Information to Automobile Rental Firms in Costa Rica

“My time’s restricted… how do I select?”

Automobile rental is a sizzling subject for vacationers headed to Costa Rica. Latest analysis carried out by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism (ICT) signifies that, after lodging, renting a automotive is the biggest expense, averaging $702 for an eleven-day trip.

The Web is buzzing with adverse critiques discussing overcharging, poor customer support and mechanical breakdowns. You might need even written one your self!

A typical midsize (3 – Four adults) 4X4 rental runs between $58 and $65 every day with third get together insurance coverage and charges can range as a lot as 20 p.c amongst automotive rental corporations, so studying a fast overview might be time properly spent when you calculate the financial savings.

So the query is; which rental firm provides one of the best stability of honest worth, succesful customer support and dependable automobiles? I’ve researched all of it for you, so maintain studying!

Disclosure: This analysis was carried out in Could – July 2013. The next corporations have been chosen as a result of they’re essentially the most broadly utilized in Costa Rica. Some are native corporations; others are worldwide franchises of acknowledged model names. Comparisons embody: customer support, pricing and the reservation course of. The businesses are listed alphabetically and never primarily based on private or on-line preferences.

Think about this info earlier than renting:

Insurance coverage

One of many greatest causes for complaints is from the stack of unexpected costs offered to the renter as soon as standing on the rental firm’s counter. Vacationers are usually drained after an extended flight after which are confronted by prices that weren’t anticipated, defined or budgeted.

Topping the listing of grievances is the non-disclosure of charges related to the necessary third-party insurance coverage on the time the reservation is made.

Based on Costa Rican regulation, each driver is required to hold legal responsibility protection to insure in opposition to accidents to 3rd events. Automobile rental corporations usually chorus from disclosing the price of this coverage within the quoted rental charge to seem extra aggressive. Obligatory third-party insurance coverage can generally be as a lot as double the automobile’s rental price. The one assure in opposition to insurance coverage confusion is to inquire in case your estimate contains the third get together insurance coverage and demand on a written citation.

Value of Obligatory Insurance coverage (additionally known as Third Occasion or SLI)

Count on to pay between $12 and $15 every day for this insurance coverage, relying on the make and mannequin of the rented automobile and the rental automotive company. It is a authorized situation of your rental settlement and is usually not coated by bank cards and can’t be waived. It is a truth of renting a automotive in Costa Rica.

Collision Injury Waiver (CDW)

Because the identify suggests, this is not insurance coverage, however a waiver, which relieves the renter from any legal responsibility for harm to the rental automotive after the deductible is paid (often from $750 to $1,500). Some businesses require renters to buy their CDW coverage; thereby negating any bank card program. For an extra price, many businesses do provide a zero legal responsibility choice the place the renter might be free of paying for any harm to the automotive. Some corporations might put strain upon renters to buy the zero legal responsibility protection; nonetheless, it’s completely elective, until it’s within the high-quality print of their rental settlement.

Bank card insurance coverage packages might cowl the CDW for a rental automobile. Examine along with your chosen rental automotive firm to search out which proof of insurance coverage is required after which request that out of your bank card firm previous to arriving. Should you use your bank card’s CDW coverage, count on to pay the next deposit on the automobile; round $1,500 to $2000 is frequent. The upper deposit ensures that the bank card holder has sufficient monetary reserves to cowl damages if wanted. You will need to take into account that if utilizing CDW protection supplied by a bank card (in lieu of the lease a automotive operator), all damages might be billed to the renter’s bank card. The bank card firm will then reimburse the cardboard holder for damages.

Extra Insurance coverage

Tires and windshields are hardly ever included in insurance coverage insurance policies, though further insurance policies could also be taken out for protecting these regularly broken objects. Neither the inside nor the beneath of the automobile could also be coated. All the time learn the high-quality print.

Normal Process

Your bank card might be charged, or a ‘maintain’ positioned, for the rental automobile in the course of the time of the rental settlement; i.e. from choosing up the rental till you come it. Debit playing cards are usually not acceptable.

Extra Fees

Most corporations have surcharges for extra drivers, automotive seats/boosters, cell telephones, coolers, GPS and/or roof racks. The prices range from firm to firm, however since these extras are billed at a every day charge, it’s price checking the full price — further choices can add up in a short time! A GPS is round $Eight to $10 per day; nonetheless, some operators might provide discounted models. Count on to pay round $5 every day for a kid seat and some {dollars} a day for all the opposite ‘niceties’. Vamos is notable for providing most of those choices and, throughout some promotions, even the GPS rental complimentarily. Alamo, Finances, Hertz and Nationwide cost essentially the most for such further choices; whereas the opposite corporations listed, cost extra cheap costs.

Surcharges

Most corporations add small incremental prices, resembling license plate and environmental charges, into the full tally. Be cautious of operators who insert these further costs into the small print of the rental contract. Automobiles rented direct on the airport incur airport taxes, that are a whopping 12% of your rental price!

The rental automobile needs to be returned with the identical quantity of gasoline, until in any other case indicated. If not, corporations might cost above fuel station charges for lacking gasoline.

Automobiles

There’s a debate over the automobiles provided by rental corporations: Older vehicles permit the motive force to mix in additional than a shiny, new automotive. Having an older mannequin might have the oblique advantage of being much less scrutinized by automotive rental businesses for latest nicks and scratches, in contrast to a more moderen automobile. Nonetheless, a more moderen automobile could also be extra roadworthy. This debate carries on into the completely different automobile makes and fashions. Usually, Costa Rican companies are in a position to lease their automobiles for a decrease charge as a result of their vehicles are usually three to 5 years previous (versus two to a few). On-line critiques would recommend that the native companies haven’t any extra complaints regarding automobile high quality than transnational franchises; analysis on boards, resembling TripAdvisor.com, appears to point that prospects regularly respect driving a less-than-new automobile by way of the wilds of Costa Rica. The explanations are lots, from street circumstances to the notion of less-then-new automobiles mixing in higher — a more moderen automobile might draw extra undesirable consideration.

The alternatives of rental vehicles in Costa Rica are principally restricted to makes and fashions that preserve a aggressive resale worth, are a typical model within the nation, and are cheap to keep up. As such a rent-a-car operator’s fleet have a tendency to not be as various as the USA. Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi and Hyundai represent the mainstay manufacturers of most rental fleets.

Generally, drivers are charged for supposed ‘damages’ to the automobile upon return. As soon as receiving the automobile, renters ought to meticulously examine for pre-existing flaws and evaluate it with the automobile inspection doc utilized by the rental automotive consultant. Some renters recommend photographing or videoing the automobile from all angles, to keep away from any disagreement between pre-existing and lately broken objects.

Pricing

Automobile leases in Costa Rica are pricier in comparison with different international locations. Duties on automobiles are excessive (as a lot as 50% of their worth!), elements are costlier and unforgiving street circumstances contribute to greater put on and tear, producing greater upkeep prices.

The rule is you get what you pay for — there are different choices than these rental corporations listed right here, however they don’t seem to be listed for a superb motive. They merely fail to supply fundamental customer support and/or an acceptable automobile situation required for a (practically) trouble-free trip.

When evaluating rental automotive costs, it’s best to go on to the Costa Rican web site of the rental automotive firm, relatively than making an attempt to make use of their worldwide format or an middleman (Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, Kayak, et al.). For a similar automobiles and reservation dates, the charges supplied by the respective worldwide vs. Costa Rican web sites for Alamo, Finances, Hertz and Thrifty differed considerably.

To keep away from confusion, print out all correspondence with the automotive rental firm with whom you’ve got reserved a automobile and convey this to the rental workplace with the quote given on the time of reservation.

The next high ten chart ranks the businesses from highest priced to lowest and it contains the necessary insurance coverage cost. Within the instances of Alamo and Hertz, the determine accommodates their CDW price as it’s one among their rental necessities. This worth comparability relies on every week’s rental of a Daihatsu Bego, the place out there (Greenback provides the Suzuki Vitara) from September 14th – 21st, then once more in December to view each Inexperienced and Excessive Season charges. The listing rapidly demonstrates that the value variation relies upon enormously on the corporate — for mainly the identical service. These costs have been obtained in June/July 2013.

Rental Automobile Firms Ranked Based on Worth

September

10. Alamo $650.96

9. Hertz $514.27

8. Adobe $449

7. Finances $455

6. Nationwide $428.01

5. Thrifty $421.05

4. Service $374.43

3. Vamos $370.30

2. Greenback $364

1. Wild Rider $350

December

10. Alamo $650.96

9. Nationwide $597.51

8. Hertz $566.52

7. Finances $555

6. Greenback $532

5. Thrifty $506.58

4. Service $494.43

3. Vamos $461.30

2. Adobe $459

1. Wild Rider $395

Alamo ranks quantity ten for each seasons, making it the costliest firm. Finances, Hertz and Nationwide additionally charge low on the size for economical rental choices.

