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U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

Sterling, Virginia
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3 posts
5 reviews
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U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

We recently completed a two week trip from the US to Costa Rica and used U-Save as our car rental company. We reserved a 4 wheel drive vehicle for two weeks with U-Save Car and Truck Rental there at San Jose airport. This was our first time in Costa Rica and we found that U-Save was a short shuttle ride off the premises of the airport. We had a pre-arranged agreement on price and had purchased car insurance through Orbitz as we had heard that it was mandatory. The total was $558 and the insurance part of that was $126.

When we got there, the U-Save car rental agent informed us that the insurance Orbitz had sold us and which we had already paid for was not any good in Costa Rica and that we would have to pay insurance separately. He told us there was a monopoly on insurance in CR and that it would be necessary to purchase their insurance. He jotted down on paper and in handwriting three options: The first was for about $300 and would require a huge security deposit of $1500! It would not cover certain things and he warned us there were a lot of dangerous scenarios that we may end up encountering. The second was like $400 and also didn't cover all; that security deposit was about $1000. The last was $500 and would cover any scratch, nick or theft and all possibly scenarios, towing etc. We could call the agency with this option and they would be there to help anytime. It seemed from what he was telling us and the lower security deposit of $500 as the best of three bad options. (pricewise).

So the difference in what we expected to pay and the quote from Orbitz was about $500! We were stranded at a satellite car rental in a foreign country and it was late and dark. We had to make a call to cancel the Orbitz insurance and have it reimbursed which was not offered to us but that we insisted on first (luckily that went fairly smoothly because we had not gotten into the vehicle yet) and then buy the very expensive option presented to us there. We got the feeling from the fact that our options were handwritten and that we were basically stranded there that U-Save wasn't exactly on the "up and up" on this deal.

When we got back we called Access America, who provides the insurance for Orbitz customers and they had not heard of any problems with their insurance in CR. We got the feeling that we were swindled by U-Save and I would highly advise those traveling to CR to check prior to landing what to expect and whether they accept third party insurance. Please be cautious of off-site rental car companies and U-Save in particular!

Grecia, Costa Rica
Destination Expert
for Province of Alajuela
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7,994 posts
43 reviews
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1. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

Thats a bummer, sorry to hear about your troubles and thanks for posting the info.

Punta Arenas, Costa...
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787 posts
11 reviews
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2. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

OP, you might want to contact the government travel agency/bureau here in Costa Rica and claim some or all the funds back, or at the very least, put in a complaint with the licensing agency for U-Save. It appears to me that they are members of the agency as they are promoted on the government website, and must adhere to traveler satisfaction guidelines, which include the occasion where someone is taken advantage of with limited or no options. You could try contacting U-Save again and suggest a settlement otherwise you would contact the governing body and they could take action.

The link leads you to the site: www.visitcostarica.com/ict/paginas/ict.asp…

I am surprised some of the members of the bureau who monitor this site haven't already suggested this option for you, because most want the industry to adhere to standards and limit the damage caused a traveler who might or might not choose to return.

Good luck with your action if you choose to proceed.

San Jose, Costa Rica
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46,665 posts
35 reviews
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3. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

Send a report to ICT...but if you look around the forum , yau can easily find out that some people have already mentioned U-Save rent a car...

In my case I alway advice to dealt with the big guys..mom and pop rent a cars...most of the time you just do not rent a car...also a headache..

roadadvisor

Costa Rica
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25,654 posts
25 reviews
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4. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

A teeny bit of what U-Save told you is true. There is a mandatory BY LAW liability insurance that you must get in Costa Rica no matter what other insurance you have. I don't care if you have insurance from Lloyds of London, you have to get this liability insurance. Some car rental companies include this in their quote and some don't.

As far as I know, the Orbitz/Access America insurance is a generalized Trip Insurance plan and not specifically a car rental insurance plan - but -- I could be wrong. It's possible we are talking about two different things here.

Sounds like everything went downhill from there and ended up in a train wreck! Sorry you had this bad experience.

By the way, there are many "off-site" car rental companies that are not only legitimate but professional and recommended. Being "off-site" should allow you to save money because they are not paying the fee to the airport.

Punta Arenas, Costa...
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787 posts
11 reviews
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5. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

A tip for you Hattie once again, insurance in CR is a tricky and changeable thing. Cost should be lower with companies like U-Save, as the on-site rental car companies must pay quite a hefty fee/rental to be in the arrivals area. And not all off-site car rental agencies are out to grab whatever they can, still, here on TA often a traveler can see first hand and current reviews before they encounter a problem.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Costa Rica
Level Contributor
9,523 posts
23 reviews
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6. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

I agree that insurance is tricky but it looks like 2 things happened here. Orbits sold her some insurance plan that did not satisfy the required insurance coverage in Costa Rica. Luckily it sounds like the OP got her money from Access America but this was clearly not the fault of the local car rental agency. Then the agency charged her $300 for 2 weeks insurance or roughly $22/day for basic insurance with a large deductible and a sizable hold on their credit card. I checked a couple of recommended rental car outfits and found that their daily mandatory insurance was $15-25/day for an intermediate or large 4WD SUV. I think the credit card hold was a poor deal and there may be better deals out there, but it really sounds like the poster is upset that they were hit with a very large unknown charge late at night when they don't seem to have any good choices. I sympathize and I'm no fan of U-Save but I don't think she was "swindled."

Connecticut, USA
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514 posts
27 reviews
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7. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

I pulled up my reservation email from my recent rental with National off the LIR airport grounds. Granted, I had received excellent info on this forum prior to departing, so I knew what to expect, but they only charged me $10/day for a fairly large automatic SUV (Suzuki Grand Vitara class). Pasted in from the rental agreement--$10/day for SLC and I waived LDW because my charge card covered LDW.

SLC - Supplemental Liability Coverage

10.00/day

LDW & SLC CAN NOT BE DECLINED AT THE SAME TIME

We traveled to Ireland this spring and so many of the TA negative car rental posts were about 'unexpected' insurance costs. Although we would all prefer to not pay the costs, a little research reveals them in advance. I do agree that some of the car rental firms (in both Ireland and CR) do not properly explain the insurance on their websites. I just telephone in advance to confirm details.

Colorado
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398 posts
20 reviews
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8. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

Is U-Save the same as Avanti? It seems there are some old posts that use both names for the same company?

San Jose, Costa Rica
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3,528 posts
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9. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

That was a bad experience. I agree insurance in CR is a tricky and changeable thing. Some car rentals give you a cheap rate for the rental to get you to book and when you when here they charge you very high rates for mandatory insurance. You might end up paying more on insurance than the actual rental if you choose all the insurance options.

I woudn´t hold much hopes on getting any money back even with a complain to the ICT it might take months and there is a mandatory insurance that you have to pay.

Playa Guiones...
Destination Expert
for Nosara
Level Contributor
2,270 posts
4 reviews
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10. Re: U-Save Car rental insurance swindle in Costa Rica

Wow. A horrible rental car experience and a horrible restaurant experience...was there anything good about your vacation or can we expect nothing but bad news?