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Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

Miami, Florida
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173 posts
29 reviews
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Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

Traveling to Panama can be a very good experience unless you are renting a car.

Rent a car companies in Panama are nothing but Insurance Agencies making big dollars.

When I went to pick up my car I presented all my credit card documentation regarding car insurance coverage around the world. I even brought a letter itemizing all possible damages covered in case of an accident but the rental companies don't care about it. They tell you: you have to buy insurance or you don't get the car. Period.

This practice needs to end; it is a rip off.

If your credit card offered car insurance coverage for Panama why do travelers need to buy en extra insurance. What is the purpose of driving with 2 insurance policies?

There are many tricks and catches to steal a dollar from tourists but selling insurance covered as car rental company is something that Panama should be ashamed of.

Coronado Concierge Panama
Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours, City Tours, Cultural Tours
Monkey Island Tours
Sightseeing Tours, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Qualicum Beach...
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77 posts
50 reviews
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1. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

What company did you rent the car from? Other than the obligatory insurance, did the rental process go ok?

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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5,524 posts
24 reviews
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2. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

By Panamanian law, there is an obligatory $18 - $22 per day liability waiver. That doesn't include collision, medical, theft, vandalism or anything other than basic liability. If you want coverage beyond the mandatory liability, you pay more. Yes, some agencies try to push the additional insurance on you. Not all. I've only had two instances when one Avis agency and Barriga pushed, but I argued and they finally had to accept my AmEx coverage. I have never had a problem with Avis at Abrook or Budget or Dollar in El Cangrejo. (Hertz at Tocumen also putshed it on me, but that was before I knew better than to rent a car at Tocumen.)

The only insurance that none of the rental companies will accept is third party insurance -- especially the kind that can be purchased online. That is written into the rental terms. (You know, the terms you're supposed to have read when you book a rental car online. The terms that you check the box, stating you've read and accepted them.) Rental companies in Panama only accept insurance policies provided by the credit card company that you are using to pay for the rental charges.

One other thing to keep in mind. If, for any reason, there is any damage to your car, pray that your credit card company comes through very quickly. You will be required to pay cash for any damages not covered by the rental ageny's insurance before you're allowed to leave the country.

Miami, Florida
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173 posts
29 reviews
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3. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

Yes, that law is just ridiculous and it should not be applied when you present proof of insurance. The obligatory $18 or $20 should be waived too when the customer provide their own insurance coverage. Panama rental business is an Insurance Company. I've traveled well enough and I was able to decline all insurance costs by the rental company just because my Credit Card covered the vehicle. But Panama is a different planet; a country owned by the same people who owns -yes you guessed- the insurance companies.

Miami, Florida
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173 posts
29 reviews
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4. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

The rental process was a mess on its own.

The company I rented from was ACE Rental. I DO NOT recommend ACE to anybody. Their cars are old and filthy, their staff lacks the most basic knowledge about customer treatment. The car I was offered did not have the tag decal and its registration was expired; I found out about this when a police officer stop me to let me know that I was driving a vehicle with an expired tag and registration. How about that!

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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5,524 posts
24 reviews
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5. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

Uh, oh. Another victim of Ace. There have been a number of posts and threads on TA regarding Ace. Not one has had anything good to say about Ace. Every one of them addressed the same issues: bad tires, old, filthy, beat up cars, less-than-honest-or-helpful agency personnel, breakdowns, overcharges, etc., etc. I wish you and every other person who rents from them had read the other threads about them. Maybe the next thread should read, "Ace Car Rental needs to be stopped!"

Atlanta, Georgia...
Destination Expert
for Colon, Isla Grande, Portobelo
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5,524 posts
24 reviews
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6. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

By the way ... take a look at the difference in "local policy" terms for both ACE and Dollar. ACE won't accept AmEx so the AmEx insurance can't be applied. Dollar accepts AmEx and all the others. ACE requires three types of very confusling insurance coverage and makes no provision for credit card coverage. On top of that, they automatically put a $300 damage deposit on your credit card. Hmmm. Dollar requires only the mandatory $18.50 - $23.50 per day coverage, but does require "written proof" that either your personal car insurance or your credit card provided insurance applies in Panama. Add it all up and ACE's cheap cars become very expensive motorized wrecks and the moderately priced rental companies are far more attractive.

Brooklyn, New York
Destination Expert
for Sarapiqui
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6,403 posts
148 reviews
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7. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

This is the rule more often than not outside of the US. Try renting a car in Mexico if you don't believe me.

Miami, Florida
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173 posts
29 reviews
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8. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

I second that motion. Ace Rent a car needs to be stopped.

CDY
Medellin, Colombia
Destination Expert
for Panama City
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3,908 posts
99 reviews
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9. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

Yes it is a pain, i once took every insurance poilcy there was, company was picking up the tab, even had insurance to cover the deductable, somewhere lost a hubcap - still got charged. They also tried to charge me for a dent - under the car.

But bottom line is - it is Panama not the States, dont expect the same and dont epect things to change.

And if you think Panama is expensive try renting a car in Colombia.

Mentioned in this post
Colombia
Colombia
South America
Deer Park, Texas
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284 posts
6 reviews
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10. Re: Obligatory insurance need to be stopped!

We rented from Hertz at the PC airport last week. I had checked with my cc company and they confirmed that my insurance through them was sufficient. When we returned the undamaged car yesterday there was a perfunctory check and then we wrapped up paperwork and moved on. No issues