Sicily (Palermo, Catania, Trapani) car rental without credit card and deposit? How to rent a car in Sicily?

Is it possible to rent a car in Sicily without blocking the deposit on the credit card? Yes of course! It is not as easy as in Majorca (as I wrote in the entry: Car hire without credit card and deposit - Majorca, Spain) but possible. However, before we get into the details of rental offers, you need to be aware of a very important thing.

Driving a car around Sicily

Get ready for adrenaline! It doesn't matter if you are a driver or a passenger. Emotions are guaranteed. In Italy, the nonchalance with which drivers treat the rules is well known, but what is happening in Sicily passes the human concept. Road signs are probably only used by tourists here, thus introducing chaos to the actions of the locals. It would occur to the village that someone seeing the sign "STOP" or "give way," or slow down (horror), would stop before the intersection. Expect that you will miss the left side with very surprised eyes. Anyway, often locals seeing that the car is from the rental company immediately know that you will slow down "STOP" before the intersection and immediately, preventively make a dodge to the left and rush sharply ahead.
Another example is even more interesting. Imagine you are driving through Palermo on a wide one-way road that has 3 one-way lanes. You drive politely in the middle lane and ... suddenly you see the guy 200m stop in front of you in the same middle (!!!) lane. He puts on emergency lights and goes to talk to a friend who is standing in front of his stall, trading some crap on the pavement. The car centrally collapses the middle lane. In panic I run away from the belt and brutally force priority on the guy on the left. I barely made it. I hear the horn behind me! But no! It's NOT ON ME !!! The guy behind me with a bored face probably didn't even register that there was a threat. Normally, someone (or me) just cut himself into centimeters, with a snout in front of the mask ... a normal matter. Sicily! Who, then, trumpeted ??? This is another friend from the car left. Because this trumpet is customary in Sicily greeting is! The type on the sidewalk delighted, waved a friend's hand, smiled and it's fun. I just dropped out.
After a while I was braking at breakneck speed because - this time in front of my mask - someone was escaping from the belt next to me. Wonderful! I thought: I'll hug him, what! The horn screamed furiously and everyone around… accepted my greeting, blindly waving his hand in a friendly gesture and smiling! It turned out that I am a pretty cool guy! I barely arrive and greet everyone on the street. Charmingly!
The whole works on the first kilometers after picking up the car on the way from the airport. I quickly realized that I was in an alternative world of traffic and from now on my eyes will be in the ass. And I swear there is no colored plot here.
You will come across such things for sure. They will not miss you. You just drive there and after 2 days you won't even be surprised when, waiting for the van for the exit from the roundabout, it turns out that the van that has entered the roundabout in front of you will not leave it at all. The guy just stopped at the roundabout and just started selling melons and watermelons straight from the car. At the roundabout !!! Me pier ... And that one lane is blocked? There is also a second… 😀

### important fragment of the text added in 2021, during the pandemic ###

Beware of pandemic car rental prices !!!

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned car rental prices upside down. The increase in car rental prices is huge. Official announcements say that the price increase is due to the need to maintain high sanitary standards. In my opinion, the strict sanitary requirements do not justify such an increase in the cost of car rental. What kind of growth are we dealing with? The 5-day rental I did during my trip just before the pandemic cost me less than EUR 70 (with full insurance). Today, for exactly the same rent, I see prices in the range of 400 - 450 EUR. Horror! Why is it like that? I am convinced that the rental companies compensate for a smaller number of customers with a higher price. One rental must now "compensate" for the reduced demand.

Is there a way to get high prices during COVID-19?

I have re-analyzed the offers of a dozen of the best car rentals and a few of the best price comparison websites. I found one common denominator. In fact, the prices are very high all the time, but drastically falling (by 50% or even more)just before the planned departure. The lowest prices are more or less 5-10 days before the planned departure and they drop to around 50 EUR for one day of rental, with full insurance option. Any price at this level or lower should now (especially in the summer season) be considered attractive (of course if applies to rental with full insurance). Advance booking 1-5 days is very risky and prices in such short notice often (although not everywhere) increase again.

Such price behavior in 2021 does not guarantee that the situation will repeat itself in 2022 and in the following years. So let's observe price changes yourself and choose the best time to book.

The offer of the rental company I chose and described below is still the best, but unfortunately it is more expensive than it was.

