How and where to rent a car in Italy? Guide

Many tourists from Poland choose to travel to Italy by their car. This gives incredible flexibility in sightseeing and traveling. Moving by car also makes it possible to get to places that would be hard to reach by public transportation. Not to mention traveling with a child - a car then makes the logistics much easier. However, there are places in Italy that will be hard for us to reach with our vehicle - mainly because of the distances. We can get to northern Italy from the south of Poland quite efficiently, while a trip to Tuscany or Puglia will be quite a challenge. Not to mention Sardinia, where a ferry crossing will be necessary. That is why many tourists decide to car rental in Italy From local rental companies. What is worth knowing when renting a car? Is it always worth renting a car? Should you opt for full insurance? What should you pay attention to? We invite you to read more!

Note: this guide is universal - it is valid in most European countries, not only in Italy. So if you are going to Spain, or Greece - it will also be worth reading.

Types of car insurance

Where to start? First, decide whether or not to purchase full insurance for the rental car. This is important because the price for insurance can sometimes be 2-3 times higher than the cost of the car rental itself. Surely you have paid attention to the attractive offers of companies rental cars With amounts in the range of a few € per day of car rental. These offers, of course, do not include full insurance.

But is it worth paying extra and taking full insurance? In my opinion, yes, however, it depends on the rental company's offer. In my travels I try to always buy such full insurance. However, I choose rental companies that do not charge horrendous amounts for it.

Standard car insurance

When deciding on standard insurance, we need to be aware of several things. First, we will most likely have to make a payment by credit card. Secondly, on our credit card will be blocked deposit in case of damage. The amount of the deposit varies and depends on the rental company, the rental car and the rental time. It can range from a few hundred to as much as €1,500. Keep this in mind, as you may find that your credit card limit is insufficient. Here, an overpayment of the card may not help, since as a rule, the credit line on the card is important, not the balance of the account associated with the card.

In case of damage, such as a bump or scratch on the car body, we will be charged up to the amount of the deposit. Rental companies charge themselves high amounts, even for small scratches on the paint. It's a good idea to be aware of this and read the rental company's terms and conditions!

Full car insurance

For full insurance, we will have to pay extra sometimes a lot more than the cost of renting the car itself. Although not always - so it is worth comparing prices before making a final decision. Recently I happened to rent a car at an attractive price and pay for insurance less than 50% of the amount of its rental! In such a case, to forgo full insurance would be sheer foolishness.

So the downside is the price, but what about the upside? There is a better chance that we will be able to use a regular debit card for payment (but it all depends on the policy of the particular rental company). Having a foreign currency (or multi-currency) card will therefore avoid currency conversion costs. In addition, we will no longer need to block funds on our card. The most important plus, however, is peace of mind - by opting for full insurance, we don't have to stress during our outing!

Full insurance from broker (!!!)

However, there is a small catch that people who have not yet rented a car (in Italy or anywhere else) may not know about.

No deposit (blocking on the card) is applied only when you decide to buy full insurance directly from the rental company (read: if you boo the car on the official website of the rental company and not from a broker)!!!

The price of insurance directly from the rental company is usually higher than the price of full insurance from a broker (intermediary) - for example. Ryanair or When deciding to buy full insurance from a broker, we must be aware that a block on the card will be placed anyway. The rental company, after all, then earns nothing and cares little whether you have any external insurance or not. In the event of any damage, the refund procedure itself will take longer.

Which rental company should I choose?

The procedure is quite simple. We go to the website of the broker We select our destination and date range. The search engine will show us available cars and rental companies. We will be interested in rental companies with the highest ratings. Why? Generally, the higher the rating, the less chance of problems when returning the car or the rental deposit.

How to book a car?

We already have a price discernment, and we also know how much additional services cost, including full insurance with the most popular broker, If we are flying Ryanair, I also suggest using their search engine and comparing prices.

Then we check prices and vehicle availability directly with rental companies. We simply type the name of the rental company into Google. It's important to make sure that we landed on the official website of the rental company, and not the website of some other middleman.

We already know how much it costs to rent through brokers and directly from the rental company. So we need to decide where to book.

  1. If you want to avoid paying an unnecessary deposit and value peace of mind during the trip, then we decide to rent directly from the rental company with full insurance, through the official website of the rental company;
  2. If the broker's offer (e.g., on Ryanair or for full insurance is more favorable, and we are counting on the blocking of the deposit on the card and a possible longer time to settle the damage in case of its occurrence, the we decide on the broker's offer;
  3. If you are not interested in full insurance and are aware of the required locking of the deposit and the fact that it will not be refunded in the event of a loss. we decide on a more favorable offer.

