Renting a car in Europe
Published November 01, 2012
Have Valid I.D.
There are many options of car rental companies both on and off Spangdahlem AB. To rent a vehicle on base, you need a valid USAREUR driver's license. Businesses outside the installation require that you have a valid U.S. license and an international driver's permit. This official document certifies the validity of your U.S. license in ten different languages.
You will need this document when traveling across borders in Europe whether renting a car or not, so it is a good idea to get that document as soon as you can. Contact the 52nd Security Forces Squadron Driver's Testing office about both the USAREUR license and how to obtain an international driver's permit.
Where to Rent
For on-base car rental, call Enterprise Rent-a-Car at 011-49-6565-4388. The office is open 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Friday and 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Saturday.
Local cities and airports have rental agencies as well. The closest off-base vehicle rental agency is located in Bitburg.
Gas prices are more expensive in Europe, so a smaller vehicle with a standard transmission and one that uses diesel is best for fuel savings. If you cannot drive a manual, cars with automatic transmissions are not as available and cost more to rent. A smaller car is also easier to maneuver on narrow village roads and into tight parking.
With TDY or PCS orders, you are authorized fuel rations for your rental car when renting a vehicle on base. To get your fuel ration card you will need to take the rental agreement, ID card, vehicle registration and orders to the customs office.
Restrictions, Rates and Insurance
Before making a reservation, discuss restrictions or requirements such as international driving restrictions, insurance and age requirements. There are minimum and maximum age requirements for drivers of rental cars per country, vehicle type and rental agency. Drivers younger than 25 may be charged extra fees and cannot rent luxury vehicles.
Skip the additional driver fee and authorize only one driver for the vehicle to save extra money. Some rental rates include collision damage waiver insurance and theft protection, which is required in some countries. Check your credit card companies - they may offer CDW coverage and verify how much is covered. If they do, you can use that card to pay for the rental fee and be covered through your card company's policy.
Check with your insurance company to make sure they provide international insurance. If you have opened a policy on your personal auto that is being shipped to your duty station, you may already have CDW coverage. Read the fine print and do your research before signing the rental agreement.
Seatbelts and Car Seats
Seatbelts are mandatory at all times for all riders in the vehicle. If you or your passengers fail to wear a seatbelt, it can result in a fine and a driving privilege suspension of up to 180 days.
Use of child safety restraint systems is mandatory while operating a POV in USAREUR. Germany has authorized the use of Department of Transportation approved child restraint systems.
German Law and USAFE Instruction 31-202 require children younger than 12 years of age and under 4' 11" (or 150 centimeters) to be in a car/booster seat designated for use with a vehicle's three-point (lap and shoulder) seatbelts. Booster seats will not be used with two-point seatbelts (lap belts).
Children must be older than 12 years old to ride in the front seat. Be sure to bring the appropriate car seat/booster seat (if your children weigh more than 48 lbs.).