purchase or rent a car

04/02/2013 - 23:46

Hello, I am an Italian-Canadian (dual citizenship, registered on the AIRE in Italy, with a carta d'identita' and paying IMU as prima casa). We recently purchased a home in southern Umbria (a dream come true) that we are currently using as a holiday home for now with the intention of of spending 6 months in Italy when we retire in five years time. We currently spend about eight weeks in Italy and we were wondering if it would be worth while to purchase a small used car to get around instead of renting. It is still not clear to me how much it would cost to own a car in Italy (taxes, registration and insurance)and although I read that insurance is expensive I find that to be a relative statement and doesn't really help me. I would appreciate any light anyone can shed on this very complicated topic.



If you buy a little car - an old panda or fiat uno etc - it wil cost about 350 for the passaggio di proprietà.  You will have the bollo - car tax - annually - which is calculated on horsepower - so about 170 euros, and the insurance - which will start at class 14 and be about 500 euros pa for an ancient runabout. (3rd party only) If you buy a car over 25 years old you can enter under the classic cars and pay flat rates of bollo and insurance if you dont exceed a certain mileage which in your case would be quite limited.  My advice would be buy an old old car - fiat 500 original, fiat 600 original, ancient old merc 250 and that bizarrely will be cheaper to run than a jaloppy from 10 years ago.  If you want something reliable and relatively new your prices go way up. 

...exactly what is this "Class" . We completed an online request for a quote from directline.it and were stummped at this "Class" question. Seem there was 1-17(?) and at 1 the quote was superb, not quite so at the top number (I think 17). We bought a 2005 Punto circa 3000 and it cost us €250 to transfer, can't recall the extra tax. Insurance through Italsure (now Clements) cost around £400 (varies as cost is in dollars). Only other thing to think of is leaving it for any length of time, even under cover in winter it can be difficult. 

Thank you for the information.  We have access to a covered parking spot so hopefully that will do.  It took me two years to get a carta d'identita' so who knows how long it will take to get all this figured out but it is always interesting.  Thanks again!

You need properly to compare costs with renting. A week's rental of a new Fiat Panda from Hertz is betwen 220 and 300 euros depending on time of year.  So for 8 weeks the total costs would be about 2,000 euros. To this, rather than paying for additonal protection for collision damage waiver, you could take out one annual policy which costs about £40 (at least from the UK - see eg: https://www.questor-insurance.co.uk/buy-insurance/hire-car-hire-excess.aspx). You are then fully covered - effectively on a comprehensive basis rather thanthird party only. You have then have to compare this with the costs of:

  • purchase price of car
  • bollo/tax
  • insurance
  • breakdown insurance
  • road tax
  • getting to and from the airport (unless you want to pay a year's worth of airport parking charges)
  • service and repairs
  • new tyres
  • depreciation

and also of course the administrative and mental commitment of dealing with your own car in Italy from abroad. I did read that most car hire companies receive their cars free from the manufacturer which is why they can offer such good rates. If you do rent, I would strongly recommend one of the majors eg Hertz, Avis or Europcar - don't use vouchers and don't use Goldcar since you can be stung very hard indeed for tiny blemishes on return.  There are a number of threads on this in this Community. Note If you need a big car then costs do change dramatically - renting a people carrier can be twice as much as a small car but buying costs may not be all that much different if you buy an old car. Good luck!

Thank you!  We have rented several times over the past 12 years and I always feel like it is a waste of money.  Also, I never really feel secure and always feel that someone has their hand in my pocket,  even if we are fully insured .  We took my 80 year old uncle for a drive to his home town in Abruzzo and in so doing we went through a limited traffic zone(in and out).  We knew what we were doing but my uncle has a handicap permit and we spoke with the traffic police and later sent a copy of his permit to the provincial prefect.  Well, two months later we get a notice in the mail from the car rental company saying that an amount of 120 euros was charged to our credit card (the card that we used to rent the car and that they keep on file) and that we would receive a two traffic violations in the mail from the province for approx. 300euros(going into and coming out of a limited traffic zone).  We contested the violation with the prefecture and we did not have to pay the violation since we could prove that we had faxed a copy of my uncle's permit and they could tell from the street camera that he was actually in the car but the rental car company still charged us the 120euros for administration fees (admin fees = giving the prefecture our information).  Thank you for the information, we have a little homework to do!

The company with whom I am insured does allow this according to their terms and conditions (though I have never done it!) It costs €25 to reactivate it, so short term suspensions are probably not economically efficient, It's a nice company, with a great online site, try it.  http://www.genialloyd.it/GlfeWeb/gl/it/home/prodotti/polizze/auto.html The fascicolo informativo is the document to read - it is a pdf so just search on sospensione.

I've never done it but Canadian friends who spend 3 months in Italy from September always lease a car. Not the same as car hire and that's all I know but you might want to look into it.