Fuel policy

The fuel policy will most likely be imposed in advance by the rental company. The most favorable is FULL/FULL. We will then get a car with a full tank and are expected to return it with a full tank as well. Usually the rental company charges a deposit for a full tank (about €100), so don't be surprised when you pick up the car 😉 Good rental companies return the deposit a few days after the end of the car rental.

The FULL/EMPTY policy means that the car has a full tank, and we return the car with an empty tank. Of course, we can return with more fuel, but don't even think that the rental company will reimburse you for the excess left 😉 In addition, payment for a full tank will usually be more than the market price of fuel.

What does it look like to make a reservation online?

We are now waiting for a longer moment with filling out the forms. Among other things, we enter our address details, driver's license details, flight details, etc.

We can also opt for add-ons such as child seat, whether additional driver. Unfortunately - most often we will pay dearly for them.

Payment for car reservation

Most rental companies require that the details of the card used for payment be the same as those of the driver.

So if we have a credit card, but do not have a driver's license (only our husband/wife has one, for example), making a reservation on ourselves, we will not be able to rent a car! Of course, it all depends on the rental company, but this policy is followed by all major rental companies like Goldcar, Europcar, Avis, etc.

Picking up the car from the rental company

Rental opening hours are important!

First of all, check the operating hours of the chosen rental company. Rental companies rarely work 24 hours, so landing after midnight, for example, we may have a little problem. I, landing at night, usually take an Uber, Bolt or cab to the hotel and pick up the car in the morning of the next day.

If you are going to a larger city where public transportation (such as the subway) works efficiently, you should consider not renting a car for your entire stay. Perhaps it would be better to rent a car for the period when we want to visit an area that is difficult to access by public transportation.

A visit to the rental office

It is a good idea to find out in advance where the rental company's office is located. This will be, for example, an office in the terminal, outside the terminal or outside the airport. In this case, you will need to contact the rental company's staff to have someone pick you up from the airport and take you to the office.

There is a bit of paperwork waiting for us - signatures, probably scans of ID (yes, in Italy and many other countries this is unfortunately the norm) and driver's license. If we filled out the forms online, we'll get away quicker.

Form of previous car damage

The rental company will give us a form to sign, where all previous damage to the car will be marked: dents, scratches, bruises. If we have purchased full insurance directly from the rental company then we can sign this form without much stress.

However, if we do not have full insurance, or full insurance was purchased from a broker go for a visual inspection of the car and check the actual condition before signing. This will take a while, but will avoid potential problems in the future. During the inspection it's a good idea to take photos of the car from all sides, and preferably record a video. So it's a good idea to pick up the car in the daytime, when it's bright. This is especially important when we have not purchased insurance!

Damage inside the car should also be documented with photographs and preferably reported to the rental company before leaving, Even having full insurance!

Payment and deposit payment

If we have opted for full insurance from the rental company and paid for everything when we made the reservation. we still have to pay the fuel deposit. The amount of the blockade is about €100.

If we do not have full insurance, or have it purchased from an intermediary, in addition, a deposit will be blocked on our credit card. As already mentioned, it ranges from several hundred to €1,500 depending on the rental company.

We pay and we're good to go!

Return of the car

We should return the car in the condition in which we received it. We wash the body at the car wash, throw away all trash and vacuum. We will be charged by the rental company for trash left behind or sand from the beach! It happened to me once to leave a Coke can alone in the car and be charged for cleaning... Therefore, let's not underestimate it!

If we have chosen a FULL/FULL fuel policy, we fill the car up to full before returning it. Otherwise, the fuel deposit amount will be deducted by the missing fuel + service fee (about €20). The fuel deposit will be refunded within a few days.

When will the rental company return the deposit?

If we did not have full insurance purchased from the rental company, and there was no damage on the car, the deposit for the car will also be returned within the next few days. To avoid problems, however, it is worth taking a little more time to check the car before picking it up. This is a very important thing!

Accommodation in Italy

Heading to Italy, but don't have accommodation yet? Check out the best hotel and apartment deals in Italy on the booking site below:

I visit Italy every year, sometimes even several times. I even happened to live in this beautiful country for almost a year. I regularly publish articles about Italy on my blog.


  1. Hi, and what is it like to rent and return a car closer to the center of the cities? Will I leave Florence and enter Rome without a ticket for driving in the ZLT zone? Do rental cars have any permits?

    • Tom Reply

      When moving a rental car, the exact same regulations apply as if you were moving your private car 🙂 Rental cars do not have any additional permits.

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