|We highly recommend
We always purchase it when we rent a car. Yes, it does cost extra (about $50U.S. per day), but if you get into an accident, it will save you a lot of money, and a lot of hassle. Even if you don't have an accident, but you bring a car back with a minor flaw like a chipped windshield (read our story, below), you'll wish you had purchased the extra policy.
...With regular CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) insurance, you pay 10% of the car's value (not all policies, but this is a typical range). If your rental car cost $17,000U.S., you would be liable for $1,700U.S. out-of-pocket, should the car be stolen or damaged.
...Companies which we've found that offer full coverage are highlighted in green in the chart at right.
...Will the coverage you received with your credit card cover the deductible?
Check with your provider, but remember, you are in Mexico now! We never assume that something that works in the United States (or your country) will work in Mexico.
Make your mark at the rental office.
When you rent, you'll get a form similar to the one shown at right. It contains basic information like mileage, rental time, and gas level. It also has boxes to indicate that the car has working windshield wipers, seat belts, mirrors, etc.
...The most important part of this checklist for you is the area where you mark existing damage on the vehicle. Every car that we've rented has been full of dents, scratches, chips, tears, stains, etc.
....There must not be a problem with companies trying to blame you for scratches and tiny dents that may have already been on the car. At least we haven't heard any complaints about it. Even so, we think you should be very thorough when marking problems with the car.
...At right is a checklist that you can print and take with you. It will help you to slow down and really take a look at the vehicle. Of course, if you see anything wrong, you'll still need to mark it on their inspection sheet. Just click on the image to open it full-sized, in its own window, then print.
...Don't be shy about pointing out imperfections. We've even written things on the inspection sheet like "small dents and scratches everywhere."
...Most companies will send the car out without filling the tank. If it goes out near empty, you're supposed to return it at the same spot. If it goes out 3/4 full, you are expected to return it 3/4 full.
Ask about the license plates.
In Mexico, if you park illegally, the police will remove a license plate. You'll have to go to the police station and pay a fine to get your plate back. If you return a car with a missing plate, the rental company will charge you a fee for the inconvenience of tracking it down. Lately, we've noticed that some rental cars don't have plates, but only have a paper license taped to the back window.
...Ask your rental agent about this. And, if your car has only one license plate, definitely make a note of it on the inspection sheet.