What I should know when renting a Car in Costa Rica *Insurance*?

Actualizado: 12 de sep de 2018


There is too much information about this on the web that makes this topic overwhelming. Nobody seems to be accurate and reliable to provide with a real answer..

After more than 10 years on this business I think I have seen a lot of this and many other information that will help you make your car rental experience smoother as possible.

First of all, people needs to understand that Costa Rica is a different country (not an island) and is not part of the USA (as many people think); so it have their own rules and requirements to every sector of the industry.

So, what is that means when renting a car? Easy, renting a car is different than USA, Europe, and others.

In the following information I will explain about the rent a car most commonly questions and answers.


Does my Debit or Credit Card cover rental insurance in Costa Rica?

1. Does my Debit or Credit Card cover rental insurance in Costa Rica?

Debit Cards… No. Don’t even tried, a Debit Card is a totally different thing than a Credit Card and they don’t provide any coverage here. So using your debit card to use it for coverage will be a risk. Because in case of an accident, the rent a car company will charge you the damages directly and if you don’t have the available balance, you will be in trouble.

Regarding Credit Cards: Now we are getting in to business, the answer is: it may cover, but different rules may apply. Some companies has different requirements but the most commonly ones are: higher security deposit, coverage letter and others. (more information here)

The only one that really know if the credit card covers or not, is the card holder and the only way to find out is by asking the credit card directly.

When asking you need to specify that you will be renting a car in COSTA RICA (if you don’t mention this, the credit card agent may think that you are renting in your country and therefore will give you wrong information).

Questions like; what kind of cars does cover (SUV, LUXURY, FULL SIZE SEDANS and VANS)?


Does cover off roads (like natural reserves trails, unpaved roads)?

Does it cover car accessories (radio, rims)?

Does it cover negligence (like driving on river beds, beaches, alcohol)?

Does it cover car accessories (radio, rims)?

Does it cover incidents (like a broken windshield because a coconut fall on it)?

Does it cover tires and windows broken by a rock while driving?

What’s the percentage of coverage provided. 80%, 50%?

Will it be a primary or secondary?

I have seen many surprises about it.

Safe your rear end!!! Cover this topics, ask for their coverage letter, so you have that in writing (some rent a car REQUIRE this in Costa Rica).

IS SLI or Third Party Liability coverage (as known in Costa Rica) Required?

The answer is YES, as mentioned on my other post. https://www.hertzrentacarcostarica.com/blog/car-rental-coverage-in-costa-rica-how-it-works

Here some other ‘’normal’’ questions

1. Do I have Third Party Liability thru my Credit Card?

On all of this years in this industry, I haven’t seem a single credit card that covers TPL in Costa Rica (and I have seem thousands and thousands of those, believe me). I’m not saying that there won’t be one that covers, but I haven’t seen it yet.

Third party is the country minimum require coverage and it cover someone else’s car, life and/or property. This is not for the rented car, it’s for third party.

If you call your credit card company directly and find out by saying. Do I have Third Party Coverage in Costa Rica? If they do, request this in writing.

Some companies won’t let you decline this but some other, like Hertz in Costa Rica, will require to have a written proof of TPL in Costa Rica so you can decline this.

2. Do I have Third Party Liability thru my insurance company at home?

Your insurance company may cover this here but you need to bring a letter in writing (not an email from the insurance agent, not the hole insurance booklet, please) that specify that Third Party is cover in Costa Rica.

Here is a good advice, some rent a car companies in Costa Rica has what we call a low cost rental website, where they have lower rates and it depends in the availability of cars, more cars, less price, less cars, more price; on it they includes the mandatory coverage in the quote.

Like this website, www.hertzcostaricarentacar.com is our low cost, local website.

Any reservation here will includes the mandatory coverage at a special price.

3. Can I decline ALL the insurance?

If you comply with the requirements to decline both CDW and TPL, then YES.

But if you don’t, then NO.


This beautiful country is different and not part of the USA or EUROPE and has own rules that needs to be follow.


Do not hesitate to ask any question by registering below. I've glad to help.



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