BEST CAR RENTAL: The Samurai Way

Car rental is really a hot topic for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Recent research conducted by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) indicates that, after accommodations, renting a car may be the largest expense, averaging $702 for an eleven-day vacation.

THE WEB is buzzing with negative reviews discussing overcharging, poor customer service and mechanical breakdowns. You may have even written one yourself!

An average midsize (3 – 4 adults) 4X4 rental runs between $58 and $65 daily with third party insurance and rates may differ up to 20 percent among car rental companies, so reading an instant review will be time well spent as soon as you calculate the savings.

So the question is; which rental company supplies the best balance of fair price, capable customer service and reliable vehicles? I’ve researched everything for you, so continue reading!

Disclosure: This research was conducted in-may – July 2013. The following companies were selected because they’re the most trusted in Costa Rica. Some are local companies; others are international franchises of recognized brand names. rentals car near me Comparisons include: customer support, pricing and the reservation process. The firms are listed alphabetically and not predicated on personal or online preferences.
Think about this information before renting:

Insurance

One of the primary causes for complaints is from the stack of unforeseen charges presented to the renter once standing at the rental company’s counter. Vacationers are typically tired after a long flight and then are confronted by costs that were not anticipated, explained or budgeted.

Topping the set of grievances may be the non-disclosure of fees associated with the mandatory third-party insurance at the time the reservation is made.

In accordance with Costa Rican law, every driver must carry liability coverage to insure against injuries to third parties. Car rental companies generally refrain from disclosing the cost of this policy in the quoted rental rate to appear more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can sometimes be up to double the vehicle’s rental cost. The only guarantee against insurance confusion is to inquire if your estimate includes the 3rd party insurance and insist on a written quotation.

Cost of Mandatory Insurance (also known as Third Party or SLI)

Expect to pay between $12 and $15 daily because of this insurance, depending on the make and style of the rented vehicle and the rental car agency. This can be a legal condition of your rental agreement and is normally not covered by credit cards and cannot be waived. It goes without saying of renting a car in Costa Rica.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

As the name suggests, this is not insurance, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any liability for harm to the rental car following the deductible is paid (usually from $750 to $1,500). Some agencies require renters to purchase their CDW policy; thereby negating any charge card program. For yet another fee, many agencies do provide a zero liability option where in fact the renter will be free of paying for any damage to the automobile. Some companies may put pressure upon renters to purchase the zero liability coverage; however, it is entirely optional, unless it is in the fine print of these rental agreement.

Charge card insurance programs may cover the CDW for accommodations vehicle. Check with your chosen rental car company to find which proof of insurance is necessary and then request that from your credit card company ahead of arriving. If you use your credit card’s CDW policy, expect to pay an increased deposit on the automobile; around $1,500 to $2000 is common. The higher deposit ensures that the credit card holder has enough financial reserves to cover damages if needed. You should consider that when using CDW coverage supplied by a credit card (in lieu of the rent an automobile operator), all damages will be billed to the renter’s charge card. The credit card company will then reimburse the card holder for damages.

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