Rental Insurance Explained


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 five options of automobile insurance protection which are offered during your reservation process.

1.  Third Party Waiver (SLI) — Mandatory

The Third Party Waiver (also called Supplemental Liability Insurance or SLI for short) protects renters against liabilities resulting from injuries to bystanders and damages to third party property.

SLI covers:

  1. personal injuries of individuals outside the rented vehicle of up to ₡150 million or about $280,000 (at approximately ₡536 Colones per $1.00 USD), and
  2. damages to third party property to a maximum of $280,000 with a twenty percent (20%) deductible.

SLI coverage is mandatory in Costa Rica and, if alternate coverage cannot be validated, acceptance of SLI will be a condition of rental.  SLI is offered at $11.95 per day.  Return To Contents

2.  Full Third Party Waiver (Full SLI) — Optional

Vamos offers a Full Third Party Waiver which covers the remaining twenty percent (20%) deductible for third party property damage.  The charge for this is an additional $3.00 per day, for a total charge of $14.95 ($11.95 + $3.00) per day.  Return To Contents

Additional Insurance Needs Explained

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 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 Coverage, the renter must show official, written proof of credit card CDW coverage prior to the start of the rental.  This must also include the specific card number and customer’s name.

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.

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.

In the absence of proof of credit card coverage, or absence of an official written proof of alternate CDW coverage, the vehicle cannot be rented without in-house CDW.

Zero deductible CDW is unavailable if there are drivers on the rental agreement between 18 to 21 years and the Basic CDW deductible is doubled ($1,950).  Failure to list any driver (including those who are between 18 to 21 year old) nullifies insurance coverage, thus making the renter fully financially responsible for any and all damages  Return To Contents

3.  Basic CDW — Optional

Basic CDW limits the liability due to vehicle damages and/or theft with a $975 deductible, except in the case of negligence (see below).  The cost for this waiver is between $16.95 and $18.95 per day depending on make and model of rented vehicle and includes the $11.95 Third Party Waiver fee.  Return To Contents

4.  Extended Basic CDW — Optional

Extended Basic CDW limits the liability due to vehicle damages and/or theft with a deductible of $975, except in the case of negligence (see below).  This also includes the $3.00 Full Third Party Waiver (SLI) with a zero percent (0%) deductible and the $11.95 Third Party Waiver fee.  The cost for this waiver is between $19.95 and $21.95 per day depending on make and model of rented vehicle.  Return To Contents

5.  Full CDW — Optional

Full CDW frees the renter from financial responsibility caused by accident, theft, or total loss, except in the case of negligence (see below).  Full CDW increases the Basic CDW protection by eliminating the deductible and includes the $3.00 Full Third Party Waiver (SLI), the $11.95 Third Party Waiver fee, and the $3.00 Glass & Tire Protection.  The daily rate for this insurance is between $29.95 and $31.95 per day depending on make and model of rented vehicle.  Return To Contents

Glass & Tire Protection (G&T)

This additional assurance covers the windshield, windows, tires, and rims, which incidentally are not covered under any other waiver option, for a rate of $3.00 per day.  This choice is only available when the Full CDW option is selected and its rate is already included in that price.  Return To Contents

Rental Deposits

Depending on the insurance option chosen, the deposit amounts placed on the renter’s credit card will vary.

  • Third Party Waiver (SLI):  $2,000
  • Basic Collision Damage Waiver:  $750
  • Full Collision Damage Waiver:  $100

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.  Return To Contents

Credit Card Insurance Programs

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 (SLI).

Please ensure that your credit card CDW covers:

  1. your selected car class category (van, SUV, etc.)
  2. additional drivers
  3. rental period (some underwriters limit the number of rental days)
  4. restrictions on where the vehicle may be driven

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 Minivan — which is the same capacity as the Premium cars — in their protection plans.  To insure a twelve (12) passenger van, the renter must either choose Vamos’ Basic or Full CDW option.  Sidenote:  To insure a Premium SUV with AmEx, one will need to purchase their "Premium Car Rental Protection".

Check out Credit Cards & Rental Car Insurance for some great informational charts covering the rental car programs from VISA, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.  Return To Contents

Rental Car Insurance Invalidity

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:

  1. The driver is not authorized by Vamos Rent-A-Car to operate the vehicle.
  2. The driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal substances.
  3. The driver operates the vehicle contrary to the laws of Costa Rica.
  4. The driver does not provide an accident report from the local authorities.
  5. The vehicle undergoes misuse or negligence, such as, but not limited to:  hitting obstacles on the road, driving on roads in poor condition and/or driving in, through or over rivers, estuaries and beaches.


  1. CDW does NOT cover damage to tires, sound system, windows, roof rack, underside or interior of vehicle except in cases of collisions or theft of vehicle (as outlined above).
  2. CDW does not cover tow truck service or vehicle recovery in the case of an accident or overturning of the vehicle.  Return To Contents

This information is only a summary of the coverage offered.  Please consult the rental agreement for further details.  Upon request, our staff will gladly send you a copy.

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Ricardo Vargas

Webmaster at Vamos Rent-A-Car
Ricardo helps to simplify the complicated.  Insurance should be peace of mind, not anxiety.
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