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Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

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Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

We are renting a car from Budget at the San Jose airport. I read many comments on tripadvisor about unexpected mandatory insurance, however, when I read the fine print when I rented the car it seems to imply that both types of insurance discussed are "optional"...please help me understand so I know what to expect. I have posted the "fine print" below for your reference. Thanks so much!


Cyndi Hillery

Location Exceptions:

• The additional driver must meet the same restrictions as the primary driver. Additional driver fee: USD 5/day. Will apply to spouse. Minimum Age 21 (without a fee). YNG driver fee apples to renters ages 18-21;USD$20.00 per day/per driver. Renters ages 18-21 should call counter directly for full details.

.• Cross border traffic is not allowed.

.• Credit Card Policy: A major credit card in the name of the primary driver must be produced at the time of rental. This location accepts American Express, Budget Charge Cards, Diners Club, Discover Card, Mastercard / Eurocard / Access, Visa. A credit card hold will apply of 1,300.00 USD and not to exceed 2,000.00. If the customer declines SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance) the credit card hold for any category will be 2000.00 USD and the customer will be 100% responsible of the car, passengers and third parties.

.• COVERAGE: Purchase of LDW is optional and relieves the customers financial responsibilty to the vehicle. Cost for all car groups is 20.95 USD per day. If LDW is declined, the renter is responsible for up to the full value of the vehicle. Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI) is available for all car groups at 13.95 USD per day. Partial Damage Waiver (PDW): is available at the counter only at 11.95 USD per day. Personal Accident Insurance (PAI) is not offered.

.• No information available CS

.• PLEASE NOTE: Budget Costa Rica is a Smoke-free company, smoking is not allowed in Budget vehicles."

Grecia, Costa Rica
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for Province of Alajuela
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1. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

Basic insurance is mandatory here, no matter who you go with, it will be added. Anything over basic insurance is optional.

That more or less sums it up.


Uvita, Costa Rica
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for Uvita, Ojochal
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2. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

As Incabod said, basic insurance is mandatory by CR law and can only be provided by INS Insurance of Costa Rica for the moment. So no insurance coverage on Credit Card or other policy will exempt you from that.

If you go Budget CR website (Which is localy owned and a franchise) Question 1 last sentence:


Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
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3. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

The mandatory insurance is to cover the damages to the third party vehicle not to yours in a case of an accident caused by you. All other insurances listed in your post are dealing with damages done to your (rental) vehicle. The mandatory insurance is "unexpected" only to those that have not done their homework well before going to Costa Rica. In Europe, mandatory insurance has a long history so for us it was not unexpected.

San Miguel de...
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4. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

Here's the way I understand the insurance issue. The mandatory insurance is for 3rd party liability. It has a high deductible and does not cover damage to the vehicle. You need some coverage assuming your US insurance policy provides no coverage outside the US. Ours does not. However, some credit cards automatically provide coverage like AMEX Gold Card. They also offer a reasonably priced policy with extended coverage for $20-$30 for the entire rental period up to 30 days. We have opted for that and the rental company chosen, Service, confirmed that this coverage is acceptable. In fact, they suggest you explore options to the very expensive optional coverage.

We have traveled extensively outside the US and almost always rent cars. In most cases I don’t worry, but given the questions about CR and most Latin American countries, we err on the side of caution. That said, I would never buy the optional insurance offered by the rental companies. Find an alternative like the AMEX policies. The one time we needed it they took care of everything.

We’re on our way in November, hopefully this will not be a bump in the road in our CR adventure.

Edited: 09 September 2011, 21:42
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5. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

Thank you all so much for your responses!

San Jose, Costa Rica
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6. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

If you are planning to decline or use any credit card insurance...ask your CC company if they will cover in COSTA RICA...some CC will not cover you here.


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7. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

It would be helpful if the rental car companies themselves knew of the requirement, and how much they charged for it...here is my transaction with Budget and their response...I guess I'm just not going to be able to have a complete answer on this before I'm actually standing in front of the desk. *sigh*

My initial inquiry:

"I have been advised that there is a mandatory auto insurance required for cars rented in Costa Rica. It appears that some car rental companies include this mandatory insurance in the price quote for the rental with additional, optional insurance being available for additional purchase; and some car rental companies charge an additional fee per day over the intitial quote to cover the mandatory national insurance. Could you please let me know how Budget handles this? I need to know what to expect when I arrive so there is no confusion. Thank you!"

Their response:

"Dear Mr Hillery,

Thank you for contacting Budget Customer Service.

Our records indicate all insurance is optional and available for purchase at the time of rental.

If you decide to decline the Loss Damage Waiver coverage, you will be responsible for the full value of the vehicle if involved in an accident.

If you choose to decline the Supplemental Liability Insurance we will place an authorization hold on your charge card account for the total estimated rental charges plus up to $2,000.00.

We look forward to serving your car rental needs. Thank you for

choosing Budget.

Kind Regards,

Joy Vick

Customer Service Representative"

Connecticut, USA
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514 posts
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8. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

I have pasted below someone else's TA post that I had copied and saved in my CR notes. Post is marked by "

We rented from National and paid for the $10/day mandatory insurance. I was all set to purchase Am Ex's Premium Car Insurance until I called Am Ex and discovered that my very basic Am Ex card will cover me in CR. I believe there are six countries where Am Ex does not offer coverage. Ireland is one of them and having rented a car there this spring, I can see why!

My Am Ex card covered up to $50K of CDW, so that I could decline CDW & LDW.

The Am Ex coverage is secondary to my personal car insurance, but since my personal car insurance did not cover rental cars in CR, Am Ex became primary.

If your Am Ex card does not provide coverage, you can purchase the $24.99 coverage from Am Ex. The coverage is valid for 30 or more days, I believe. I have the following contact info in my notes, in case you want to call: 800-848-0240, 8:30-5:15.

And, not that you were asking, but the $10/day for the GPS was the best money spent! Here is the quote from another poster.

"When you rent a car in Costa Rica, you must take the mandatory insurance. This covers damage to the "other" car in an accident. The LDW/CDW coverage is optional and you may opt out. This is insurance for damage to the rental car. American Express has a Premium Car Rental Insurance Program that will cover the LDW/CDW insurance, at a cost of $24.95 per rental period if you charge the car rental on your American Express card after you call and enroll in the program. It is a good value.

One note, the mandatory insurance pays for 80% with a 20% deductible.

When you rent the car, inspect it VERY CAREFULLY, including under the hood, behind the grill and underneath the car for pre-existing damages, if you don't note (and take pictures of)the damage and have an accident, the car rental company WILL CHARGE you for the pre-existing damage.


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9. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

This information is very helpful, I have been searching the sites. Going in November and nervous about the rental car!

Costa Rica
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10. Re: Still confused about car rental insurance requirements-HELP!

If you are sending emails to the Budget organization in the US, you might get a different answer. They just don't know.

Liability insurance is mandatory, by law, in Costa Rica when you rent a car. No other insurance you may have will cover it. Period. It is only issued through INS in Costa Rica. Some rental car companies include it in their quotes - some don't.

As for being nervous about driving --- don't be! Tranquilo! Almost all the highways are two-lane but in good shape. You just need to slow down, obey the traffic laws and be aware of what's going on.

I would give you similar advice if you were headed to some remote, mountainous areas of California where there are two-lane, country roads. It's like that.