Our car rental guide: main types and how to choose

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There are various types of car rental. So, when planning your vacation, it is important to book the right vehicle that will best suit your type of trip as well as your budget.

Sometimes the choice can be difficult, which is why we are here to assist you.


  • How many people in your party? This information will guide you to the preferred vehicle category. It is important to comfortably accommodate all passengers in the vehicle. In addition, it is important to question the amount of luggage to be transported.
  • What type of transmission do you drive? Manual or automatic. In Europe, be aware that cars with an automatic transmission are rarer and more expensive.
  • What type of insurance do you need? You may be tempted to decline the insurance coverage offered by the car rental company because you have coverage with your credit card. We strongly recommend that you first check with your financial institution to confirm what insurance coverage is actually provided.
  • Which countries will you visit with your vehicle? Travel restrictions may apply depending on pick up country and vehicle category. For example, with Avis, a car rented in France will not be allowed to travel in Poland or Romania.
  • Will you pick up the car in one country and return it in another? If so, which countries will you travel through? Will you be covered by your credit card or by the car rental company insurance in all countries visited? Will this international one-way be authorized by the rental company? Will you need to take a ferry with your car?
  • How many days will you need? For a few days, a classic car rental is a great choice, but for 2 or 3 weeks stay, or even several months, the short-term car leasing plan can be much more advantageous.

CONVENTIONAL CAR RENTAL ADVANTAGES (Avis, Budget, Europcar, Enterprise...):

  • Great for a short stay with pick-up and drop off in the same country.
  • Wide variety of pick-up and drop-off locations.
  • Low rates in some cases.
  • Last minute bookings.
  • The flexibility to upgrade on site to a larger vehicle if the vehicle rented is too small (with additional charge). 


Credit card issuers sometimes provide insurance coverage against vehicle theft and collision. However the credit card user must be held by the main driver designated at the pick-up counter. Before booking, it is advisable to contact your credit card issuer and ask the following questions:

  • Am I covered for collision and vehicle theft and what are deductibles?
  • Am I covered in the countries I plan to visit?
  • Am I covered for the vehicle category I wish to rent?
  • Am I covered for the full duration of my stay abroad?

When changing categories on site, there are often substantial upcharges. That's why we recommend that you book a larger vehicle before leaving rather than upgrade it locally.

For stays longer than 30 days, rentals are complicated (they involve multiple contracts). This is why your Europ Auto rental advisor will recommend a car leasing plan instead. 

If you pick up and drop off the vehicle in two different locations or countries, the local classic car rentall counters will charge you substantial upcharges for this privilege, if they allow it at all. It is important to be well informed before leaving. 

On arrival at the pick-up location, you will be required to redo a contract, which is usually in English. The agent at the counter is well trained in the art of creating insecurity in order to sell you optional insurance coverage. Weary travellers are often taken in. You need to be very careful about the documents you sign and any extra charges you accept. Once this contract is signed, the amounts listed in this agreement can no longer be contested.

For car rental at Europ Auto, our experts recommend plans with insurance coverage, because it is proven that more than 70% of customers who have chosen plans without insurance before leaving end up buying insurance on site.

By using their credit card to pay on site (which is required), the main driver is exposed to potential additional charges which may appear several months after returning home, especially in the case of traffic tickets. Drive carefully!

Car rentals are charged in 24-hour increments, with the pick-up time determining the beginning of the rental. For this reason, it will be essential that you scrupulously respect the return time to avoid being charged for an additional day. 

Since the vehicle is delivered fully fueled, it is important to refuel before drop-off.  If not, the renter can either charge a few extra liters or a full tank, plus service charges. 

Inquire about options available at your destinations (GPS, additional drivers, upcharges for drivers under 25). Set a clear budget, because options can add up quickly, especially in local currency. Depending on the options you're looking for, the all-inclusive short-term car lease plan will often be more advantageous.  


  • You get a brand-new vehicle and choose its precise characteristics before leaving (dimensions, options, diesel or gasoline fuel, fuel efficiency, etc..).
  • Insurance coverage is comprehensive: collision and theft with no deductible including punctures, mirrors, windshields, liability insurance and passenger accident insurance (PAI).
  • Vehicles can be driven from the age of 18 years compared to conventional rentals where the age limits are 21, 23 or even 30 years depending on the vehicle category.
  • Driver under the age of 25 do not pay extra for insurance.
  • International one-way fees, if any, are included in the price when making the reservation.
  • Charges for additional drivers are included.
  • Airport pick-up fees, registration fees and any environmental taxes are included.
  • Most vehicle are equipped with GPS which is included in the price.
  • All the paperwork is handled before leaving and all questions are answered in advance, so vehicle pick-up is quick and easy, with no high-pressure sales tactics to sell you insurance or accessories.
  • There are no service charges in the event of a traffic violation,  contrary to standard car rental where fees range from 35 to 45 euros per traffic ticket. (Note that tickets are sent and sometimes payable several months after return.)
  • At the time of delivery,  an agent will provide attentive personalised service. They will also be there to help return the vehicle. 
  • No credit card is required at the time of pick up and no amount is blocked on your credit card upon arrival.
  • 24/7 support is genuine, complete and at no extra charge.
  • 10 to 15 liters of fuel are provided on delivery, with no obligation to refuel. One less thing to stress about!


You cannot change vehicles upon delivery if it does not meet your needs. So, choose wisely before your book.

The car leasing plan is only available with insurance coverage included, and therefore, it should not be compared to basic rental plans excluding insurance. When comparing plans, it is important to take into account the rental cost plus all fees payable locally on arrival. The leasing plan is truly all-inclusive.

There are fewer delivery and return center than for conventional rentals. The main ones are located in certain cities in France and in all neighboring countries. For example, if you start your journey in Venice, only conventional car rental will be possible.

It is necessary to book well in advance, because when the vehicle leaves the factory, it must then be prepared, registered and sent to the point of delivery. When you book in advance, you enjoy better prices and a wider choice of models.

International one-way fees are often very high with conventional car rental companies and payable locally. With a car leasing plan, they are included and inexpensive.

So, as you can see, when it comes to car rental, there's more to consider than just price. Ideally, you shloud get all the information before booking your flights.  Car rental companies impose many restrictions and fees that can have a major impact on your vacation enjoyment and your budget.

Coming from, you are now on Europ Auto, your site for car rental and buy-back. There is a perfect car for your trip... you will find the right one in a few clicks!