There is nothing truly like driving around the Italian country and seaside in your own ride. For tourists and visitors, this is often done by renting a car. It’s a great way to venture outside the tourist-orientated areas and see the country of Italy for what really makes it a good place to live. Of course, your vacation also has some added accessibility and more destinations. At the same time, Italy has its own car insurance providers and coverage. It’s no mystery that your car insurance from home won’t follow you to Italy, so there is also the matter of getting proper coverage while visiting Italy. This post looks at renting, driving, and insuring a car while taking a vacation in Italy. 

Where to Rent Cars When in Italy

Hertz is one such rental car company that we’ve seen a lot of on our shores that operates in Italy. The largest rental car company in Europe is Europcar. Several tourists who will be driving in Europe often go with this for long-term rental periods. There are also some online resources to help foreigners find the best Italian car suited to them and their trip budget. and Autoeurope are online comparison tools that can help find the best rental car in a timely manner. As a good rule of thumb, it helps to book the rental well in advance of the trip itself. These rental car companies can often be found at airports where they have their largest selections. 

Driving in Milan

Choosing Your Rental Car in Italy 

The driving they do in Italy is a little different from the driving we do in the United States. Although you don’t have to drive on the other side of the road, the roads are narrower, and the turns are more winding. Because of this, you will see that compact cars are the most popular choice for a rental. Of course, visitors who need more space for their luggage can go with larger cars, but they may be driving somewhat below the speed limit. In addition to easy driving and handling, you also want the rental to be easy to park. When it comes to parking in Italy, let’s just say that it is easier said than done. On-street parking tends to be more chaotic and even costs more. Underground parking garages during excursions are highly recommended. So, you’ll also want a rental car that is easy to park. 

Rental Car Insurance Requirements in Italy 

Every driver in Italy must carry a collision damage waiver, which functions similarly to liability car insurance coverage in the US. This provides insurance for any damage, injuries, or even fatalities caused while driving on the roads of Italy. Car rental companies often offer this coverage as their vehicle is being checked out. Extra protection can, of course, be added to the rental car’s policy, and there are certain international insurance companies in Italy that specialize in such as WorldNomads. A rental car’s collision damage waiver can have a daily rate of anywhere from $15 to $30. 

Driving in Italy, Amalfi Coast

Other Paperwork For Rental Car Insurance in Italy 

Other paperwork needed to get a rental car, and the appropriate insurance in Italy includes the international driving permit. They don’t check for it at the time when you are renting a car and even allow you to drive without it. It’s when you find yourself in an accident that it becomes essential. Being caught up in a car accident without an international driving permit can result in a significant fine. This permit is easy to acquire as it can be obtained from your state’s DMV or the AAA website. The driver must be over the age of 18 and have been a licensed driver for at least a year. There is also a small fee accompanying the permit. Whenever you are doing international driving, this paperwork is essential. 

Driving in Italy near Rome

Things to Remember About Driving in Italy 

Aside from hundreds of Vespa scooters zipping around, there are other differences and ways in which Italy governs its traffic that differ from the US. Being in Europe, Italy uses the metric system and kilometers to measure their distance and speeds. It should be known that one km is equal to about 0.6 of a mile. The Italian traffic police also pay close attention to seat belts and car seats for passengers under 12. There is no such thing as “right turns on red” in Italy; drivers must wait until the light is green. Speed limits are generally 50 km/h (30 mph) in cities and towns, 90 km/h (55 mph) on roads, and from 110 – 130 km/h (80 mph) on highways.

What’s more, the BAC limit is 0.05 as opposed to 0.08. Italy also has what is known as limited traffic zones where major traffic restrictions are in place. This is usually the case for the cities. Rental car companies are notified of any violations and relay the fine over to you in the event. Gas prices tend to be higher in Europe and are measured in liters and not gallons. Despite all these differences, this doesn’t mean that your good driving habits won’t translate over to Italy. 

Article by M. Duek for

Featured image by Diego Fiore / Depositphotos

travel advisor in italyCiao, I’m Celia, your travel advisor in Italy! Need help planning your trip to Italy? Learn about what to do and see, and where to eat and sleep. Ask me a question or request a custom travel plan. Book a consultation.