10 surprises of renting a car in Dublin

Last weekend we made a failed but very educational attempt of renting a car in Dublin.  Since renting a car in US is a relatively straight forward proposition, we reserved one in Dublin airport for a sweet price of $10/ day and went over to pick it up.  Several frustrating hours later here’s what we’ve learned:

  1. Some cities or towns will not have any rental car agencies that would rent to people without local comprehensive insurance, i.e. tourists.  Larger cities or main locations of the agencies, such as at Dublin airport, might.
  2. The price quoted by online aggregators such as Expedia or Kayak is only a fraction of a true cost.  In reality, after additional fees and insurance, you may be paying twice or thrice the quote.
  3. There are several layers of insurance offered some of which are mandatory and others are not.  On average, the mandatory coverage with substantial deductibles costs 20 to 30 euros per day.
  4. Insurance companies are affiliated with the car rental companies.  It is possible to go with the third party insurance, also Irish, but it’s still somewhat expensive and if the accident actually happens, is difficult to untangle.
  5. Your US car insurance will not cover the Irish car rental.
  6. Your US  credit cards -except for one- also will not cover the rental.
  7. The only credit card company that will cover you is Mastercard World.
  8. If you want to get coverage from Mastercard, the rental car will place a hold on the card ranging from 3,000 to 20,000 Euros to compensate it for any damages to the car.
  9. Based on online comments, the rental cars can be in less than perfect conditions, with scratches, dings, etc.
  10. If you jump through all these hoops, in addition to insurance charges, you may still be charged with the location charge (e.g. airport), age charge (if you are younger than 25), fuel charge (which gets refunded if you bring back the car with a full tank).

Based on that we actually decided not to rent any cars and instead  rely on the combination of trains which are excellent, buses, and taxis.