Firm Summaries

Adobe

Web site is evident and simple to make use of, however pricing and even the automobiles listed will not be the identical as these given by an workplace consultant over the telephone. Obligatory insurance coverage prices will not be proven with the listing of automobiles and rental costs, however they’re clearly displayed on the next web page as a buyer strikes in the direction of reserving a reservation. Combined buyer critiques on-line. E mail response is lower than 24 hours, however might not present all requested info.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity. No Reside Chat.

10 workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $19 every day

Extra costs: GPS $9/day, youngster seat $5/day

Alamo

Web site is evident and simple to make use of, however costs differ in opposition to quotes acquired over the telephone. Obligatory insurance coverage prices will not be given with the listing of automobiles and rental costs, however they’re clearly displayed on the next web page because the buyer strikes in the direction of making a reservation. Combined buyer critiques on-line. E mail response is lower than 24 hours.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity or Reside chat

14 workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $11.95 every day, however should additionally take their CDW at $12.95 every day

Extra costs: GPS $12/day, youngster seat $6/day

Finances

Web site is fundamental, however simple to make use of. Costs on-line differ to the quotations given by a consultant over the telephone and relying on whether or not the worldwide or Costa Rican web site is used. Obligatory insurance coverage prices are given together with the listing of automobiles; nonetheless, the opposite costs will not be listed. Combined buyer critiques on-line. E mail response is greater than 24 hours.

No toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity. No Reside Chat on Costa Rican web site.

10 workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: included within the listed worth

Extra costs: GPS $10.95/day, youngster seat $12/day (the costliest of the highest ten)

Greenback

Web site is evident and simple to make use of. Costs quoted differ if calling from the U.S. or in Costa Rica. Obligatory insurance coverage prices will not be given with the listing of automobiles and rental costs, however they’re clearly displayed on the next web page as a buyer strikes in the direction of a making a reservation. Combined critiques on-line, however usually receives optimistic suggestions. E mail inquiries answered inside 24 hours.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity. No Reside Chat.

Three workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $16 every day

Extra costs: GPS $9/day, youngster seat $5/day

Hertz

Web site is evident and simple to make use of. Obligatory insurance coverage prices will not be given moreover the listing of automobiles and rental costs, however they’re clearly displayed on the next web page because the buyer strikes in the direction of a reserving a reservation. Combined buyer critiques on-line. E mail response lower than 24 hours.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity and Reside Chat (though it appears to be completely offline)

7 workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $17.43 every day, however their CDW can also be a requirement

Extra costs: GPS $12/day, youngster seat $2/day

Nationwide

Web site is evident and simple to make use of. Obligatory insurance coverage prices will not be given together with the listing of automobiles and rental costs, however they’re clearly displayed on the next web page as a buyer strikes in the direction of making a reservation. Combined buyer critiques on-line, however extra optimistic than adverse. E mail response lower than 24 hours.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity. Reside Chat.

22 workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $25 every day (the costliest of the highest ten)

Extra costs: GPS $12/day, youngster seat $6/day

Service

Web site is evident and consumer pleasant with only a slight confusion in that an internet quote is obtained by clicking on ‘Reserve Now’ and never the ‘Get a Quote’ choice. The response to a telephone inquiry was to make use of the web site. Obligatory insurance coverage prices are given together with the listing of automobiles and rental costs for the off-season costs and on the second web page of the opposite citation web page. Keep in mind is a extremely really useful gross sales consultant who’s talked about in lots of on-line critiques for the excessive degree of his customer support. Usually on-line critiques are optimistic for Service. E mail response is lower than 24 hours, though all info requested will not be acquired.

U.S.A telephone quantity, however not toll-free. No Reside Chat.

5 workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $15 every day

Extra costs: GPS $5.99/day, youngster seat $2.99/day

Thrifty

Costa Rican model of the web site is unattainable to make use of and you’re requested to register for a consumer identify and password. Obligatory insurance coverage prices will not be given together with the listing of automobiles and rental costs. A buyer has to click on on “Safety Choices” on the U.S. web site and choose the necessary insurance coverage by clicking on it — implying that it’s elective and never a required price. Thrifty are likely to obtain combined critiques on-line. E mail response is greater than 24 hours.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity. No Reside Chat.

