Mexico Rental Car Insurance 

Karl asks:

Regarding Mexico rental car insurance - do you have suggestions or concerns I should be aware of? I'm going to Cancun, Mexico later this month and will want to rent a car that holds 6 people.

My Response: 

It is very, very important that you know what to look for before choosing a vehicle, and also very important to be prepared in advance of renting a car in Mexico, so that there 

are no surprises about  insurance; a Mexican rental can be confusing with regards to insurance. You should first be familiar with Car Rental Insurance Basics.

But then you have to do more research:

The policies surrounding car insurance for a rental in Mexico vary by company, sometimes by city and sometimes by vehicle type.

|Here's some  

Basics About Mexico Car Rental Insurance

that you should be aware of:

In Mexico, it is required by law that rental car liability insurance be included in the rate of all car rentals.

Some companies list it as an extra charge, and make it mandatory. The cost for Mexican rental car insurance can vary from company to company.

Some car rental companies include Mexico liability insurance in the base rate of the car --- It's important to know which way the company does this, in order to effectively compare prices. You need to compare bottom line prices or totals; not just the base daily rate.

Read more about Car Rental Liability Insurance

While liability insurance covers other property, persons and vehicles in case of accident, it does not cover the rental vehicle itself. That requires separate coverage, usually called damage waivers, collision damage waivers, loss damage waivers, and also theft protection.

You are fully, financially responsible for the full price of the rental car, in the event of damage, loss or theft.

You may, of course, purchase damage waivers from the car rental companies. Because it is so expensive to do so, most people look first to see if they're covered by 1) their own personal automobile insurance or 2)their credit card.

Read more about CDW and LDW Coverages

Your own personal auto insurance policy may offer you damage coverage in a rental car, BUT may not be valid in Mexico. (Chances are good that it DOES NOT cover you when you rent a car in Mexico). When doing your research for Mexico rental car insurance, you should contact your personal automobile insurance provider to check to see if your policy covers you for damage to a rental car in Mexico.

Read more about Personal Auto Insurance Coverage

Make sure that you're clear that you're renting a car in Mexico, not taking a rental car from the US into Mexico. Make sure to ask about any coverage limitations and request information about the terms and conditions of coverage (if they offer it all)... especially with regards to the city of rental, the length of the rental, the type of vehicle you're rentingl, does it cover theft, tires,windsheild, etc.

Many people assume that their credit card covers them for damage in a rental car. This may not apply to car insurance on a Mexican rental. If you're considering using the coverage that comes with your credit card, instead of buying coverage from the rental car company, first get a current copy of your cardholder agreement and find the paragraph(s) that talk about rental car coverage, particulary coverage in other countries and in particular any information and/or restrictions regarding Mexico rental car insurance. Take the agreement with you to the rental counter.

Call a representative to confirm the coverage. Get that rep's name, and write down the date and time of your call. Ask him/her specifically which portion of the cardholder agreement covers rental car insurance in Mexico. If possible, ask them to send you information by fax or email. This is to cover yourself in case there is a dispute later.

Read more about Credit Card Coverages

If you feel that you are covered for the Mexico rental car insurance through either your own insurance or a creditcard, and decide that you will not purchase damage waiver coverage from the car rental company, first, be aware that:

If you decline the Loss Damage waiver at the rental counter, when renting a car in Mexico, you may have to prove that you can be financially responsible for the vehicle - this may involve the car rental company holding a large deposit (like $5000 or more, sometimes even the value of the vehicle) on your credit card until the vehicle is returned.

Even if you do decide to purchase Mexico rental car insurance from the car rental company, make sure that any terms and conditions, restrictions and limitations are made clear.

For example:

Check to see what any Mexican rental car insurance coverage that you may purchase includes. Find out if it covers stolen or damaged equipment (tires, gas cap, car jack, radio, side mirrors, etc.)

Find out if there is a deductible when you purchase CDW or Theft protection coverage.

Most of this information you can find out, just by getting a rate quote from a car rental company's website.

When looking at a rate quote on a car rental company website, check under any link that states "terms and conditions of rental" , "Important information about your rental", "Terms of Rental", etc. This link will usually provide information about the specific policies of the company and/or the particular location that you're renting from.

Even if you book the rental car online, I recommend calling their toll free reservation line as well, and speaking to a res agent who can provide you with all the information you request regardin Mexico rental car insurance

*Note: Car rental companies can modify policy at any time; I make every attempt to maintain up-to-date info, but always check with an individual company to verify any policy. See: Disclaimer

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