How to Rent a Car in Ireland

WARNING: Some Car Rentals in Ireland charging 2,000 - 15,000 deposit to decline CDW plus an administration fee. Click Here for Updates.

 Renting a car in Ireland is the most frustrating part of planning your trip. There are many different rules, rates, types of cars and insurance options. The info below is for citizens of the USA. Other countries have different rules.

Be a smart consumer. Do your homework before renting a car. The following tips for saving money on Ireland car rentals  will get you started. If you have other questions go to Michele's Free Ireland Travel Forum.

Car Rental Lingo

Collision Damage Waiver is insurance you pay extra for so that if you have an accident or the car is stolen you are covered for most of the car cost. Lately car rental companies make you pay a deductible, which could be anywhere from 500 - 1,000 and up.

Super CDW (or Super Damage Waiver SDW): Pay even more for insurance and if there is an accident you pay nothing or a reduced amount. Everything is usually covered (though you should ask about tires, undercarriage and windshields). This can run $10 to $14 a day and up, depending on car type and length of rental

VAT: 13 % tax (non-refundable). Some companies include it, while with others it is an extra charge.

Airport Surcharge: Extra amount paid for renting at airport.

Road Tax: Fee assessed per day on rental cars. Currently about $1.50 per day.

Third Party Liability Insurance: Covers damage to people or property outside your rental car. This is mandatory and is included with every car rental in Ireland.

Extra Fee for Northern Ireland Travel: Some car companies add $25 - $30 for driving into No. Ireland. You should inform the car company at the rental desk if going to No. Ireland.

Extra Driver: It costs extra for each driver you add to your contract.

Tank of Gas (petrol) Charge: When you pick up your car the gas tank should be full. Different companies have different rules. At some you return the car full and have your deposit for the petrol returned to you. At others you return the car empty (try doing that!) and pay for the first tank provided.

Recommended Car Rental: There is no one car rental company in Ireland that is right for everyone. You must shop around, do you homework and most importantly read the fine print.

Ireland Car Rental Tips

  • Shop around
  • Do an Internet search with keywords Ireland Car Rental
  • Get quotes from at least six different companies
  • Compare the same type car & extras at each place
  • Read the fine print
  • Take your best quote
  • Book online for best rates
  • Save money if you dare: decline CDW & use certain MasterCard or Diners Club credit cards
  • Check with credit card to be sure this coverage is right for you (click links above)
  • Check with car rental to see what types of credit cards they take
  • Rent the smallest car possible for your situation
  • An automatic will make driving on the left easier but is more expensive
  • Make copies of confirmations & credit card rules -- bring them to Ireland
  • For travel in Northern Ireland check with rental company for details
  • Age matters: under 21 or over 75 may not be able to rent in Ireland

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MasterCard: Many MasterCards stopped providing free CDW insurance in 2006 . However, there are some MasterCards that still cover your CDW insurance in Ireland. Certain World MasterCards cover the insurance. My Capital One Platinum No Hassle Miles Ultra business card still covers CDW for up to 31 days.

Read the fine print: MasterCard says, "You may be unable to receive benefits in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica and New Zealand. Please contact your vehicle rental agency before you travel." It means that if you car rental company accepts the MasterCard coverage it will apply. If the car company refuses it, MasterCard will not cover CDW.  That is why you need to make sure your car company accepts MasterCard coverage before booking. Phone 1-800-MC-ASSIST for details.

Diner's Club: All their cards cover CDW in Ireland for 30 days. Fees per year for a card range from $95 to $300. This is primary insurance, not secondary. Phone: 1-800-234-6377 for details.

Purchasing Insurance From Car Rental Companies: buying CDW insurance from your car company will not reduce your burden to zero. Many of the car companies have a deductible of a few hundred euro and up. Buying the extra Super CDW can reduce the deductible but find out what is included. Many times tires, windshield and undercarriage are not covered. Each car company is different.

Trip Insurance: Some types of trip insurance may cover your car rental insurance. Check with yours to find out more.

Declining CDW: Most car rentals will put a "hold" of a few thousand euro on your credit card. CAUTION: Some companies now require a deposit rather than a hold. With added credit card fees that could be very expensive. Click HERE for up to date info.

Recommended Car Rental: There is no one car rental company in Ireland that is right for everyone. You must shop around, do you homework and most importantly read the fine print.

Driving in Ireland

Driving in Ireland is an adventure. First accustom yourself to sitting on the right and become familiar with all the controls before moving the car at all. The clutch, brake and gas pedals are located in the same configuration as in the USA.

If you are traveling with a companion, have them remind you to keep left for a day or two, especially at intersections, rounding curves and approaching oncoming traffic. Be especially careful at stop signs and lights. You first need to look RIGHT, then left -- exactly the opposite of what you are used to. Traffic circles (roundabouts) can be a special challenge until you get used to them. When approaching one slow down and prepare to yield. The traffic in the circle has the right of way and you must yield to it. Roundabouts travel clockwise.

Roads range from good to atrocious and since signposts can be confusing getting lost is inevitable. This is when a good map and advice of locals will help.

Gasoline (petrol) can be very expensive in Ireland. It is over $5.00 a gallon (US). However, cars in Ireland tend to get better fuel economy (MPG) than in the USA because there are fewer restrictions on emissions in Ireland. Also, car engines are smaller (1100-1500 CC is the rule).

United States, Canadian and EU citizens DO NOT need an international driver's license. A valid driver's license issued by your country is all that is required in Ireland. Check with the car rental company if you are over 75 or under 21 years of age to see if you can rent from them. Most car rental companies in Ireland will not rent to anyone 75 years old or over.

Remember, drive on the left and watch out for the sheep ! 

Get complete details about
driving on the left!

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