Four workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $19.99 every day

Extra costs: GPS $10/day, youngster seat $5/day

Vamos

Web site is evident and simple to make use of. Obligatory insurance coverage prices will not be given alongside aspect the listing of automobiles and rental costs, however are clearly displayed on the next web page because the buyer strikes in the direction of reserving a reservation. Anibal, a consultant, is regularly talked about in on-line critiques for his excessive degree of customer support expertise. Normal Supervisor, George Schwarzenbach is understood on Journey Advisor for his upfront and trustworthy responses to prospects’ posts.

In recent times, Vamos has acquired very optimistic critiques on-line. E mail response is lower than 24 hours. Reside Chat has instantaneous response time to inquiries.

Toll-free U.S.A and Canada telephone quantity. Reside Chat.

Three workplaces nationwide

Obligatory insurance coverage: $11.95 every day

Extra costs: GPS $8/day, youngster seat free

Wild Rider

Web site is evident and simple to make use of. Obligatory insurance coverage prices are given subsequent to the listing of automobiles. Wild Rider is the one automotive rental agency in Costa Rica with no seen unhealthy critiques on-line. Proprietor, Thorsten, is usually praised for his effectivity and customer support, regardless of the very restricted sources the corporate has at hand. Emails obtain very immediate and detailed responses in lower than 12 hours.

No toll-free telephone quantity or Reside Chat

1 workplace — no Liberia airport workplace

Obligatory insurance coverage: included

Extra costs: GPS $8/day, youngster seat $5/day

Comparability Overview

Buyer Service

Vamos and Wild Rider reply rapidly and effectively to e mail or dwell chat inquiries. Adobe, Alamo, Greenback, Hertz, Nationwide, and Service reply to e mail inquiries in lower than 24 hours, however Adobe and Service didn’t present all the knowledge requested (presumably a language barrier). Finances provides a free telephone service, but it surely seems to be all the time busy. Hertz’s dwell chat seems to be continually offline. Throughout the previous yr, prospects who posted to on-line overview websites expressed a selected satisfaction with the customer support supplied by Service, Vamos and Wild Rider.

Readability

Adobe, Alamo and Finances have completely different rental costs posted on their web sites than these quoted over the telephone. Phone costs have been decrease than that quoted on the web site within the instances of Adobe and Alamo, however but greater within the case of Finances. Adobe additionally provides completely different automobile fashions over the telephone as in comparison with their web site. Worldwide automotive rental companies with each a Costa Rican and worldwide web site seem to have pricing variations between the 2 websites.

Finances and Wild Rider embody the necessary insurance coverage of their rental costs, however Finances states that ‘different costs’ which might be offered on the counter within the small print on their web site. Rental costs for automotive seating needed to be verified on the telephone as they don’t seem to be listed on the Finances web site.

All different corporations except for Thrifty (a U.S. web site), clearly present the necessary insurance coverage price with the citation given. Thrifty’s Costa Rican web site is just unusable.

Pricing

Service, Vamos and Wild Rider constantly provide one of the best charges for each Inexperienced and Excessive seasons, though Greenback has one of many lowest Inexperienced season charges out there, whereas Adobe has a less expensive Excessive season charge. Vamos provide one of the best “all inclusive” charges, given that the majority choices are supplied without spending a dime.

Adobe, Greenback, Service, Thrifty and Wild Rider stay aggressive with their pricing of things resembling youngster seats. Alamo, Hertz and Nationwide are the costliest corporations to lease from and their further choice prices are additionally dearer.

“So, what’s your rental advice?”

Total, the Costa Rican corporations appear to trump the multi-nationals with higher pricing, service and readability.

Service provides a usually high-level of customer support and pretty aggressive pricing at each worldwide airports.

Vamos can provide environment friendly reserving and continued high-level of customer support with aggressive pricing, in addition to free further choices at each SJO and LIR airports.

Wild Rider could be very extremely rated for a rental with clear and economical pricing and glorious customer support, however they’re solely in San Jose.

“Now you are able to ebook your rental automotive after seeing how the competitors compares. Good luck and joyful travels!”

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