From comparison websites, I recommend that you look for two: Discover Cars - [click] and Rentalcars - [click]. They have wide offers, and at the same time have signed contracts with various groups of rental companies. Thanks to this, you check various offers from different groups. A particularly interesting alternative is here Discover Cars - [click]because it has contracts with many local, small rental companies. It is possible that some local promotion can be scored. The other comparison engines are practically a copy of what you will find in Rentalcars - [click].

All the other comments and advice that I have included later in this post still apply, so it is obligatory to read the rest. You will find my complaints there that 50 EUR a day is expensive, but I would like to remind you that this was related to the situation before COVID-19. We currently have a different situation.

### end of the fragment added in 2021 ###

Car rental in Sicily

The above introduction was made for a specific purpose. This goal is to convince you to rent a car from full insurance package (called SCDW for short). In Sicily, the likelihood of catching even an accidental scratch is definitely higher than elsewhere. You can drive carefully and just be unlucky, and it's not difficult in Sicily. By the way, I think that car rental companies should be obliged to rent cars only in a package with full insurance. Unfortunately this is not the case. For this reason, it is worth paying attention to the amount of deposit required (we will return to this topic later in the article).
A common practice in car rental policies is:
- very low price of the basic variant (to attract a customer, the offer is then at the top of the search results)
- high amount of the security deposit on the credit card (if it turns out that in practice such a large deposit on the card cannot be assumed, the customer is forced to take out full insurance, which causes a decrease - even to zero - of the security deposit on the card).

I found myself in such a situation when renting. I forgot that I used to pay for something with a credit card some time ago and when renting a car, it turned out that I lack the balance to set up a security in the rental (just part of the balance took the payment I forgot). So I bought full insurance on the spot to reduce the deposit amount (the required deposit for this option was falling from EUR 800 to EUR 100). It took place in Sicily. Finally, it turned out to be good, because as I described above, after a few moments I thanked providence for having full insurance.

A bit of peace on the street in Palermo, Sicily

Rent a car without a credit card and a deposit

Network rentals practically do not offer such a possibility. Recently, however, there has been some progress in this matter and a well-known rental company Centauro - [click] started to provide such a service in Italy, including Sicily (this option is called "Premium"). At the moment, it offers very decent prices and I must admit that the offer looks very interesting, and by booking in advance you often get an automatically added discount. Side Centaur is available in several languages, so when you go to their website, change the language to the most convenient for you.

The Centauro offer is also available through the car rental price comparison website DiscoverCars - [click]. Anyway, I recommend comparing the offer also in DiscoverCars, because often in the comparison engine the same offer is even slightly cheaper, and by the way you will compare it with the offers of other car rental companies.

Car rental offer from Centauro, at Palermo airport, for 7 days (May 2023), with full insurance and no deposit. Price below 50 EUR per day looks really good!
The rental conditions in the Premium option are simple, clear and transparent: no deposit and full insurance

Offers from other rental companies

Of course, the above offer may not suit you, or you do not have time to wait for an answer, or simply the rental company does not have free cars in the period you are interested in (which is highly likely with demand in the season). You can take advantage of one of the other rental offers. There are many offers. Total I found 24 various rental companiesthat provide car rental in Sicily, with pickups in different cities: Catania, Palermo, Trapani. I reviewed all offers in terms of the requirements for credit card deposits, insurance and personal participation in the event of an accident or theft. I systematized the collected information in the form of a table so that it would be easier to choose the most interesting offer. However, before I present the results table, I need a few words of explanation about the data that is in it.

What is a credit card deposit?

deposit is the amount that the rental company blocks on the credit card. This amount does not disappear from your card. It's still there, but is not usable.

Suppose you have a credit card with a PLN 3000 limit. You rent a car from the rental company, and in the conditions of the rental there is information about the deposit in the amount of 500 EUR. You pick up the car and the rental company will deposit a deposit on the card, in accordance with the EUR 500 contract. Your card still has 3000 PLN but 500 EUR * 4,3 = 2 100 PLN is blocked and as long as the blockade is not removed, you cannot use these funds. PLN 900 is available to you.

If you had a plan to pay with the same card for a hotel that costs PLN 1500, for example will not succeed. The deposit will be removed at the earliest about 24 hours after the return of the car, and often it takes even more than a week. It is worth remembering and it is best to pay for other obligations to have a different (debit) penalty or a correspondingly higher limit on your credit card.

What is the deposit on the credit card for?

In this way, rental companies protect themselves against dishonest customers. If the customer does not fulfill the terms of the contract, the costs associated with it rental deducts from the deposit. Suppose you are 8 hours late with returning the car. The agreement provides for an additional fee. The rental company may charge a fee from the deposit regardless of your will.
Another example: you picked up the car with a full tank of gas and returned it with an empty one. The rental charges the value of full refueling and the additional service cost. It now comes out more or less as if a liter of fuel cost 2 EUR. So e.g. the 50 L * 2 EUR / L = 100 EUR fuel tank. That much more or less disappears from the deposit. Examples can be multiplied (scratches on the car, broken mirror, broken glass, damaged upholstery, etc.).

Own contribution and car insurance

In addition to the deposit, which is blocked directly on your credit card, renting a car involves taking on yourself liabilities with so-called own contribution.
Own contribution applies to:
- destruction or damage to the car
- car theft

Each rental has its own amount of own contribution. Separately for destruction and separately for car theft.
This is the cost that you agree to pay the maximum if one of the above events occurs.
The assumption is that if the costs resulting from the removal of damage are greater than the own contribution you assumed in the contract, you are only liable up to the amount of your own contribution, and the remaining costs are covered by insurance.
Currently, practically all rentals include the cost of this insurance in basic vehicle price (the cheapest one you see on the throne). This insurance is mandatory and applies to all rented vehicles.

Vehicle damage insurance - CDW

This is it basic insuranceto which the vehicle is covered (often on the website of the rental company is called Full Insurance, which can be misleading, I feel allergic, it is common practice). The practice of calling basic insurance full is probably intended to suggest to the customer that at a similar price he is purchasing a better insurance package. Then the offer seems more attractive, but in fact it is not. So let's check if the insurance called full insurance is insurance CDW or actually full (SCDW - about which I will write a little below).
I did not find an offer where the insurance would be subject to a surcharge. Everywhere it was at the basic price of the vehicle.
CDW is an abbreviation of the English name Collision Damage Waiver. Having this insurance limits your liability for damage to the amount of your own contribution.
However, if it wasn't too colorful, it would be from this insurance are off the most common: windows, tires and chassis. There may be more exclusions. This means that if, for example, during a collision the damage touched the elements that are excluded from insurance, then for their repair you will pay extra.
Of course, if the event was not your fault and you have a police report for it, then the rental company he has no right to deduct any money. Then the offender pays.

If you have been driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, no insurance works. You pay the full amount of repair costs.

Theft insurance - TP

It is an insurance which in the event of the theft of a vehicle limits your financial liability to the amount of your own contribution.
The name of the insurance is short for the English version Theft Waiver.
The cost of this insurance is included in basic vehicle rental price.
I did not find an offer where the insurance would be subject to a surcharge. Everywhere it was at the basic price of the vehicle.

Full damage insurance - SCDW

This type of insurance totally or partially bear your responsibility for car damage and that is real full damage insurance.
The name comes from the English version: Super Collision Damage Waiver.
In most cases, your liability after purchasing this insurance is reduced to zero, less often to a symbolic amount of around 100 - 500 EUR (depending on the brand and price of the new vehicle).
Rentals, which basic insurance is called incorrectly (or intentionally) full, are called this type of insurance: All Inclisive, Super, All Protection ... etc.
When booking on the site Rentalcars, you can buy full insurance with every rental SCDW. However, you should be aware that this is the insurance you buy in Rentalcars, not at the target rental company. What does it mean? This means that if there is damage or theft to the car, the rental will download from your account the amount up to the amount of own contribution, and for the return of this amount within the possessed you must apply to Rentalcars.
If you want to take out full insurance SCDW directly in the rental, you have to do it on site, when renting. You will then avoid any possible withdrawal of your own deposit from your account and claiming a refund from the insurer. Unfortunately, most rental companies even on their own websites do not allow you to buy this insurance online and you have to do it on the spot when picking up the car. For this rental prices through Rentalcars are lower than directly on the rental site, so anyway it's profitable make a basic booking through Rentalcars.
I checked the cost of buying full SCDW insurance at several rental companies. On average, it is a cost of EUR 30 for basic car models. The detailed amounts are given in the table below.

