Many years ago, I remember that several tourists in Florida were attacked by thugs specialized in tourists. They would crash their car into the tourist's car to make them stop and then, pull a gun. Some victims got killed. Nowadays, rental cars in Florida are not marked as such and cannot be differentiated from normal cars.

I do not expect this level of violence in the countries I rent cars, mainly Germany, Belgium and Spain. However, I know some cases in Spain from the newspapers where thugs targeted tourists specifically. Mostly the loss was only monetary, but even then, that could ruin any trip.

I was told that in Germany, you can recognize a rental through the license plates.

I know that in Spain some rentals, specialize from no-name car rentals, put a sticker on their car, always on the rear, mostly in bright colors like yellow.

In the German case, I assume there's no way of covering the evidence that you are driving a rental.

However in Spain, would that be feasible to cover the sticker with something that could be later removed, some kind of non-permanent sticker? Removing their sticker might damage the paint, and I could incur in hefty costs.

Is that a good idea, or I'm just being paranoid?

  • 4
    It sound paranoid. Such extreme violence as in US is really seldom in Europe... Oct 4 '18 at 9:58
  • 3
    You are being paranoid.
    – gerrit
    Oct 4 '18 at 10:13
  • Unless you take into account that car rentals are often registering many cars at once and are therefore coincidentally assigned ranges of license numbers, there is no way to recognize a German rental car by its license plates. E.g. if you know that a rental car has the license plate 'A-BC 1234', it is not unlikely that another car with plate 'A-BC 1432' is also a rental car, but you can not know it for sure. Oct 4 '18 at 12:18
  • 1
    @Rg7xgW6acQ3g Such violence is rarely (if at all) seen in FL any more as they cracked down on it. And that violence was a long time ago when it actually happened
    – Peter M
    Oct 4 '18 at 12:40
  • @gerrit Violence is not likely, but it is NOT being paranoid. My car, with rental company sticker, was broken into on a parking lot in June 2018 near Barcelona, Spain. Along with several others cars, all rentals. The Mossos (Police) stated this happened very often at that same spot, as thugs assume tourist are dumb enough to leave valuables in the car. There was nothing in the car off course, but the window was still broken.
    – RHA
    Oct 4 '18 at 19:54

I think it's a bit pranoid, but you could use magnetic bumper stickers to cover the logo, when they have placed it on the chassis of the car and not on the window.

I'm not going to post a link to a webshop, but you get plenty of them when you google it.

If it's on the glass, you could use two magnetic bumper stickers, one on the inside and one on the outside but i think it will look a little bit ridiculous and may not be legal in some countries, when you are decreasing visibility.

  • If the violent people know to target a rental car because it is easy pickings, then they know how to recognize a rental car and covering a logo that will be in specific location on a car will be a dead give away - thus defeating the purpose of the exercise. Don't make the assumption that criminals are dumb and can't spot a pattern.
    – Peter M
    Oct 4 '18 at 12:46
  • that's kind of true, but some companies make it kind of hard to spot the rental car, by placing a small logo of less than 10cm long on a car. I just suggest how to cover that, I'm not saying that it will help. Oct 4 '18 at 13:26

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