Last updated on March 2, 2024 by Stefano Ferro, founder of MEL365, travelling and renting cars In Italy

Understanding Rental Car Insurance in Italy – 5 top options

Navigating rental car insurance in Italy can feel like trying to decipher the Da Vinci Code, especially for first-time visitors. 

In this guide I have listed the 5 most important available options, ensuring you make an informed decision for your epic Italian journey.

From basic Third-Party Liability Insurance to all-encompassing Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), I’ll break down each option, highlighting their pros, cons, and costs.

I have also included two real-time examples for each option to better understand the differences and benefits of each choice.

Speeding inside the Kalsa - Certainly not with a car
Speeding inside the Kalsa – Certainly not with a car

Understanding Rental Car Insurance in Italy – In a Nutshell

The table below is a very quick summary of the 5 most important options for your car rental insurance in Italy.

Click on the type to discover all the pros, cons, costs and real-life examples for a better understanding.

Insurance TypeBest ForProsConsEstimated Price (per day)
Third-Party Liability InsuranceCoverage of liabilities outside the rental carCovers damages to other vehicles, property, or peopleDoesn’t cover damages to the rental car itselfUsually included in the rental price
CDW/LDWBasic protection of the rental carCovers damages to the rental carHigh deductible; doesn’t cover other vehicles, property, or people€15-€25
Zero Excess/Super CDWComprehensive coverage with minimal out-of-pocket expensesReduces or eliminates deductible for CDW/LDWAdditional cost; not available with all rental companies€10-€20
(tip below to add it for 8 Euro or less)
SLI/Excess Liability InsuranceExtra protection beyond basic third-party liabilityIncreases coverage limit for third-party liabilityAdditional cost; may be unnecessary for some€10-€20
PAIMedical expenses and personal accident coverageCovers medical expenses and personal accident compensationMay be redundant if you have travel insurance€5-€10
Summary of the possible car insurance

Third-Party Liability Insurance

Third-Party Liability Insurance, or TPL for short, covers your expenses if you accidentally damage someone’s property or cause an injury while driving. It is a great peace of mind because you will not find yourself suddenly out of pocket for damages created during your driving.

In short: TPL is a solid choice for careful drivers who value peace of mind, knowing they’re covered if something goes wrong involving others or their belongings.

Pros: The primary benefit of TPL is that it safeguards you from potentially enormous costs if you’re responsible for an accident. Moreover, it’s typically included in your rental agreement, which is a great bonus (double check however if this is the case).

Cons: The catch is that TPL doesn’t cover damage to the rental car, so it’s a good idea to explore additional insurance options for that.

Estimated price: Generally, Third-Party Liability Insurance is part of your rental fee, meaning there’s no extra cost to factor in.

Now, let me share a couple of real-life examples where TPL can make all the difference.

Let’s assume that you are renting a car in Sicily and picture yourself cruising along a quaint Sicilian street, and suddenly a cyclist appears out of nowhere. You brake, but it’s too late—you’ve collided, leaving the cyclist with minor injuries and their bike damaged. With TPL, the insurance covers the costs of the bike repair and the cyclist’s medical expenses, sparing you from an unwelcome financial burden. TPL does not cover, however, the damages to the rented car.

Imagine you’re navigating your way through a charming Tuscan village, and as you attempt a tight turn, you accidentally scrape the side of a parked car. The owner isn’t happy, and you’re looking at a sizeable bill for repairs. But don’t worry – TPL has got you covered!

In a nutshell, Third-Party Liability Insurance is a fantastic safety net for those unforeseen incidents involving other people or their property.

It is usually included in the advertised rental costs (double check). It does not cover, however, damages to the renal car, the driver and anyone in the car.

Driving along a Strada Statale, secondary road, in Italy
Driving along a Strada Statale, a secondary road, in Italy

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) insurance is like your trusty sidekick, protecting you from costly repairs if your rental car gets damaged or stolen.

In short: CDW/LDW is perfect for travellers who want to minimize financial risks while driving their rental car. Whether you’re exploring bustling cities or serene countryside roads, accidents can happen, and CDW/LDW has you covered.

Pros: The biggest advantage of CDW/LDW is that it limits your financial responsibility if the rental car gets damaged or stolen. You can drive with peace of mind knowing that you won’t be on the hook for hefty repair or replacement bills.

