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rated:
Anyone ever rent a car in Mexico while on vacation? I've been reading up on it and there are either people saying it's easy and others saying it's a nightmare. Seems like there are a lot of scams out there to take advantage of tourists. 
From what I read, people advise taking video of literally every angle of the car, inside and out (and underneath). Most of the issues are the companies trying to get you on damages that were already there. 
Besides that, any suggestions?

 

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rated:
Ok, I've done it a few times (down in Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, etc - not border towns) and here's the 'scam' : insurance.
They price the cars ridiculously cheap on the rental sites (Expedia and all the rental agency sites), like $15 a day or something silly like that, but never give you a clue that the crazy expense comes in the form of non-optional automobile insurance. It's like $50 per day or something insane like that. And no you can't opt out because you have full coverage insurance on your car back home (because that's not accepted), and no your Gold Visa card's auto insurance rider isn't acceptable either (because 'reasons'). So you walk in expecting to pay $100 for a week for a cheapo beater, and end up paying $500 for a week in a cheapo beater.

And in Mexico if you (as a foreigner) get into a car wreck without the appropriate kind of insurance, you go to jail and stay in a Mexican jail until someone else fixes it for you.

So yes - when you're calculating the real cost of renting a car in MX, realize you're going to spend the close to $75 per day (including rental, insurance, gas). And take a LOT of pictures of the car before you accept it, document every little ding / mark / inside and out. And drive extremely conservatively while you are there. Don't tailgate, etc. It's great to have the kind of freedom on vacation to be able to up and go, but with that freedom comes a pricetag and some responsibility. Most of my trips, in retrospect, would have been better served just calling a taxi whenever I needed.

rated:
In addition to what was said above, they charged us a deposit of like $1800 for a rental even with the cheap rate and the insurance. This was an "SUV" (quotations earned as you can barely fit two large bags and a carry on on the back).

So make sure to take a large credit limit card that you are no planning to use for daily expenses over there.

rated:
I would suggest spending some time on the tripadvisor forums. We found a really good and high recommend local car rental place in cabo that gave us and all-in price. The car was in good shape and the AC worked perfectly. There are plenty of guides on that site that will keep you from getting ripped off too much

rated:
Chase Sapphire Preferred offers car insurance coverage in Mexico when rental is charged to the card, coverage is refused. We rented a car online, used the price to negotiate a better deal with the agents in the Cabo airport baggage claim area; if my memory serves, National counter gave us the best price, YMMV.

rated:
tante said:   I would suggest spending some time on the tripadvisor forums. We found a really good and high recommend local car rental place in cabo that gave us and all-in price. The car was in good shape and the AC worked perfectly. There are plenty of guides on that site that will keep you from getting ripped off too much
  
Suggestion isn't bad at all. There he can get some good ideas about renting a car in Maxico. Good luck!

rated:
shank said:   Chase Sapphire Preferred offers car insurance coverage in Mexico when rental is charged to the card, coverage is refused. We rented a car online, used the price to negotiate a better deal with the agents in the Cabo airport baggage claim area; if my memory serves, National counter gave us the best price, YMMV.
  
That's a good idea in most countries, but Mexico requires domestic liability insurance for all drivers. The coverage provided by Chase Sapphire (and others, even when primary) covers YOUR rental vehicle and costs associated with it, but provides no liability coverage that I'm aware of (and I've used its rental car coverage extensively in countries requiring payment for LDW).

AAA (and other companies) allow you to buy a liability (of full) policy online and print out insurance policy. If you can print a policy once you're in country and know what vehicle you're getting, likely the most cost effective option (was under $10/day if memory serves).

 

rated:
jarfykk said:   
shank said:   Chase Sapphire Preferred offers car insurance coverage in Mexico when rental is charged to the card, coverage is refused. We rented a car online, used the price to negotiate a better deal with the agents in the Cabo airport baggage claim area; if my memory serves, National counter gave us the best price, YMMV.
  
That's a good idea in most countries, but Mexico requires domestic liability insurance for all drivers. The coverage provided by Chase Sapphire (and others, even when primary) covers YOUR rental vehicle and costs associated with it, but provides no liability coverage that I'm aware of (and I've used its rental car coverage extensively in countries requiring payment for LDW).

AAA (and other companies) allow you to buy a liability (of full) policy online and print out insurance policy. If you can print a policy once you're in country and know what vehicle you're getting, likely the most cost effective option (was under $10/day if memory serves).

 

  Suggest you call CSP car rental insurance provider. They will walk you through the language that confirms using their credit card for car rentals in Mexico, denying all coverage INCLUDES liability coverage. I printed out the details, brought it with me, showed it to the card rental agent in Cabo.

rated:
https://www.chasebenefits.com/sapphirepreferredVW17

Perhaps your card benefits differ from mine, but I've had lengthy discussions with both Chase and Visa as well as their separate benefit administrator for the Sapphire Preferred rental car coverage. If you go to above link and read the PDF, it specifically lists, among other things as "What else is not covered?" to be:

* Injury of anyone or anything inside or outside of the vehicle
* Personal liability

I had a similar discussion as yours for Mexico (and Ireland, and New Zealand, and several others) with their benefit administrator who are awesome about providing a nice PDF or printed letter showing that you have sufficient coverage to waive the mandatory rental car insurance in most cases. That's one of best features of the CSP. However, after I read the stuff they sent for Mexico and reading over what is required by law for liability coverage in Mexico, it was not sufficient. Read the travel section of the first link, and the nice FAQ that the auto club provides on the topic, specifically "The only coverage recognized by the Mexican government are policies issued through an insurance company based in Mexico."