RentalCost of SCDW [EUR / day]

Travel Insurance - PAI

Often, when renting, insurance for people traveling with a rented car is also offered. It has nothing to do with the car itself, it only applies to people. If you buy insurance for yourself before traveling, you do not need it.
The abbreviation comes from the English name: Personal Accident Insurance.
This insurance is often included in the package with SCDW.

Comparison of car rental offers in Sicily

In the table below I have listed the rental's requirements regarding the amount of the deposit on the credit card and own contributions in the event of damage and theft. I ranked them in order from lowest to highest deposit.
By clicking on the name of the rental company you are interested in, you will go to a search engine in which you simply enter the place of pickup and date. This way you will get car rental prices only for this rental, without unnecessary offers from other companies. In addition, going down the page you will learn the reviews and opinions of other customers who used the services of the selected rental company.
It should be noted that the values ​​in the table apply to version loans with basic insurance. By choosing and buying full insurance (SCDW, in the form of: All Inclisive, Super, All Protection ... etc.), all amounts related to your liability (deposit and own contribution) drop significantly, sometimes even to zero.
I will give a specific example below.

(deposit) [EUR]
Own contribution
Damage [EUR]
Own contribution
Theft [EUR]
Maggiore - [click]12010001900
Hertz - [click]20013002000
Avis - [click]25010001900
Budget - [click]25012202318
Alamo - [click]50012001600
Autovia - [click]50013901500
Ecovia - [click]50013901500
Enterprise - [click]50010001600
Europcar - [click]50010982086
Locauto - [click]50010001600
Firefly - [click]60016001600
JoyRent - [click]60015001800
Noleggiare - [click]60013001600
Dollar - [click]70013002000
Thrifty - [click]70013002000
Sicily By Car - [click]80010981708
Italy Car Rent - [click]90015001500
InterRent - [click]95011001100
Sixt - [click]100010001900
TargetRent - [click]100016951830
Centauro - [click]105010501650
Goldcar - [click]110011002500
Rhodium - [click]110011002500
Green Motion - [click]120012001200

Please note that the values ​​given in the table concern car rental in Sicily. Renting in another region or another country may affect the level of required deposit and the amount of own deposits. I expect it may be lower in other countries. Especially where compliance with traffic regulations is more serious 🙂

Search results extension

Suppose you searched the database for the rental company you were interested in (you clicked on the company name in the table above and the search engine opened. You entered the name of the city where you want to pick up the car and completed the pickup and return date of the car). The obtained result turned out to be unsatisfactory or there were no free cars and at the indicated time you want to expand your search results. It is very easy!
In the left panel, described as "Supplier Name"Are the names of companies in which they are within this period there is a slow caro and the price of the cheapest option.
The position of the panel on the search results page is indicated by the arrow in the picture below.

Check the name of the next rental shop in the table above and mark it in the left panel. Finished!
You can select more than one name and compare prices only for those rentals that interest you (as in the picture below).

What would I do?

I'm not saying that my choice is the best, because everyone has their own priorities, but I think that these few sentences can help you make your own choice.
Below I have described the way I selected the offer in 2019. Then the prices were a bit lower (now unattainable), but I leave the description, because it illustrates well how to get to the best offer. Today I would start my search with an offer Centaurthen i would check it out DiscoverCars and finally (if I considered it necessary) I would verify it on Rentalcars.
Who knows, maybe the rental offer described below would be the best again? I do not exclude. However, it is always worth checking and not overpaying.

Sicily By Car rental

After delving into the topic, the choice fell on the rental: Sicily By Car - [click]. In the basic version of the rental, their offer does not shine with attractiveness (it can be seen in the table above, where I compared the basic rental offers of all rental companies), but in the variant with full insurance the situation is radically positive.
As one of the few in Sicily offers on Rentalcars version of the loan with full insurance. On Rentalcars this offer is visible with an additional description in a separate frame: "The price includes AC and theft insurance with zero own contribution". The offer looks like the picture below. The note you are interested in is indicated by the red arrow.

An offer with full insurance must have an additional description similar to that

This is the rental offer for 4 days. So the price for one day is 59,87 PLN (!!!). Calculated in euros, this gives a price 13,7 EUR / day. Compared to the offer I mentioned above for EUR 50 per day, you can see the gap between these two proposals.

In the search results you will also find cheaper offers from Sicily By Carthat do not have this description. These are offers that we are not interested in because they require a large deposit on the credit card and have a high own contribution. Looking through the offer database, look for the offer with the annotation as above.

Direct rental on the rental site

I also checked the price of the same rental option, but directly on the site Sicily By Car. It seems that the rental company has a sales policy, which is supposed to lead to ordering via a price comparison site, because directly on the rental site, renting comes much more expensive.
The same car class, the same date and the same rental conditions directly on the site Sicily By Car, would require payment of EUR 81,06 (i.e. over 22 EUR more expensive), exactly as you can see in the picture below.

Offer directly on the Sicily By Car website

The sales policy through Rentalcars comparison engine is not particularly surprising to me. Offer Sicily By Car compared to other rentals it looks very favorable, and the traffic generated by the price comparison website, which operates in several dozen languages, is incomparably larger than the website of a single rental.

There are no perfect offers

Of course, as you can guess, the offer Sicily By Car there are no pluses. It also has minuses (two minuses) that you should be aware of. Let's take care of them.

Credit card
Rental requires a credit card. Fortunately, virtually any traditional credit card is able to meet the requirements set by the rental company. Due to the fact that we have chosen the option with full insurance, the deposit will be created on the card by the rental company will only amount to EUR 300. This is a limit that is generally available to anyone with a credit card.
I consciously accept this requirement. It is not high and I can handle it.

Own contribution
It is true that the information next to the rental offer clearly says that "the excess is zero", but Sicily is such a specific place that this provision applies to Sicily only partially. In case of car theft in most parts of Italy, our liability is indeed EUR 0, but Sicily is an exception. Our participation will be minimal but greater than zero. It will amount to EUR 200.
OK then let's count.
Instead of 50 EUR (when renting without a credit card) I will pay for the day 13,7 EUR in Sicily By Car. I have a discount of EUR 36,3 daily.
Renting a car for a week I save on the rental price 7 * 36,3 = 254,1 EUR.
Even if they stole my car (and that would be an unlucky bad luck), I will pay 200 EUR with my own contribution, which means that I will get cheaper by EUR 54 than renting EUR 50 a day.
This example clearly shows how the rental price is EUR 50 / day absurd. For a rental to make sense at this price, they would have to steal this car from me twice 😀

Information on these two restrictions can be found on the information card related to this rental offer, the screenshot of which is given below. I have highlighted the records that interest us in red.

Rental in Sicily has different rules than in most of Italy.

I have noticed other weaknesses of this offer. And as I mentioned earlier, knowing about these two drawbacks, I consciously choose this offer. At the moment I think it is unrivaled.
But remember that Rental offers are constantly changing. Each rental company has a separate pricing policy and undertakes competitive activities against others. Just because Sicily By Car was the best at the moment does not mean that it will be the best forever.
It is worth browsing the database Discover Cars i Rentalcars. In my experience, it's best to focus on offers that have additional information that the offer includes full insurance with zero own contribution. Such insurance reduces the amount of the deposit, sometimes up to EUR 0. Then you don't even need a credit card to rent (making a deposit on EUR 0 does not make sense). In this case, thanks to the offer with full insurance, the value of the deposit in Sicily By Car declined z 900 up to EUR 300.
In addition, deductible in the case of theft fell from 1700 EUR up to EUR 200 for Sicily and in most of Italy up to EUR 0. Own contribution in the event of a road collision fell from 1100 EUR up to EUR 0.

I rented a car according to my own directions. How did it go?

There is no better method than to check everything in practice, preferably on your own. Following the rules I described, I rented a car for myself in Bari. I did exactly as described above, step by step, identically.
Do you want to know what came out of it? I described everything in a separate entry, publishing copies of booking documents, booking confirmation, car pickup, copies of documents from the rental company on site, in Italy. I carried out the final settlement with a description of when and how the deposits were opened and released, and what downloads were made. Full photo documentation and a whole lot of practical tips. Juicy and dripping with specificity entry.

Be sure to read: Bari - Italy: Rent a car without a credit card and no deposit?

You know everything

Now that you have full knowledge about rental options, how to read offers and verify their profitability, all you have to do is look for the best offer for you and visit, explore, explore in the warm Sicilian sun.
Way to