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 an automobile is the largest expense, averaging $702 for an eleven-day vacation.

rent a car in NY THE WEB is buzzing with negative reviews discussing overcharging, poor customer support and mechanical breakdowns. You may have even written one yourself!

A typical midsize (3 – 4 adults) 4X4 rental runs between $58 and $65 daily with alternative party insurance and rates may differ around 20 percent among car rental companies, so reading a quick review will be time well spent once you calculate the savings.

So the question is; which rental company offers 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 brands. Comparisons include: customer service, pricing and the reservation process. The companies are listed alphabetically rather than predicated on personal or online preferences.
Consider 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 are confronted by costs which were not anticipated, explained or budgeted.

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

According to Costa Rican law, every driver is required to carry liability coverage to insure against injuries to third parties. Car rental companies generally avoid disclosing the price of this policy in the quoted rental rate to seem more competitive. Mandatory third-party insurance can often be around double the vehicle’s rental cost. The only guarantee against insurance confusion would be to inquire if your estimate includes the 3rd party insurance and insist upon a written quotation.

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

Expect to pay between $12 and $15 daily for this insurance, with respect to the make and model of the rented vehicle and the rental car agency. This can be a legal condition of your rental agreement and is generally not covered by bank cards and cannot be waived. It’s a fact of renting an automobile in Costa Rica.

Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

As the name suggests, this isn’t insurance, but a waiver, which relieves the renter from any liability for damage to the rental car after 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 harm to the car. Some companies may put pressure upon renters to get the zero liability coverage; however, it really is entirely optional, unless it is in the fine print of these rental agreement.

Credit card insurance programs may cover the CDW for a rental vehicle. Check with your chosen rental car company to get which proof of insurance is necessary and then request that from your credit card company prior to arriving. If you use your credit card’s CDW policy, be prepared to pay a higher deposit on the vehicle; 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. It is very important consider that if using CDW coverage supplied by a credit card (instead of the rent a car operator), all damages will undoubtedly be billed to the renter’s charge card. The credit card company will reimburse the card holder for damages.

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