Car Rental

Jan 14th, 2009, 08:03 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4
Car Rental

So now that we have decided to rent a car(thanks for the advice colibri!)...

I have been reading on some posts, and elsewhere that there is a mandatory insurance coverage fee...sometimes up to $18 a day?

I have american express which has car rental liability and damage insurance. Therefore I would think that I'd be able to decline any additional coverage, as I always do when I rent in the US.

Do I still have this option in Costa Rica? I don't want to get stuck paying an extra $180 in fees!
paperscraps is offline  
Jan 15th, 2009, 03:57 AM
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,085
We rented from Tricolor out of Liberia, but their main office is San Jose. They are very highly recommended and used by Fodorites.

If you e-mail them for a quote it will include everything, no hidden insurance charges, taxes, etc. We paid exactly what we were quoted.

I don't think I've read any negative comments about Tricolor, so you might want to try them.

I used my Capital One Visa and did not have to pay anything extra. I always use this overseas since there are no international conversion fees.

colibri is offline  
Jan 16th, 2009, 07:55 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 470
Your credit card has to have this feature. You can only waive the comprehensive and collision, and then only if the rental car company agrees. Not all of them do. Check ahead.

The liability coverage is a government monopoly, and cannot be waived. It is required by law. No matter what they tell you, that is a absolute fact. Some companies include this in their rate, so you may not be aware of it. But it has to be there.

But your credit card coverage still has value. The deductibles on the government insurance can be quite high, $1500 to $2000. Most of time, your credit card coverage will kick in to cover this. Note that I said MOST of the time. Check with your credit card provider to be sure.

Some companies will also offer an optional self insurance to cover the deductible. I have a had a couple of incidents over the years, and this has come in very handy. I was able to just sign the accident report, and leave. End of story.

One last thing. Some of the companies will not accept your credit card coverage, if they can't verify it. Have your credit card company fax you something in advance verifying this coverage. That way you can be ready if you need to "discuss" it.

Hope this helps! Let me know if I can offer any more advice.

Warm Regards,
Pat Hewitt
Travel Professional
Pat_Hewitt is offline  
Jan 17th, 2009, 06:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 78
We use Tricolor all the time, I reserve the cars on line, they answer quickly, deliver the car to the hotel, etc...
I think the rate is cheeper if you order this way.
swim is offline  
Jan 17th, 2009, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 78
I meant cheaper
swim is offline  
Jan 18th, 2009, 03:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 4,007
We like renting through Costa Rica Surf, who arranges pre-paid rental cars. They will include the fee for a zero deductible rental.

I know that some do not want to pay an extra sum to cover the additional insurance, but I cannot stress enough the need for it. It truly is a small price to pay to avoid potential headaches without it.

Heaven forbid you are in an accident. However, you may be required to stay in the country until a disputed liability accident will be decided. In the case of a serious accident with injury, you may find yourself waiting for resolution as an involuntarily extended guest - courtesy of the Costa Rican government. Yes, that means jail.

You are much better protected by taking the zero deductible insurance. In the event the rental car is damaged or vandalized, driving the vehicle back into the agency and handing them the keys, allowing them to take up the issue with their insurer is infinately simpler than dealing with charges on your credit card after your return home that will be difficult to dispute.

This is just based on our experience traveling in Mexico, the caribbean, central and south america. Some rental agencies are franchise locations in other countries and they have different policies from what is published on the US company sites.

We also use our platinum Am Ex, which also carries additional coverage as a primary coverage from AmEx. However, it's just a better practice to take the insurance while traveling abroad.

Sorry to get on the soapbox!

Happy Travels!
Continental_Drifter is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 25
I could not agree with mom23rugrats more. We got the "full ride" of insurance options and got into a bretty big crash in San Ramon. They delivered a new car no questions asked. If I had to rely on "oh, my credit card covers this" I KNOW it would not have been so painless. Even when we got the car I asked if he was going to verify the small dings and scratches that were already there and he said... "I don't care... you have the full insurance so we won't charge you for anything"... he wasn't kidding

PS: Aside from the crash we also had our camera stolen hours before leaving CR (and all our pictures) BUT it was still a wonderful trip we look forward to doing again. You gotta learn to roll with the punches... ;-)

csmart01 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2009, 04:00 PM
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 33
First, stay away from Hertz at the main airport in San Jose! We reserved long, long before our trip with them, and they had no cars available and it took several hours to arrange a more expensive alternative through Ace/ Advantage Rent a Car. The whole process was a ripoff from start to finish. I complained to Hertz in the US on my return, and received ZERO response.

We rented with our Amex card, and were glad we did because they said they would cover some losses. However, we filed a claim due to a stolen GPS. Ace never responded to the Amex inquiries. I might avoid Ace, too. The car had bald, underinflated tires.

Marco13 is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:54 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,609
When I rented with Tricolor, the clerk actually said that because I used a Capital One Credit Card, it would be a waste for me to purchase any additional insurance.

BTW in 2007 I had an accident in a rental car in the US. Since I drive a company car and have no auto insurance of my own, on the day it happened I was worried how that would work. But my credit card (happened to be using the Providian card that day) paid all and gave me no grief.

Keith is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 11:30 AM
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 7,070
We had good luck with Advantage for a three day rental while in the Playa Coco area. No issues, fair price, they delivered the car to hotel and picked it up at end with no extra charges. Nice to work with, the car was in excellent condition and fully equipped. The car was out of their Liberia office.
Reisender is offline  
Jan 20th, 2009, 06:49 PM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 472
We just rented from Tricolor and total was $275 for 6 days (7th day is free). But we were told liability insurance was not included so if we hit and injured someone we could end up owing lots of money. Knowing how scary the driving is there, we were suckered into adding the liability insurance which was an extra $6 per day.

After reading this thread, I am glad we paid for our rental with our Capital One Visa because we had an issue when returning our car this week. To start, they gave us a totally crappy Subaru, but it worked so we didn't complain. Now I wish we had asked for a better, less dented and scratched car because when we returned the car, they told us there was damage to the front plastic grill. Well, yeah, there was damage all over the car prior to our rental and we had the marked up chart to prove it! But no such luck, they said their shop will appraise and they will charge our card appropriately. Needless to say, we left very upset and angry but decided we would let Visa handle it - pura vida, right? Hopefully they are as good as it sounds!

All that said, I don't know if I would rent from Tricolor again. But I really think that could have happened with any rental agency...or at least that's what I told my husband to calm him down
sessa is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 04:40 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,609
When I rent cars in Mexico or Costa Rica, I always photograph the car when I pick it up and when I return it.

Keith is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 06:44 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 472
Keith - Believe me, we were kicking ourselves yesterday for not taking photos when we picked it up. Oh well, lesson learned.
sessa is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 07:08 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 190
Here is our expereince with car rental/ insurance, which you may find useful:
pg is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,966
pg, you have to actually click on the thread title once you have opened it and then copy that URL. It's kind of weird. I think this is the post you're referring to:

AustinTraveler is offline  
Jan 21st, 2009, 09:44 AM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 579
We are always traveling on a wing and a prayer and we have found that Tricolor usually charges a large deposit on your credit card - last year it was $1250. so we had a hard time paying for one of our hotels which was embarassing and it took about 1 week after we returned to get it off! I take pictures of the car right in front of the guy so nothing can be pulled! We have had small problems with the guy in Liberia at Tricolor so we are going to try someone different this year.
flycatcher06 is offline  

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