Car rental is really 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 might have even written one yourself!
An average 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 everything for you, so continue reading!
Disclosure: This research was conducted in-may – July 2013. The next companies were selected because they are the most trusted 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 and not 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 following a long flight and are confronted by costs that were not anticipated, explained or budgeted.
Topping the list of grievances may be the non-disclosure of fees linked to the mandatory third-party insurance at that time the reservation is made.
According to Costa Rican law, every driver must carry liability coverage to insure against injuries to third parties. Car rental companies generally refrain from disclosing the price of this policy in the quoted rental rate to seem more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can sometimes be just as much as double the vehicle’s rental cost. The only real guarantee against insurance confusion would be to inquire if your estimate includes the 3rd party insurance and insist upon a written quotation.
car rental company Cost of Mandatory Insurance (also called Third Party or SLI)
Expect to pay between $12 and $15 daily because of this insurance, depending on 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’s a fact 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 damage to the rental car after the deductible is paid (usually from $750 to $1,500). Some agencies require renters to get their CDW policy; thereby negating any credit card program. For yet another fee, many agencies do offer a zero liability option where in fact the renter will be free of paying for any harm to the automobile. Some companies may put pressure upon renters to purchase the zero liability coverage; however, it really is entirely optional, unless it is in the fine print of their rental agreement.
Credit card insurance programs may cover the CDW for accommodations vehicle. Check with your chosen rental car company to get which proof of insurance is needed and then request that from your credit card company ahead of arriving. If you are using your credit card’s CDW policy, be prepared to pay a higher deposit on the automobile; around $1,500 to $2000 is common. The higher deposit ensures that the credit card holder has enough financial reserves to cover damages if needed. It is important to consider that if using CDW coverage supplied by a credit card (in lieu of the rent a car operator), all damages will be billed to the renter’s credit card. The credit card company will then reimburse the card holder for damages.