type car. Are you going to drive from city to city, than you may rent a smaller car but do think of your luggage too. Are you adventurous and planning to go off road to visit remote beaches? choose an SUV. And consider renting a GPS in case you are travelling in rural areas. Check if your rental car has a good working air conditioning if you are visiting Greece in the summer. If you prefer a automatic car, make sure that you communicate this to the rental company because most cars in Greece are manual.
Children on board
If you are travelling with a baby, you will most likely have your baby carrier (in Europe sometimes called Maxi Cosi) with you upon arrival because you have used it in the plane or during your trip to Greece. This is different for a car seat. There are several car seats that are allowed on the plane. But in case you are not bringing your own car seat, you will need to rent one from the car rental company. If you are wondering whether to bring your own car seat or to rent one in Greece, here are the pro’s and con’s to consider. Safety: how will you know if the car seat offered by the rental car company is safe and has not been in an accident? What time of car seat is offered by the rental company? Costs: The average rental price of a car seat is around 10E per day. Is it worth to bring your own? (what are the costs at the airline ? – most let you bring a car seat for free). Convenience: think of carrying the car seat around during your travel! Taking more than one car seat, luggage and kids from the airport arrival to the car hire company could be a Mission Impossible! Hygiene: A minor issue for me personally but in case that you are a germaphobe..think kids vomit..bring your own or bring your own car seat cover.
Insurance for renting a car in Greece
You will need an insurance because your travel insurance will not cover possible damage. Here is a short summary of the insurances needed for car hire in Greece with their international names. Most car rental companies offer a package of these insurances together. Always check the standard deductible or excess on each insurance and do not forget that you need to declare all the possible drivers of the car when arranging the insurance. There will be a surcharge for additional drivers. Here are the most common insurance elements:
- Third Party Liability Insurance (TPL)
Covers you against liability to third parties in case of death or injuries including passengers and their property.Third party Liability Insurance is mandatory coverage for all car hire. Third Party Liability is also known as Motor Liability Insurance, Third Party Cover and Legal Liability Insurance.
- Fire Protection Coverage (FPC)
Covers against fire to the car itself in the event of a mechanical fire and other scenarios.
- Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)
PAI protects you and each passenger in the event of death, total and partial disability for the duration of the rental. The official drivers and passengers are covered while in the car.
- Theft Protection Coverage (TPC)
Theft Protection Coverage (TPC) relieves the renter from almost all financial responsibility for loss of or damage to the car by or following theft attempted theft or vandalism, but does not cover stolen personal contents. If you decide to decline this TPC you will be responsible for the cost of repairing or replacing the lost or damaged car. TPC does not include coverage for personal items.
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
You can limit your responsibility for your share of any damage to the rented car during the rental period. A residual non-waivable amount known as a deductible or excess fee will be applied in the event of damage to the car.
- Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW)
Also known as excess or deductible reduction. You may reduce the liability to a minimum charge by paying an additional fee per rental day. The SCDW fee will be calculated for up to 15 days and fixed at that amount.
Check your car carefully when you pick it up, do this together with a representative of the rental company. Take photos of the car and it’s possible damages or scratches. This way you will not be charged by any damage after you return the car that was not caused by you. Have the representative make a note on your rental agreement of anything unusual or any existing damage.
Important to check and to notice!
Check if you need to deliver the car back to the rental company with a full fuel tank or not. And ask if there will be someone at the drop off company available when you will return the car. Are you dropping the car off after office hours? Than make a photo of the car, the kilometers and the fuel tank meter on the dashboard. In case of an accident or incident, even a minor incident, whilst driving a car in Greece; always call the police. You need their report for the insurance company. In your insurance papers, you will always find the numbers for the authorities and for technical support.
Have a safe family road trip in Greece!