When renting a car, you need insurance. If you have adequate insurance on your own car, including collision and comprehensive, this may be enough. You should check first with your insurance agent to determine if your policy will cover renting a car while in Ireland.
If your personal auto insurance doesn't cover a rental car, or at least not one in a different country such as Ireland, or if you don't have your auto insurance in the US, you will need to buy coverage at the car rental counter.
It is also possible that your credit card company offers some type of insurance. You could check with them to determine if there is any coverage and if so how much.
When renting a car abroad, you may need extra documents. Before you fly to Ireland, check with the Irish rental car agency to see what driving documents and proof of insurance they require -- or else you may be unable to rent a vehicle.
From what we have read, to rent a car in Ireland you normally will need a valid current driving license and a credit card. Passports are usually required for ID purposes as well. Some age restrictions may apply and if you are under 25 yrs of age or over 70 yrs, you will need to check availability.
Ensure you provide details of any additional drivers that will be driving. Most rental cars have manual transmission so ask about obtaining a vehicle with an automatic transmission if you wish to rent one instead of a manual.
If you plan to travel between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, or if you want to pick up the car at one location and return it somewhere else, check out if these are options with the rental car agency when you book your rental car.
The rental car information we saw noted that third party insurance is compulsory and is included in the rental rate, but check on this to make certain. This coverage, however, only covers you for other people's injury and damage to their vehicle (basically like bodily injury liability and property damage liability in the U.S.).
Other coverages that are offered typically include:
- Collision damage waiver (CSW) - This limits your financial liability for damage to the rented vehicle. Rentals are subject to a liability excess. (Purchasing additional cover can offset this excess). Visitors, who wish to claim CDW coverage using a credit card facility (e.g US MasterCard Gold or Platinum), are advised to provide documentary evidence confirming the cover for their trip to Ireland. You should note that CDW conditions may have exclusions (windshield, tires).
- Theft loss - This coverage limits your financial liability for loss or theft of the rented vehicle.
- Personal accident insurance - This covers the driver for personal injuries.
The Road Safety Authority (RSA) in Ireland has a website where you can familiarize yourself with the rules of the roads when driving on the Irish roadways.
You can comparison shop your U.S. policy by getting a car insurance quote here.