Costa Rica car rental insurance nightmare

Old Jul 17th, 2006, 12:35 PM
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Costa Rica car rental insurance nightmare

Trying to rent a car in C/R has been a major hassle with different rental car companies hiding different fees and having completely different definitions of what "mandatory insurance" is and how much it costs. After hours of extensive research I have come to the conclusion is that there are two types of "basic mandatory insurance"

1. Basic liabiltiy 2. CDW

Most rental car companies combine these mandatory insurances into one and set a single price. To make it more confusing they often simply call it (CDW).

The "basic liability" is impossible to waive and can not be replaced by your own car insurance policy or by credit card coverage.

The CDW can be waived by your credit card coverage. This can reduce the amount you pay for insurance but you still have to pay the "basic liability" portion.

Many rental companies in Costa Rica claim that Supplemental Liability(SLI)is mandatory and demand you to pay for it. I think this is a lie.

If you rent a car from a worldwide chain or from an agency like Expedia or Orbitz they will NOT disclose these mandatory costs in there Total Amount. So you will get suprised at the counter when the insurance costs are even more than the rental costs. I would try to contact the local Costa Rican branch and find out how much these costs are and if it's possible to waive CDW.

I contacted Europcar branch in Costa Rica because I was quoted by Orbitz $166.03 USD for a 9 day compact SUV rental. This seemed to good to be true. As I all ready said, they don't disclose the mandatory insurance costs.

So I emailed Europcar in Costa Rica.


I am thinking about renting a Europcar from SJO airport through Can I decline CDW with credit card insurance coverage? If I am allowed to do that how much is the daily rate for mandatory basic liability insurance for a compact SUV?

Thank you,"

This was the response I got:

"Dear Mr. Ellerin, good afternoon !!

Greetings on behalf all Europcar īs staff in Costa Rica.

Yes you can.... if you īve got a Gold - Platinum Visa / Mastercard. At the delivery time, we will ask on the spot an authorization to your credit card īs call center if everything īs ok so you can decline the CDW. Basic Liability - LIB is included on the rate & cover a caused accident to a third person, animal or building until a maximum amount of Usd.2,500. But you can take a Supplemental Liability ( SLI ) $ 15 P/DAY to increase this coverage until Usd. 210,000 as optional. ( This is not included & you īll can decide take it at the delivery time ).

For further information please feel free to contact me again. Thank you, Kind regards.-

Gabriel Christian Plastine Reservations Supervisor"

She basically told me that the "basic liability" is included in the rate. If this is true and I don't have to pay any mandatory insurance (after waiving CDW) at the counter then this blows away any other quote I have seen.

I am going to take this deal and print out this email for the problems at the counter I am sure will occur. I have a feeling that they might tell me that Europcar includes "basic liability" in there rate and apparently Orbitz did not. Then try and charge me $20 a day or whatever it costs.

Well what do you think?
salsashark is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2006, 04:32 PM
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Well, it seems you are having a big confusion about this theme.
I always rent cars in costa rica and what you are thinking is going to happen.
You must to know this: In Costa Rica there is only one insurance company and it belongs to government(monopoly). It means that the SLI is mandatory so you cant avoid it. You can can use your credit card insurance only for the rental car but not for damages to thirds.
My suggestion is to use you credit card insurance. It will save you possible problems.

Best Regards,

sorsha is offline  
Old Jul 21st, 2006, 07:20 PM
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I rented from Dollar rental car without problem.I was told the basic insurance was mandatory,so I paid it and I was glad I did. You might want insurance because driving in CR is quite dangerous.Driving is an adventure in CR. I was driven off the road head on and avoided several big holes in bridges. Driving across the rivers also was much fun.
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Old Feb 15th, 2007, 10:46 PM
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Could people share their weekly SUV rental rates?

I'm also considering Europcar although like you, I feel like the rate is too good to be true. Can people provide specifics about which credit cards they've used that they know will cover rentals in CR?

This is always a bit stressful... I did a lot of research trying to figure out exactly what I'd need to rent a car in Barcelona -- calling my credit card and consulting with many people (who were in accidents) to figure out exactly what coverage we'd need.
fishee is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 07:43 AM
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i would just like to add a word of support for europcar- just because people seem sceptical. they are widely known in many countries and i got a fantastic rste with them in south africa and no problems whatsoever.

kerikeri is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 01:08 PM
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We have rented from both Alamo and Dollar in CR. We always use Amex Platinum and never have paid "mandatory" insurance.

One time our A/C didn't work and Dollar delivered a brand new car to us in Tamarindo. I believe our rates in late 2005 were around $525 a week for a manual 4x4, and I think Alamo is slightly cheaper.

We also rented a used car for a month from Europcar in Barcelona. On our last day my husband backed into a tree. The Amex Platinum coverage covered all damages.

Our wackiest rental car experiences were in Mexico, both with local companies (one time no brakes, another time a car fire), but that's another story.
crosscheck is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 08:45 PM
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We always waive the CDW (about $2-5 per day) and rent with Tricolor. We have NEVER been disappointed. We book directly with them, pay the basic insurance, and there are NEVER hidden costs. The price they quote us in the e-mail is the price we pay. It is the best we have found in CR and I can't imagine anyone beating it, so if they do, let me know!

We pay about $300-$350 usually for one week SUV rental (not one of the larger SUV's). I would be very surprised if you find a company that TRULY charges you only $166 for 9 days! That would be a VERY good deal!
shillmac is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2007, 08:45 PM
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Just wanted to mention, it has always been very simple, never a hassle in any way.
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Old Feb 17th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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Hi maybe you can help me - do you know how much of a hold Tri color puts on your credit card? I e-mailed them and they told me $1250. plus the $550. for the 2 week rental it seems high - does anyone know this?
flycatcher06 is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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You know, I never asked--it never came up. If that's what they told you, though, then that's what it is. I doubt it's out of line with the other companies. Not sure how it worked out, but I think Tricolor did me a huge favor this past summer when I scraped the side of an uninsured vehicle (didn't know it was uninsured--it was a large van, and those as well as pick up trucks are not insured). They told me not to worry, to continue enjoying my vacation, they would help me out. It ended up on my credit card for $208. My platinum card CDW insurance coverage sent me a check. I was quite pleased!
shillmac is offline  
Old May 3rd, 2016, 07:32 AM
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Ummm, adriajackson, do you realize that things may have changed a bit in the past 9 years since this thread disappeared? Nothing like commenting on very outdated comments!
NeoPatrick is offline  
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