Renting a Car Outside the US

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Insuring a borrowed car in England

Dec 2011

We are going to see family in England. A family member has arranged a car for our use, but we need to insure my husband to drive it. Has anyone done this? All information we can find so far pertains to insuring a rental, and this car is not a rental. Traveler

British insurers will only provide insurance to the person who owns the car. So the owner needs to contact their insurer and add you on to their existing policy. The owner will need to tell their insurer various details about you, e.g. full name, date of birth, type of license and time you have had the license, whether you have had any accidents or claims on other policies or cars in the last five years. There will be a charge for doing this. British driver

We did this about 5 years ago when we exchanged houses and cars with a family in London. You have to get an international drivers license, and then provide a photocopy of that to the insurance company of the England family. We had to pay a fee (I don't remember how much it was) to be added to their insurance for the duration of our time using the vehicle. traveler

I think the owner of the car will have to add you to their policy for the amount of time you are there and you can pay them the difference. That's how it works when we go to Ireland.

I've done this with my brother's car in England. He contacted his insurer and had my name put on the policy as an additional driver for a month. It was a few years ago and cost about $60. Laura

Hi. I'm originally from England and used to do this all the time when my parents visited us from Spain. The owner of the car you are borrowing will need to contact their insurance company and advise them that someone else will be driving their car for a short period of time. The insurance company will then send out a new insurance document with the additional driver's name on and will be valid for the duration of how long they will be using the car. The insurance company will charge for this and the fee depends on which insurance company. The only thing I am unsure of is how it works if the additional driver does not have a UK license Ellen

Long-term car rental in England

April 2011

We're going to be spending six months in England next year, and we'll need a car. Does anyone have any ideas about the best way to get a car for that length of time? Renting a car for six months seems insanely expensive, but most leases are for two years. It seems like their must be some other option, but I don't know what it is! Jennifer

French car companies run buy-back programs. Basically you buy a car from them, and they agree to buy it back. Of course, it does cost money, but it is cheaper than long-term rentals. It also includes good insurance, and allows for multiple drivers. (Why do car companies do this? Because it bypasses the VAT tax if the car is bought by a foreign resident.) Here are some web sites to check out.

You could also consider simply buying a used car, and then selling it when you leave. This is certainly the cheapest option, but requires more effort. Karen

Here's a potentially crazy idea; maybe someone will want to trade with you. There is a website called that helps to arrange housing swaps (among other arrangements) for people on sabbatical, and sometimes cars are included in the deal. Maybe there is someone involved in a home swap (or just visiting) from England during that period who would be willing to exchange cars for the duration. You could try contacting the people at Sabbatical Homes and ask them what they think; I met them at a conference recently and they seemed very nice and approachable. traveler

Car rental in Mexico

March 2010

We are heading to the Mexican Riviera in Nov. We're staying south of Cancun near Tulum. We do want to do a few day trips. Renting a car with two car seats seems the logical thing to do, but from what we have read Mexicans tend to be spirited drivers. Has anyone rented a car in that area or have any advice about which to choose (car or public transportation)? Thanks. Brenda

We have rented a car many times for traveling throughout the Yucatan Peninsula with our son. Do not count on getting a car seat from the car rental agency. We brought our own which checks as luggage easily on airlines. Ask for a bag to put it in when you check in. The one time we did not bring ours, we lucked out and got one from the agency. They were obviously amused that we used it for our then three year old son. Other than that driving throughout the Yucatan is a breeze. The roads are in good shape, especially the toll (cuota) roads, and Mexicans are no more crazy than their American counterparts. Having a car gives you a lot of flexibility. You will have a wonderful time.

We like to stay in Akumal near Tulum. Renting a car makes things much easier. I have two tips for renting a card in this part of the world. First, pay for the collision insurance and ignore anything about US coverage applying, as the local authorities will in any case. The local collision insurance is very very expensive, but the rental agency will take care of things no questions asked. Second tip is to go the speed limit. A speeding ticket is more inconvenient than anything. Your drivers license is taken away and you have to go to the local police station and pay a fine before you get it back. We rented a car near the Cancun airport and drove in this area several times with no problems. Rick