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 may be the largest expense, averaging $702 for an eleven-day vacation.
The Internet is buzzing with negative reviews discussing overcharging, poor customer support 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 can vary around 20 percent among car rental companies, so reading a quick review will undoubtedly be time well spent once you calculate the savings.
So the question is; which rental company offers the best balance of fair price, capable customer service and reliable vehicles? I’ve researched everything for you, so keep 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 companies are listed alphabetically and not predicated on personal or online preferences.
Consider 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 typically tired after a long flight and are confronted by costs which were not anticipated, explained or budgeted.
Topping the list of grievances is the non-disclosure of fees linked to the mandatory third-party insurance at the 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 cost of this policy in the quoted rental rate to appear more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can sometimes be up to 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 upon a written quotation.
rentals car near me Cost of Mandatory Insurance (also called Third Party or SLI)
Expect to pay between $12 and $15 daily for this insurance, with regards to the make and model of the rented vehicle and the rental car agency. This can be a legal condition of your rental agreement and is normally not covered by bank 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 harm to the rental car following 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 an additional fee, many agencies do offer a zero liability option where the renter will be freed from paying for any damage to the automobile. Some companies may put pressure upon renters to get 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 a rental vehicle. Consult with your chosen rental car company to get which proof of insurance is necessary and then request that from your own credit card company ahead of 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 bigger 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 (instead of the rent an automobile operator), all damages will be billed to the renter’s charge card. The credit card company will then reimburse the card holder for damages.