Cons: One downside is that CDW/LDW usually comes with a deductible. This means that the insurance does not cover 100% but only from a set amount (this can be over 100-500 Euros). I also suggest reading the fine print and see if it covers all. Sometimes tire or windshield damage is not included. Ask if unsure.

Estimated price: CDW/LDW prices vary depending on the rental company and the car, but you can expect it to cost between €10-30 per day. Sometimes the rental company adds it at no extra cost, but with a very high deductible (1,000 Euros or higher)

Let’s take a look at a couple of real-life scenarios where CDW/LDW can save the day.

Imagine you’re renting a car in Puglia and you are winding your way through the stunning countryside, soaking in the breathtaking views. Suddenly, a stray rock ricochets off the road, cracking your windshield. With CDW/LDW insurance, you can get that pesky crack fixed without breaking the bank.

You’ve just enjoyed a delightful dinner in a charming Italian town, and you’re walking back to your car. But when you arrive, you cannot find the car. It has been stolen! Thankfully, LDW insurance steps in, covering the cost of the stolen vehicle.

In conclusion, CDW/LDW insurance is a wise investment for anyone renting a car in Italy.

It shields you from significant repair or replacement costs, allowing you to fully enjoy your vacation without the constant worry of potential accidents.

Just remember to check the details of your policy and be aware of any deductibles or exclusions.

In Italy, usually, CDW/LDW is included in the rental price, however, the deductible is over 1,000 Euro. You can always reduce this amount with a better CDW.

My suggestion, however, is to add Full Coverage/Zero Excess and I found a trustable way to buy it for less than 10 Euro/day! A real bargain. Read more below.

Advertised prices of petrol on the Highway
Advertised prices of petrol on the Highway

Zero Excess or Super CDW or Full Coverage

The Full Coverage is a superhero-like upgrade that swoops in to save the day when you need extra protection while cruising around Italy in your rental car.

In short: Zero Excess/Super CDW/Full Coverage is perfect for travellers who want the ultimate peace of mind on their Italian holiday. If you want to eliminate financial risks entirely and focus on enjoying your trip, this insurance has your back.

Pros: The main advantage of Zero Excess is that it removes the deductible typically associated with standard CDW/LDW insurance. Basically, in case of any damage, you will not have to pay a single Euro. It’s all covered. Talk about stress-free driving!

Cons: The downside to this top-tier protection is the higher cost. But in my opinion, it gives such peace of mind and a no-worries experience that is totally worth it.

Estimated price: Zero Excess/Super CDW/Full Coverage insurance can cost between €20-50 per day, depending on the rental company and the vehicle you choose. But rent your car with DiscoverCars and it will cost just 7-8 Euro, which is a real bargain (read more below).

Here are a couple of real-life examples where Zero Excess/Super CDW can be a lifesaver.

Picture this: you’re zipping through the colourful streets of Rome when, out of nowhere, a scooter zooms by and accidentally clips your side mirror. With Zero Excess/Super CDW insurance, you can get that mirror replaced without having to pay a single cent. Even if the scooter rider disappears in the chaotic traffic.

You’re driving along the breathtaking Sicilian coastline, on one of the scenic drives of Sicily, admiring the crystal-clear waters. Suddenly you hit a massive pothole, causing damage to your car. Luckily, your Zero Excess/Super CDW insurance has got you covered, and you can continue your journey without worrying about repair costs.

In summary, Zero Excess/Super CDW insurance is the ideal choice for travellers who are renting a car in Italy and want complete protection and the freedom to explore Italy without financial concerns. The higher cost can be an issue, but the no-worries experience is totally worth it in my opinion.

Let me give you the best tip out of this post.

I usually book my cars from DiscoverCars. Besides the great price and the handy full reviews on the rental companies, which are very similar to AirBnb (done by people that actually rented the cars), you can also add full insurance to cover the deductible for just 7-8Euro/day, which is a real bargain.

Unfortunately, I had 2 occasions I gave back the car with damages. Once the damage was small (250 Euro) meanwhile the second time, I did not see a cement block demarking a camping area and badly scratched the entire side of the car with a 4,000 Euro damage.

On both occasions, the full coverage of DiscoverCars covered the deductible cost without any issue.

Taking the ferry from Sicily to Calabria
Taking the ferry from Sicily to Calabria

SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) or Excess Liability Insurance

Ready for a deep dive into SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) or Excess Liability Insurance? This extra layer of insurance is like having a personal bodyguard for your rental car, providing coverage in case things go awry while exploring Italy.

In short: SLI is ideal for drivers who want comprehensive liability protection beyond the standard third-party liability insurance. If you’re all about covering your bases and ensuring the maximum possible coverage, SLI is your go-to choice.

Pros: The primary benefit of SLI is that it significantly increases liability coverage, protecting you from potentially high costs in case of an accident involving third parties. With SLI, you can cruise around Italy with ease, knowing you’re protected from any unexpected surprises.

Cons: The main drawback of SLI is the additional cost.

Estimated price: SLI insurance typically costs between €10-20 per day, depending on the rental company and the vehicle you choose.

Here below are two real-life examples of how the SLI can help.

Imagine you’re driving through the picturesque streets of Verona, paying probably too much attention to the city’s stunning architecture. Suddenly, you misjudge a turn and accidentally collide with another car, causing damage to both vehicles. Thankfully, your SLI insurance covers the costs associated with the accident, so you can get back to enjoying your Italian adventure without worrying about financial fallout.

Or, let’s say that you’re cruising along a winding road in Liguria, taking in the breathtaking views, when a stray dog darts out in front of your car. Unfortunately, you can’t avoid the collision, and the dog’s owner demands compensation for veterinary bills. SLI insurance saves the day, covering the expenses and sparing you from any unexpected costs.

In a nutshell, SLI or Excess Liability Insurance provides an extra level of protection for travellers who prioritize peace of mind and want comprehensive coverage while exploring Italy.

You have to factor in an additional price, but it provides such great peace of mind.

You won’t need the SLI if you are already planning to have Full Insurance/Zero Excess

You can always find surprising cars on sale in Taormina
You can always find surprising cars on sale in Taormina

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)

Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) is like having your own personal superhero watching over you and your passengers during your Italian escapades. It offers coverage for medical expenses and accidental death benefits, ensuring that you and your travel companions are protected throughout your journey.

In short: PAI is perfect for those who want an extra layer of coverage for themselves and their passengers, especially if they don’t already have travel or health insurance that covers such incidents. It’s for the cautious traveller who prioritizes safety and well-being while adventuring around Italy.

Pros: The primary advantage of PAI is the financial protection it provides in case of an accident. It covers medical expenses, accidental death benefits, and even ambulance costs for you and your passengers, giving you complete peace of mind. With PAI, you can focus on enjoying the breathtaking beauty of Italy, knowing you’re covered in case of any unforeseen mishaps.

It’s essential to mention that PAI may already be included in your travel insurance policy, assuming you have one. Before opting for additional PAI coverage, it’s wise to review your existing travel insurance policy to avoid unnecessary duplication of coverage and costs.

Cons: The main downside of PAI is the extra cost. Personally, doesn’t matter what kind of trip, I always suggest organising travel insurance, and in this case, the PAI becomes redundant.

Estimated price: PAI insurance usually ranges from €5-15 per day, depending on the rental company and the specific policy details.

To give you a better idea of how PAI can be a lifesaver, here are two real-life examples.

Picture yourself renting a car in Sardinia and driving through the scenic countryside of the island, soaking in the gorgeous landscapes. Out of nowhere, another car loses control and collides with your rental. Your passengers sustain minor injuries that require medical attention. Thanks to your PAI coverage, the medical expenses are taken care of, allowing you and your passengers to recover without worrying about the costs.

Or, let’s say you’re exploring the ancient streets of Arezzo with your friends when a sudden, unexpected storm hits. As you navigate through the heavy rain, your car skids and crashes into a roadside barrier. Unfortunately, one of your passengers is injured. PAI steps in to cover the medical expenses and even possible ambulance fees.

In conclusion, Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) is an excellent choice for the safety of travellers.

It offers peace of mind and financial protection, ensuring that you can focus on making unforgettable memories during your vacation.

Before purchasing PAI, make sure to review your existing travel insurance policy to see if you’re already covered.

After all, a little extra protection can go a long way in ensuring you enjoy your trip to the fullest!

Petrol stations in Italy have self-service areas - cheaper - and fully serviced areas - more expensive
Petrol stations in Italy have self-service areas – cheaper – and fully serviced areas – more expensive
Stefano Ferro - MEL365.com Founder and Editor

About the Author

Stefano is a seasoned travel expert and the visionary founder of MEL365.com, a leading travel website with traffic across 6 continents. With a rich background in the travel industry, Stefano spent four pivotal years at Amadeus Travel Distribution System, gaining invaluable insights into travel technologies and distribution.

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