I'm confident one could convince a rental car counter that they had sufficient coverage through CSP and get the keys and drive away. I am not confident one would be sufficiently covered in this case if an accident occurred (so when I travel there I purchase a liability policy from a Mexican insurance provider and use the CSP card's loss-damage-waiver to coverage the vehicle itself).

https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/mexico.htm...
http://www.calif.aaa.com/home/insurance/specialty-insurance/mexi...

rated:
Based on comments from jarfykk above, I decided to do some further research for my upcoming trip to Cabo, will post results as they become available.

One interesting tidbit so far:
http://www.sfgate.com/mexico/mexicomix/article/Renting-a-car-in-...

"...Basic personal liability: Sometimes called third-party liability insurance, this is the one, incontrovertibly mandatory insurance. It covers claims for injury or damage you cause to another driver, car or other property damaged in an accident, but it does not cover injury to you or damage to the rented vehicle. Mexico does not accept liability coverage from U.S. auto policies or credit card insurance. You simply cannot rent a car without buying Mexican liability insurance. But here's what most renters don't know: By law, the mandatory liability insurance is already included in the rental price. Cost: Included in rental rate..."

rated:
Dell4600 said:   Ok, I've done it a few times (down in Cabo San Lucas, Cozumel, etc - not border towns) and here's the 'scam' : insurance.
They price the cars ridiculously cheap on the rental sites (Expedia and all the rental agency sites), like $15 a day or something silly like that, but never give you a clue that the crazy expense comes in the form of non-optional automobile insurance. It's like $50 per day or something insane like that. And no you can't opt out because you have full coverage insurance on your car back home (because that's not accepted), and no your Gold Visa card's auto insurance rider isn't acceptable either (because 'reasons'). So you walk in expecting to pay $100 for a week for a cheapo beater, and end up paying $500 for a week in a cheapo beater.

And in Mexico if you (as a foreigner) get into a car wreck without the appropriate kind of insurance, you go to jail and stay in a Mexican jail until someone else fixes it for you.

So yes - when you're calculating the real cost of renting a car in MX, realize you're going to spend the close to $75 per day (including rental, insurance, gas). And take a LOT of pictures of the car before you accept it, document every little ding / mark / inside and out. And drive extremely conservatively while you are there. Don't tailgate, etc. It's great to have the kind of freedom on vacation to be able to up and go, but with that freedom comes a pricetag and some responsibility. Most of my trips, in retrospect, would have been better served just calling a taxi whenever I needed.

  

I can vouch for this.  When traveling to Cancun I booked a rental car for an absurd low rate -  Less than $10 per day including airport fees, taxes, etc. I did thorough research before going. G.eico confirmed our policy would cover us while renting cars in Mexico.  Concerning the mandatory Gov't insurance, I found on the rental car company's own site which states the mandatory insurance is included in the rental price.  - Upon arrival, the agents could care less about any of that.  You have two choices:  Pay an extra $30 per day for insurance.  or:  Don't rent.****

We thought it "Would be nice" to have a car for that price, but had planned for the circumstance of it being "Too good to be true."   We had the Rental Car shuttle take us back to the airport, and we waited for our shuttle to pick us up to take us to our first nights accommodation.  -  We had booked our first night at an airport hotel using points to save paying $200 for an extra "all-inclusive" day at the resort.  ( If you arrive at your hotel at like 9-10 PM how much value can you really get out of all-inclusive for that day?  We use that first night to 'rest' from our travels.)  Come to find out that first night also saved us on Taxis.  Like most places the Cancun airport charges a fee for taxis to pickup there, and that makes taxis significantly higher.  Taxi was affordable from our airport hotel to the Hotel Zone.  (We changed our money into pesos at the hotel, as taxis charge a premium to accept dollars.)  -  Then taxis are reasonable taking you to the airport from the Hotel Zone.  (The fee is only charged for PICKUP at the airport.)  - While at the hotel Zone, buses run pretty much 24/7 and are cheap.  We got a Taxi once and it was like $10.  Our total for Taxis was like $50-$60  compared to $350 for a car rental.****



***  FYI , In the US , I frequently rent cars from companies like  Fox, Economy, etc.  I.E.  The ones with horrible google reviews such as "these guys treat you like dirt."  "Expect to leave here hating your life.",  etc.  I've never had an issue with any of these companies.

FYI 2.  On our week, we found it was about $200 cheaper (each) to fly home on a Tuesday than a Sunday.  -  This covered us staying in Cancun for another 2 nights.  -  So essentially, our last 2 days in Cancun was free!

**** (FYI the rental car company was willing to negotiate to some extent.  - I don't recall the details because I had no interest in paying much more than the price I had reserved at.)

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