Don’t Just Sit There! Start BEST CAR RENTAL
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 support and mechanical breakdowns. You might 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 just as much as 20 percent among car rental companies, so reading an instant review will be time well spent as soon as you calculate the savings.
So the question is; which rental company offers the best balance of fair price, capable customer support 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 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 rather than based on personal or online preferences.
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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 set of grievances is the non-disclosure of fees associated with the mandatory third-party insurance at the time the reservation is made.
In accordance with Costa Rican law, every driver is required to carry liability coverage to insure against injuries to third parties. Car rental companies generally refrain from disclosing the expense of this policy in the quoted rental rate to seem more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can sometimes be up to double the vehicle’s rental cost. The only real guarantee against insurance confusion would be to inquire if your estimate includes the third party insurance and insist upon a written quotation.
Cost of Mandatory Insurance (also known as Third Party or SLI)
Be prepared to pay between $12 and $15 daily for this insurance, depending on the make and model of the rented vehicle and the rental car agency. That is 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 damage 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 provide 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 these 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 prior to 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 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 provided by a credit card (instead of the rent a car operator), all damages will be billed to the renter’s charge card. The credit card company will reimburse the card holder for damages.