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Updated : 12/07/2016


Car rental abroad

Booking ahead

If you have booked a car online, by phone or mail order in the EU, you do not automatically have the right to cancel and claim a refund, although the car hire company's terms and conditions may allow it.

Car hire is not covered by EU rules entitling you to a 14-day "cooling off" period when you order goods and services online, by phone or mail order.

Renting a car in a non-EU country

If you live in the EU and you rent a car in a non-EU country, such as Switzerland, special rules apply when driving it in EU countries.

If you plan to travel with your rental car both in EU and non-EU countries – for example from Switzerland to France, Germany, Austria or Italy – you need to tell the rental company in advance. They can provide you with an EU-registered car in order to comply with EU customs laws. Most car rental companies in Switzerland provide cars with EU number plates for EU residents in order to comply with EU customs rules, but you should check with your car rental company.

The car rental company must also ensure that the car complies with customs and traffic rules of the country where you will travel. For example, in France cars need to carry a mandatory breathalyser test, while in Germany and Austria winter tyres are required during certain months of the year.

Leasing a car

Leasing - a long-term rental with the option of buying the car at the end of the contract - may be difficult if you plan to move to another country with the leased car.

Because you are obliged to insure and register the car in your country of residence, you may encounter problems if your insurance is not valid in the country you want to move to.

Leasers may also be reluctant to agree to your registering the car in another EU country.

Driving licence validity

If you are planning to rent and drive a car in another EU country, you will also need to check that your driving licence is valid there.

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In this case, the 27 EU member states + Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway

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