The most asked question we get about traveling to Costa Rica besides itinerary help is car rental insurance because we have an exclusive discount with Adobe Rent a Car. One of the reasons why we chose to work with Adobe is how they operate regarding car rental insurance: they make it easy.
Now for those who are completely new at renting cars in Costa Rica, the insurance is the most confusing part because it works differently than Europe, Canada, US, etc. In this post, I’m going to break down how Adobe Rent a Car insurance works so you can better understand exactly what you’re paying for. You can read this post to see how several car rental companies’ insurance policy works and how they compare.
We visited the Adobe office to talk to one of their insurance experts to understand exactly how their insurance works in detail.
Adobe Rent a Car Insurance
Adobe has only two car rental insurance options which is very few compared to other companies like Enterprise and Economy. Adobe’s two car rental insurance options are simple for clients and there are absolutely NO hidden fees anywhere.
There is no “If you get insurance option 1, you pay for B, D, E, G and half of A and C. But if you pay the 4th insurance option, you don’t pay for B but you pay for A, C and a little bit of D with the option of 5 and 6” yadda yadda yadda. It’s simply option 1 or 2: LDW (loss damage waiver) or SPP (super protection plan) which I’ll talk about.
Car Protection LDW (Mandatory insurance)
The Car Protection is what most car rental companies call their mandatory insurance. The actual mandatory insurance in Costa Rica is called Marchamo which is more like a yearly property tax and covers a small portion of 3rd party damages. The insurance is called Responsibilidad Civil.
Car rental insurance companies create their own basic insurance to include the Marchamo since they can’t use just that insurance (slow and doesn’t cover very much) and they all use different names. For Adobe, this is called the Car Protection..
What it covers:
- Coverage up to $20,000 in 3rd party damages, vehicle damages and car theft.
- Has a $1000 deductible (average, depends on car). If you have an accident and your damage cost is $5000, you pay a $1000 deductible.
This insurance costs from $13-25 a day depending on the vehicle and requires a $1000 deposit.
Total Protection (Super protection plan)
The second option, the Total Protection is 100% optional. The Adobe representative will ask you once if you wish to get Total Protection but you are completely free to decline it and they won’t push it.
The Total Protection goes with the Car Protection and it covers:
- 100% of damages including 3rd party up to $5 million
- You have a $0 deductible
The SPP costs around $17 a day extra and still has a $1000 deposit. It increases your liability insurance and covers towing, road assistance and vandalism.
Is Credit Card Insurance Accepted?
The big question we always get is if Adobe accepts credit card insurance. For clients, it’s easy to think “Why should I pay Costa Rican car rental insurance if my credit card offers it already?”
I’ll break down the pros and cons of declining Costa Rican car rental insurance since it’s not black and white. There are many other factors you need to take in consideration if you want to decline the mandatory insurance for your car rental.
Knowledge of the country and off road coverage
Your credit card company doesn’t work in Costa Rica and it is not familiar with Costa Rican laws. They don’t know the country and a big part of that are the roads. Roads in Costa Rica are known for their not so great condition with more unpaved roads than paved. Even touristic destinations such as Arenal and Jaco have unpaved roads and even paved roads have huge pot holes. Credit card companies don’t know the conditions of every route and they aren’t familiar with the roads.
Off road coverage is usually not covered by credit cards. And if they are, very select few vehicles are under that coverage (for example trucks are not covered).
So if you accidentally damage the car because you drove on gravel roads to get to your hotel in Uvita, you’re not covered under your credit card. But if you accept the Car Protection insurance, you are covered with a $1000 deductible. If you accidentally spin out due to the unpaved road and hit someone else, you’re covered with Adobe’s Car Protection insurance up to $20,000 in damages. But if you decline the insurance, you are fully responsible.
And that brings me to the next point.
Coverage extends only to the rented vehicle
If you get in an accident, your credit card insurance only covers your rented vehicle, not 3rd party damages. You are responsible for the full value of the rented car. If you have Adobe’s Car Protection or Total Protection, you’re covered up to $5 million if someone gets injured or killed and $100,000 in damages but if you use your credit card insurance, none of that coverage applies.
You still need to pay a liability fee
If you decline Costa Rica car rental insurance and use your credit card insurance, you still need to pay a liability fee which every car rental company will charge. Every car rental company, Economy, Enterprise, Alamo, Budget, whoever, will charge this fee. This fee can cost even more than the Car Protection so when it comes down to it, you’re paying to decline a fee that you’re trying not to pay.
A bigger deposit is necessary
If you decline Costa Rican car rental insurance, you’re responsible for the full amount of the rented vehicle and if you don’t already know, cars in Costa Rica are very expensive. A 2017 Toyota Corolla in the United States starts at $18,500 and in Costa Rica, it starts at $27,700 so that’s quite a big difference you need to be responsible for.
Instead of a $1000 deposit, you will have to put down $3000-$5000 which will be on hold for the entire length of your car rental. That’s a good chunk of money and for most people, may be a much bigger inconvenience compared to $1000.
This is why Adobe Rent a car insurance doesn’t accept credit card insurance. They want their clients to have peace of mind which doesn’t come easy when they use their credit card.
Peace of mind
Having Costa Rican car rental insurance gives you more peace of mind when it comes down to it. You are covered much more than credit card insurance, you have a company that is 100% Costa Rican (founded by Ticos, operated by Ticos) so they know exactly how the local laws work, how the roads are and all the formalities.
Yes you’re paying a daily fee, but you’re paying the mandatory fee to a company that has your back with more than 20+ years experience in the industry. Having a $5000 deposit on hold during your entire vacation doesn’t exactly give you peace of mind and Adobe has absolutely 0 hidden fees.
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I hope this posts clears up any questions you have any Adobe Rent a Car insurance including the credit card insurance. Don’t forget we have an exclusive offer with Adobe Rent a Car to give all Mytanfeet readers a 10-25% discount, free 2nd driver, cell phone and baby and booster seats as well as 33% off GPS. Get the discount here.
If you need more information about renting a car in Costa Rica, these posts has all you need to know.
We want to thank Adobe Rent a Car for taking the time to explain to us in detail about car rental insurance!