Israel Car Rental
My Top Tips and Recommendations

Israel Car Rental is very similar to renting a car in most Western countries. Since the country is relatively small and the distances between points short, you can travel to most destinations by car quite easily. Most of the major International companies like Hertz, Budget, and Avis provide car rental in Israel. Their base rates are comparable to rates in most other countries in the U.S. and Europe.

You may find it more convenient to rent a car in the city in which you are staying. For rentals in Tel Aviv and Haifa:

Israel Car Rental Tips:

  • Rent a GPS with the car that will supply you with directions in English. If you have a smart phone with a data plan, you can just download the Waze app, which provides great GPS and real-time traffic info. The Israeli street signs in my opinion are not well posted and difficult to read especially when people are honking at you.
  • Make sure the designated driver is at least 24 years old. You can add additional drivers but the cost will increase.
  • Bring a clear pictured valid driver's license in English or an international driver's license. I recommend getting an international license only if you want to rent a large 8-10 passenger van because a standard D.L. issued in the States does not specifically allow for large vans with over 8 passengers.
  • If you can show a valid foreign passport (not Israeli), you do not have to pay the hefty 18% VAT (Value Added Tax for Israeli citizens only).
  • Gasoline in Israel is currently about $7/gallon or 7.45 New Israeli Shekels (NIS) / liter so plan your trips carefully.
  • Inspect the vehicle thoroughly for any and all existing damages. If you don't, the company will charge you when you return the vehicle! I remember my first Israel car rental experience. They brought out my vehicle and I immediately noticed huge dents and scratches on the front fender. Of course, I requested a 'good car'. The reply was 'This is a good car' and they weren't kidding! You may not get a car in perfect condition - just make sure you document every imperfection before signing off. This in not uncommon for most Israeli car rental companies.
  • Israel car rental is cheaper if you order online - just make sure you can pick the vehicle up at the car rental desk in the airport.


Car Rental

Top Tip #1: Make sure you have a hands free device for your cell phone. It is illegal in Israel and dangerous to talk or text on your phone while driving without one. 

Car Rental - let's talk insurance. Not necessarily my favorite subject but you will want to pay close attention here because this is a tricky one and very expensive in Israel. There are two types of insurance:

  • LDW:  Limited Damage Waiver which is mandatory and must be purchased through the rental car company. This will cost approximately 40% of the rate. Yes, a $200 weekly rental of a basic economy car will cost an additional $80 for basic liability coverage. Be very careful, If you choose liability coverage only, then you will be asked to leave a $2500 deposit to cover any damage to the vehicle.
  • C.D.W. and T.P. Collision Damage Waiver and Theft protection which we refer to simply as comprehensive. This will add at least another $10-15 per day to the price and may be waived depending on your credit card company. Any damage to the undercarriage or tires of the vehicle is not covered. Should you choose to take the C.D.W. and T.P. coverage through your credit card company, it is your responsibility to notify the credit card company and verify its terms and conditions of coverage.

Top Tip #2: Bring a letter or documentation from your credit card company to the sales counter stating the extent of their coverage for Israel. It is often different than coverage within the States or Europe. 

Please note - that by not taking collision damage waiver insurance, you (the lessee), and not the credit card company, are responsible for any damage or loss to the vehicle. All related expenses will be charged to you on your credit card.

  • The coverage provided is not valid outside the borders of the State of Israel, Tabah and territories of the Palestinian Authority.
  • Insurance does not cover loss of personal belongings.

Israel Rental Car - Driving in Israel: 

If you are not used to aggressive driving, prepare yourself. From my personal experience, it is like driving in most major cities like New York. The drivers are quite aggressive and impatient, especially if you find yourself slowing down to read street signs looking for your destination. Most street signs are posted in Hebrew, English, and Arabic.

  • If you have a smartphone, download a GPS app like Waze - this will make it a whole lot easier to get around.
  • Traffic lights are abundant inside the main cities, and are scarcely found on highways. Americans should note there is no right turn on red!
  • The major toll road in Israel is highway number 6 and the toll is collected electronically according to your license plate number. Since the car belongs to the company, they will charge your credit card for all charges plus a service fee. Road 6 will save you lots of time and is worth the cost. Sometimes you can negotiate the service fee with the Israel car rental company.
  • It is fairly common in smaller towns for traffic lights to be replaced by traffic circles or roundabouts. The car to the left always has the right of way. Make sure to always slow down when approaching one.
  • While driving you may see a police car with flashing rollers. Don't panic, this just means they're on duty.

Israel Car Rental; Be aware of the special traffic signs and parking rules in Israel:

israel road signs Triangular – Warning signs. Obviously pay special attention to these.
israel road signs Circular Speed Limit – The speed limit is 50 kmh or 31 MPH on this road. This is also the standard speed limit in any urban area.
israel road signs Directional Square - Distance to the destination in kilometers
israel road signs Red and white stripes on the curb - no parking
israel road signs Blue and white stripes on the curb - parking is allowed only with a parking ticket which you can purchase at an automated machine nearby. This applies mainly to larger cities only.
israel road signs Red and yellow stripes on the curb - public transportation only, no stopping or parking allowed.


Ne-higah Ne'eemah! (Have a pleasant drive in Hebrew)
Bruce

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