While it hasn't always been the case, bank letters may be required if you plan to use your credit card's auto insurance coverage in Ireland (the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland), Israel or Jamaica.
It turns out that a few accidents which happened within the last year or so have made many, if not all, of the auto companies at Dublin airport suspicious of people wanting to use their credit card's auto coverage, which requires that you decline the coverage at the rental agency. Apparently, the rental companies have had trouble being reimbursed for damages caused by drivers who used their credit card's insurance coverage - not necessarily from regular accidents, but from ones where the drives, and/or other people involved in the accident, had perished due to the severity of the situation. We are not clear on what the exact situations were, but the result is strict and important for anyone traveling to Ireland.
Here they are:
You can buy the rental company's insurance coverage and put down a €1,500 deposit, which gets returned to you if no damage occurs on the vehicle, OR
You can get a bank letter and put down a €5,000 deposit, which gets returned to you if no damage occurs on the vehicle.
The difference is quite large. We rented a vehicle for 16 days for a total of €146.21 from Sixt Rent a Car (an affiliate of ours), but they wanted us to pay over €600 more for the insurance for that period if we wanted to do it that way. As we didn't have a Bank Letter, they weren't going to let us rent the car. Luckily for us, we called our credit card help-line and told them about our situation. They emailed us a Bank Letter right away which we were able to email to the customer service representative at the Sixt Rent a Car desk. We then were able to use our Credit Card's Auto Insurance Coverage instead of paying the additional €600+ for Sixt's Insurance, but we still had to allow them to put a €5,000 hold on our Credit Card.
This is very important information for anyone traveling to Ireland! We did check around at other rental agencies and all of the ones we checked said they would require the same things as certain accidents caused quite a political stir up with all of the rental agencies.
See an example of our Bank Letter here:
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore