28 Jan 2007 • Updated 25 Mar 2022
Unsure of which rental car insurance coverages you’ll need for your trip to Costa Rica? In less than a minute each, we’ll explain in the following videos. 🙂
Mystified by mandatory car insurance? Let us clarify this elusive addition that most rental companies later tack on to their quotes — but not Vamos! We offer 100% transparent, no hidden fee quotations right from the start.
Your safety is very important to us. Please read the three options of automobile insurance protection which are offered during your reservation process.
The Third Party Liability [aka Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)] is required coverage in Costa Rica, just as it is in Italy, Ireland, Mexico or New Zealand.
This waiver protects renters against liabilities resulting from injuries to bystanders and damages to third party property.
This basic coverage includes:
Current pricing for the mandatory Third Party Liability coverage:
The renter or authorized driver is responsible for any loss or damage to the rental vehicle, regardless of who is at fault. Vamos provides the renter and authorized drivers with two options to cap the financial responsibility for loss of or damage to the rental vehicle through the purchase of a Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).
CDW is not insurance, but rather a waiver of Vamos Rent-A-Car’s rights to collect for such occurrences. There are two CDW options: Basic and Full. Both waivers are optional.
In order to decline both CDW coverages; i.e. selecting only the Mandatory TPL, the renter must show official, written proof of credit card CDW coverage prior to the start of the rental. This is generally a letter (or printed email) from the credit card company, showing the full name of the card holder/renter as well as the last 4 digits of the credit card that will be used to rent the vehicle. We will make a copy and attach it to the rental agreement. In the absence of this proof, the vehicle cannot be rented without in-house CDW.
Customers with CDW coverage through their credit card provider should be aware of any restrictions in place; including car category limitations, rental duration coverage and other varying rental factors, such as one vehicle rental per cardholder.
Should a claim become necessary, the renter’s credit card (if applicable) is liable for 100% of damages to and/or theft of the vehicle. Furthermore, it is also the customer’s responsibility to submit and follow through on the claim. The credit card company will reimburse the customer, so expect to pay upfront for any and all expenses. This is primarily why many customers (who already have credit card coverage) still opt for in-house CDW.
Full CDW (with zero deductible) is unavailable if there are drivers on the rental agreement between 18 to 20 years and the Basic CDW deductible is doubled ($1,500). Failure to list any driver (including those who are between 18 to 20 year old) nullifies insurance coverage, thus making the renter fully financially responsible for any and all damages.
Even though we’ve rewritten this page several times over the years and have tried to make it as simple as possible, the bottom line is it’s still insurance…but perhaps a knowledgeable and frequent poster’s view from TripAdvisor.com may help you see the main (monetary/hassle) differences more succinctly.
Basic Collision Damage Waiver (CDW for short) limits the liability due to vehicle damages and/or theft and includes the Mandatory TPL. Purchasing inhouse CDW coverage clears the renters from filing (and the follow-up of) a claim to recoup the upfront damages paid.
This extended coverage includes:
Current pricing for Basic Collision Damage Waiver:
Full Collision Damage Waiver (Full CDW for short) frees the renter from financial responsibility caused by accident, theft, or total loss, except in the case of negligence (see below).
This comprehensive coverage includes both of the above options (Basic CDW & TPL) and more.
Current pricing for Full Collision Damage Waiver:
Depending on the insurance option chosen, the deposit amounts placed on the renter’s credit card will vary.
In all cases, the credit card will not be charged until the renter picks up the vehicle. The charge will be refunded upon the vehicle’s safe return.
We accept most credit card rent-a-car protection plans. Many of these plans insure the rented vehicle against Damage and Theft (CDW), but may not protect against Third Party Liability (TPL).
Please ensure that your credit card CDW covers:
Since each underwriter features proprietary terms, we strongly suggest asking your credit card company for details about CDW in regards to their insurance protection plan for car rentals in Costa Rica. If you decide to use your credit card as the provider of CDW coverage, the deposit for the rented vehicle is $2,000.
Using an insurance program provided by some types of gold or platinum credit cards is an advantage since these credit cards often cover small scratches/dents as well as the entire rented vehicle in case of collision or theft.
Click the links for more info on VISA, MasterCard and American Express Rental Auto Protection Plans. However, we suggest calling the phone number on the back of your card and inquiring about the availability and respective terms and conditions that may apply.
Please note that credit cards companies only cover up to a seven (7) passenger Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) — which is the same capacity as the Premium cars — in their protection plans. Sidenote: To insure a Premium SUV with AmEx, one will need to purchase their "Premium Car Rental Protection".
Check out NerdWallet’s Credit Card Comparison for some great informational charts covering the car rental insurance programs from VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.
Due to more European flights landing in Costa Rica, we’re answering this question more and more.
"Do you accept [a third party]’s insurance in lieu of Third Party Liability (TPL) and/or your in-house Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)?"
The short answer is "No, we’re sorry," but it’s not because we want to push our insurance instead. We’re actually relived when clients want to use their own credit card program because if we cover them in-house, it’ll make our policy increase with each accident. No thank you.
But to answer the why more definitively, allow me to summarize the document on the Costa Rican Car Rental Association’s (ACAR) website.
Basically, third-party websites do not have a formal agreement with Costa Rican agencies.
The Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) will be void and the renter will be held 100% responsible for all damages (mechanical/electrical, interior, exterior and underside) caused to the vehicle if: