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lizzy911 Feb 27th, 2010 12:42 PM

Costa Rica Rental Insurance - Will this be ok?
I have read multiple posts about rental car insurance in Costa Rica as well as consulted several guidebooks. I can't make heads or tails of it but I think that we are going to default on the safe side of getting more insurance rather than less. So... please let me know what you think of this:

Renting a car from Budget... online they have an option for LDW and SLI... if I accept both, is there anything else I need to worry about being offered at the counter? Is this all I need? They also have PAE at $3 a day -- should I get that?

We are going in May and getting a 4X4. Thanks!

caldud Feb 27th, 2010 05:56 PM

I'm in Costa Rica now. I came down for dental work and stayed in San Jose until today. The wife and son are flying down tomorrow. I rented a car and might not next time. On the internet I booked a Hertz full size (Toyota Yaris) for 7 days for $255. I thought that was pretty good. But that turned into $572 and still climbing. I added $175 for insurance with $200 deductible, $84 for GPS, $57 for tax and $84 for some other required insurance. Then when I balked they cut it down to $572. They don't use addresses in costa rica so for the GPS to work you need this big book which Hertz gave me. Look up your hotel in it and put in the code. But the GPS was Garmin and didn't seem to know there was a new highway out to the coast that would save 2 hours from my trip. It tried to take me the long way. Worse still is the scam they are running down here where you pull out of the rental car place and someone follows you. You stop for a light and a guy hops out without you seeing and slices the sidewall of your tire. Right rear for me. Then when you pull over these good Samaritans come over to help change the tire and apparently after doing it demand money. I wouldn't let them help and told them no a number of times. Now I have to pay for the new tire in addition to the $572. It doesn't even count towards the deductible since it was specifically excluded in the policy. It sure would have been easier to take some type of tourist bus. They told me to take everything including the GPS out or it would be stolen. Even had a padlock type thing to lock the transmission so nobody could steal the car. I also have to pay for the GPS if it gets stolen. I saw three other cars with flats on the side of the road once I got on the highway out of San Jose and they all looked like Gringos so I think they all got flats in this same scam. Although once its over I will have something to talk about. Taking a tour bus would be less hassle and you won't get lost or frustrated but maybe a little hardship makes the trip more memorable. Good luck in any case.

Continental_Drifter Feb 27th, 2010 07:19 PM

We've had great success renting in Costa Rica, but we flew in and out of Liberia. I have heard of some of the issues you had with respect to the tire.

We've never used a GPS in CR. It simply is not useful and it's an easy country to navigate.

That being said, you are correct with respect to the insurance and it is completely worth this expense. It is not atypical of countries where you are required to purchase their coverage. You also could have gotten tire coverage for around $11 per week. Oddly, the purcase of the tire coverage keeps those vagrants from targeting your car!

Now, don't get the wrong idea about Costa Rica from what you experience in San Jose. We do avoid SJ when possible.

The simple thing? Always assume that, with the additional coverage, your vehicle will cost nearly twice what you prepared to pay. You will not regret this fee. I've written on this board before about the rental agencies finding "new" damage on a car until we tell them we took full coverage. Then, miraculously, the "new" damage issue disappears.

Accept the coverage for a zero deductible or plan on spending that deductible!

Just our .02.

lizzy911 Feb 27th, 2010 07:30 PM

Ok... so is SLI and CDW enough or is there more?

tully Feb 27th, 2010 07:56 PM

My CC covered my insurance so the only insurance I was required to get was the 3rd party insurance which was like $8 a day. I didn't get gps, didn't really feel it was needed. I was really put at ease by the Solid agent who went over the entire car with me at first and documented the tiniest little dings & scratches.

lizzy911 Feb 27th, 2010 08:00 PM

Thanks for the response. I am a little worried about using my credit card as insurance since both the drivers aren't on the card as card holders... should I add the second driver to the card prior to the trip?

Continental_Drifter Feb 28th, 2010 05:20 AM

Lizzy - we ALWAYS book through this website for cars in Costa Rica. CR Surf is a travel agency in Florida with great deals through the rental agencies. The owner of CR Surf personally confirmed our booking via email and the service was flawless. We have never found there to be any "shenanigans" at the rental counter. These were also the best prices we found anywhere.

Read the note at the bottom of the car listings - If you take the SLDW coverage, the reserve to your card will only be $100 in addition to the price of the rental. We've seen it as high as $1500 over the rental in other places.

LindainOhio Feb 28th, 2010 03:43 PM

Are you buying trip insurance? If you are, car rental insurance is included. Maybe you should price your whole trip--it might not be that much more to have the trip cancellation/ interruption, emergency evacuation, theft etc. also covered. We use Travelguard but you can get a comparison of insurance policies at

Continental_Drifter Feb 28th, 2010 05:22 PM

Check the policy on the trip insurance. SOME include car insurance IF you pay the additional premium for it. However, getting the car insurance company to accept that you have this other coverage, and the applicatoin of it, could be a challenge with the franchise locations, even of known "named" car rental agencies.

Oasisofthetoucans Mar 11th, 2010 12:01 PM

Call your credit card company.
Mine covered all rental insurance when I traveled, automatically, just for using the card.
I don't know about today. I haven't had a credit card, or bills , in six years or so..

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