Rental Car Insurance

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    Gringo, as you know it can be quite expensive to rent a car in C.R., thrifty just gave me a rate of $191 grand total for two weeks, I assume this includes the basic insurance that is required? I will pay with a credit card that will provide “collision” if that is the right term, visa platinum card. Should/must I be buying any of the other insurance they are offering below. In the past I have just got the basic, sometims I purchased the zero liability and to date I never had a problem or was charged extra…i’m confused and trying to minimize my costs, any help would be appreciated!


    THRIFTY does NOT accept the use of a Debit/Check Card at this location.

    FPMR, XPMR, FVMR, PVMR, MVMR require cancellation 3 days prior to scheduled arrival time to avoid a one day charge.

    Driving is on the right side of the road. Vehicles may not be driven out of Costa Rica.

    Location services area hotels. Renter must call for shuttle service. No after hour service provided. *** Phone Number: 257-3434 ***

    Any adjustments or changes to the reservation may result in a change of rate.

    ** Renter must be between 21-75 and present valid drivers license and credit card in own name at time of rental. Renter must have held drivers license for minimum of 1 year.

    ** Foreign renters must present a valid drivers license, PASSPORT and credit card in own name at time of rental.

    ** Costa Ricans nationals must present credit card, drivers license and confirmation of residence at time of rental.

    ** Additional renters, excluding renters spouse are subject to a surcharge of USD 5.00/day. ** No underage renter surcharge applies.

    ** Local tax not applicable. ** Vehicle Licensee Fee USD .75/day. *Optional PDW cost between USD 15.00-25.00/day reduces renters financial responsibility for the Thrifty to between USD 1500-2500.

    *Optional Accident Excess Reduction (AER) cost between – USD 10.00-20.00/day reduces renters financial responsibility to zero. Must be purchased in conjunction with PDW. *TPC – Theft Protection Coverage included with purchase of PDW.

    * A deposit of USD 1500-2000 is required at time of rental. If PDW is declined renter is responsible for the full value of the vehicle. Supplemental Liability Insurance Optional provided that at the time of rental the customer can –

    present proof of coverage for SLI in Costa Rica. SLI will be applied and cost veries from USD 12.00-20.00 per day. If customer declines purchasing SLI from location, a USD 3000.00 deposit is required on the credit card.

    ** Vehicle rented with a full tank of fuel and should be returned full to avoid a locally determined refueling charge.



    I do not think they are including the mandatory Costa Rican libility insurance. This is not the same thing that is provided by your credit card which is in addition to the local insurance. I recently looked at a bunch of rental cars and some stated it quite clearly while others made it difficult to tell.

    I found that on super economy cars the insurance was roughly half the final bill and on one quote the mandatory insurance was more than the car rental. When I added it up I found that I was just as well off to stick with the company I had been doing business with that quoted one price including insurance. The economy SUV (Daihatsu Terios) I rented cost $798 for two weeks. $399/week peak season $299/week off season. They had a non-4WD car for 259/319 week.

    Credit card rental car insurance is very tricky. I found that after carefully reading the fine print on mine several times that it was only in force if I had the same collision (not just libility) coverage on my personal car. Since my car is a $1000 clunker I do not. So the credit card coverage is not in force. Smoke and mirrors!

    Your quote has a note about an additional $3000 deposit. They MAY be working around the mandatory insurance but you need to ask. And that is the thing to do. ASK.



    The last few times I went to CR I used my Visa credit card’s CDW Collission Damage Waiver. I made 3 seperate calls, one to the car rental agency (Europecar) and two to the rewards/benefits deptartment of my Credit Card. All 3 concurred that the CDW insurance provided by my credit card was acceptable coverage equivilent to the coverage that was normally charged by the rental agency, except that the Visa coverage, if I rememeber correctly, had NO deductable. I did not read any stipulations about having an equivilent coverage on my personal car, although since it was brought up I would double check. I did ask those type of questions though and even had Visa fax me a letter outlineing the coverage so I could present it to the Rental agency. Europcar had no problem with it what-so-ever. You credit card should have a website that outline “member benefits” and typically explains this coverage.

    The only stipulation was that the car had to rented with my Visa card and remain on “Primary Roads” and I was the only person authorized to drive it. Visa provided a driving map that outline which roads were appropriate. They are all the paved roads and the “main” dirt roads.

    Good luck.

    PS: Kieth, can you email me about an earlier post you made?

    Edited on Nov 04, 2006 15:20


    $191 for two weeks sounds like a great rate. Is it a small car? Some of those basic Korean s they lease are tiny.

    I’ve always used the insurance provided with my credit card, and thankfully have never had an incident to test its worth. Every card is different.

    One thing I can guarantee you though, sales of insurance coverage at car rental companies is a highly profitable endeavor.

    But don’t get bogged down in the insurance details and forget the most important thing when renting a car in Costa Rica – Does it have good a/c???


    many moons ago, my son rented a car – Suzuki – and rolled it….they had insurance on it….basic….but it was rented on a credit card….after months of letter writting, threatening, writting, waiting… came to an end,,,,the rental agency in CR wanted them to pay $15,000 because the car was totalled…even though the rental had coverage, they said car was being driven on dirt roads….duh,,,,name 3 paved roads….!!! finally getting to the point of almost getting a lawyer, the cc co. came to the plate and told the rental co…….NO…. the end….it was scary but after sticking to our guns and having the cc company help….it ended after MONTHS….
    moral of this story….ins or no….u must be careful…..


    Thanks for all the input! I have rented a few cars in CR and am never really sure which way to go. I will call them to see if that rate includes the mandatory insurance, I could not determine this from there site. I have rolled the dice a few times and used my credit card for the additional coverage and grilled visa on the phone and read the policy info they sent me. The worrisome part is if you total the car etc…the rental company charges(or trys) your card for the damages and then you must file your claim with visa and provide all the necessary proof, does’nt sound like fun. Morgan what post did you want to hear from me about?


    I rented from Thrifty last year and would never do it again. The insurance is extra and liabity is manditory in Costa Rica. Credit cards usually don’t cover it in Costa Rica. We and several friends who also rented from Thrifty and had mysterious extra charges on our credit cards. i.e. flights to Miami. The 4×4 we rented had balding tires, and we had a flat tire in the first half hour. For directions to Cartago, they insisted we had to go through the cityof San Jose and there was no way to go around it. That is not true and very bad advice.


    Thanks for that info as I have not rented from them before. I have had good luck with Dollar though.


    I know a way from the airport to Cartago without going through San Jose, (via Heredia, then back roads to the east side of San Jose), but it’s longer, complicated, and will not save time even during rush hour. So I’d agree with the advice of going through San Jose. What way are you talking about?

    I usually rent from Dollar and have never had a problem with them. Last time I rented from TriColor and that was a good experience as well.

    I’ve never felt the need to rent a 4×4. They’re better for clearing potholes, negotiating dirt roads in the rainy season, and getting to places off the beaten path. But generally, if you’re limiting your wandering to the more popular destinations, it’s not worth the extra expense.


    Yes I agree about the 4×4 we will pass on that, nice to have but not worth the expense if you’re not going to be fording any rios! I certainly did appreciate the 4×4 when we were in Nosara, came in handy when we took the “back road” up to Ocojtal and down to Mal Pais via the coastal route.



    I was referring to the post about Bob’s project in Bejuco and Esterillo. I’m coming down soon and would like to stop in and talk with him.

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