Car rental is a hot topic for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Recent research conducted by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) indicates that, after accommodations, renting an automobile is the largest expense, averaging $702 for an eleven-day vacation.
The Internet is buzzing with negative reviews discussing overcharging, poor customer service and mechanical breakdowns. You may have even written one yourself!
A typical midsize (3 – 4 adults) 4X4 rental runs between $58 and $65 daily with alternative party insurance and rates may differ around 20 percent among car rental companies, so reading a quick review will be time well spent as soon as you calculate the savings.
Therefore the question is; which rental company supplies the best balance of fair price, capable customer support and reliable vehicles? I’ve researched it all for you, so continue reading!
Disclosure: This research was conducted in May – July 2013. The following companies were selected because they’re the most widely used in Costa Rica. Some are local companies; others are international franchises of recognized brand names. Comparisons include: customer support, pricing and the reservation process. The firms are listed alphabetically rather than based on personal or online preferences.
Think about this information before renting:
One of the primary causes for complaints is from the stack of unforeseen charges presented to the renter once standing at the rental company’s counter. Vacationers are usually tired after a long flight and then are confronted by costs which were not anticipated, explained or budgeted.
Topping the list of grievances is the non-disclosure of fees associated with the mandatory third-party insurance at the time the reservation is made.
According to exotic car rental miami , every driver is required to carry liability coverage to insure against injuries to third parties. Car rental companies generally avoid disclosing the cost of this policy in the quoted rental rate to seem more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can sometimes be around double the vehicle’s rental cost. The only guarantee against insurance confusion would be to inquire if your estimate includes the 3rd party insurance and insist on a written quotation.
Cost of Mandatory Insurance (also called Third Party or SLI)
Expect to pay between $12 and $15 daily for this insurance, with respect to the make and style of the rented vehicle and the rental car agency. This is usually a legal condition of your rental agreement and is normally not covered by credit cards and cannot be waived. It goes without saying of renting a car in Costa Rica.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
As the name suggests, this isn’t insurance, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any liability for harm to the rental car following the deductible is paid (usually from $750 to $1,500). Some agencies require renters to purchase their CDW policy; thereby negating any credit card program. For an additional fee, many agencies do offer a zero liability option where in fact the renter will be freed from paying for any damage to the car. Some companies may put pressure upon renters to purchase the zero liability coverage; however, it is entirely optional, unless it is in the fine print of their rental agreement.
Charge card insurance programs may cover the CDW for a rental vehicle. Consult with your chosen rental car company to get which proof of insurance is needed and then request that from your credit card company prior to arriving. If you are using your credit card’s CDW policy, expect to pay an increased deposit on the automobile; around $1,500 to $2000 is common. The higher deposit ensures that the charge card holder has enough financial reserves to cover damages if needed. You should consider that if using CDW coverage provided by a credit card (in lieu of the rent a car operator), all damages will undoubtedly be billed to the renter’s charge card. The credit card company will then reimburse the card holder for damages.