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Car Rental in Panama

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Toronto, Canada
posts: 1,028
reviews: 96
Car Rental in Panama

When I rent a car in Canada or the US, I don't purchase the optional insurance because my credit card covers it. When I've rented one in Mexico though, I've bought the insurance because I understand we could have problems with the insurance through the credit card company. What's the situation in Panama? Buy extra insurance or not? We're considering renting a car when we visit Boquete next February.

Thanks,

Susan

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 78
1. Re: Car Rental in Panama

It will be cheaper to take taxi's to everywhere near Boquete. There are many required insurance fees that make renting a car very pricey in Panama-more than $18.00 a day extra. It is our biggest expenditure when we go for a month or so to stay at our home in Coronado. Taxi's are cheap and are abundant in the Boquete, most of Panama populated areas, and wil never total up to what you would pay for a rental car.

Madison, Wisconsin
posts: 83
reviews: 95
2. Re: Car Rental in Panama

I called our credit card (trip coming up in October). The person specifically looked up Panama and told us that we are covered for LDW/CDW in Panama and gave us the number to call if we needed to contact the card services while there. You could call your credit card company and ask for their policy.

Toronto, Canada
posts: 1,028
reviews: 96
3. Re: Car Rental in Panama

We rarely rent cars out of the country, but I do like the idea of flexibility this time around. We are thinking of staying at Tinamou Cottage, which isn't in Boquete itself - I'm not sure how easy it would be to catch a taxi there when we want to leave.

I'll check with my credit card company re the additional insurance.

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 78
4. Re: Car Rental in Panama

Kate, if you speak Spanish, do definitely try getting the car without the mandatory insurance. When we rented, we would NOT have been allowed to take the car without first agreeing in writing that we would take the coverage. We tried to dispute it on AMEX and we lost. So what kind of a credit card do you have? and please let me know if it works when you return. Like I said, they would not let us rent without signing we would agree to it. Make sure if you call the credit card company number you were given while at the rental car place, that someone at the credit card place speaks Spanish or you will have no luck even explaining what you're trying to do to the car rental agency. "The person specifically looked up Panama and told us that we are covered for LDW/CDW in Panama"...are you sure it wasn't Panama City in the U.S. they looked up?

We loved Boquete Garden Inn, see my review.

Indianapolis
posts: 117
reviews: 111
5. Re: Car Rental in Panama

You are required to purchase insurance for car rental in Mexico, but not in Panama- despite what the rental agents try to tell you. All of my mastercard and visa cards have covered me. To double check, call your credit card company. They will ask what country you are visiting because there are some countries in which they will not cover you.

Back to the agents at the car rental agency-- I showed the agent my copy of the MasterCard rental agreement and explained it in Spanish. They knew that I understood 'the game', so they printed off the sheet for me to sign that stated I was waiving what would be equal to CDW. Remember, they make a lot of money off of the extra insurance and they will try their best to sell it. If you don't waive their insurance, your CC company will NOT reimburse you. My fear was that the CC company would not follow through in the event of an incident. However, I have a friend who had an incident in France and her VISA payed out. So, that made me feel better about relying on MasterCard. You will be required, by Panamanian law, to get the Personal Liability Insurance (if I remember correctly. There is one that is required.) However, it is not very expensive.

Another tip- reserve your car in the United States as it will be cheaper. Even if you use the same chain! For example I booked thru National in the U.S. on their U.S. website, not the nationalpanama.com.pa site... it was about $70 cheaper. Also, by completing this reservation on the internet the first time I rented, I learned another lesson. Call the car company in Panama and check to make sure they have received the reservation. They had not received my reservation the first time. Luckily, I had my paperwork with the fee listed. So, they used that and entered all the information. If you don't speak Spanish you may be able to call the U.S. reservation line to make sure they take the responsibility to inform the Panamanian office.

It may seem like a hassle, but I like the freedom of having a car... Such is our culture in the U.S.! But, public transporation is great in Panama. And cheap!

Have a great trip! oh.. and have fun driving in Panama city if you are picking up your car there!!!!!!! :-) be careful!

Toronto, Canada
posts: 1,028
reviews: 96
6. Re: Car Rental in Panama

Thanks. Actually if we do end up renting a car (and I think we will), it would only be for the days that we're in the Boquete area. I'll definitely check with my credit card company and if we do go for it, I'll rent it here in Canada. Thanks again.

Panama City, Panama
posts: 5,790
reviews: 78
7. Re: Car Rental in Panama

I don't think you are understanding. Over the years at the rental car place, if we didn't sign for the insurance, NO CAR would have been rented to us. Spanish, no Spanish, credit card stating we didn't need it, etc. We would not have been allowed the car period, if we did not agree. This was not just one time, but over years, the most recent in June this year. What then?

Toronto, Canada
posts: 1,028
reviews: 96
8. Re: Car Rental in Panama

LN, it sounds as though the previous poster has been able to rent cars without the additional insurance. Whether we'd be able to do the same is debatable! So I'll be prepared either way - it would only be for 3 or 4 days so it won't break the bank either way.

Indianapolis
posts: 117
reviews: 111
9. Re: Car Rental in Panama

LN, could you please tell me what agency(ies) you use? It sounds like they might be a headache. When I do a price comparison in the future I may want to avoid it(them). thanks!

Panama City, Panama
Destination Expert
for Panama
posts: 1,949
10. Re: Car Rental in Panama

There are two mandatory insurance covers that need to be paid for no matter what - all the companies are the same as this is a government regulation and they are:

# Collision Damage and Theft Waiver (CDW – LDW)

# Damages to Third Parties or Civil Responsibility (DTC – SLI)

No way around it and that's probably what was the issue for no being allowed to rent a car without it.

Now I was just looking on my rate sheet from Budget and they do have a Decline CDW option but it costs you $12.00 a day - the same as taking the CDW coverage!!! The mandatory covers are $18.00 a day on top of the rental fee (cars, SUV's are more).

The other coverages are optional and they will make you sign and initial in all sorts of places if you don't want them, they include:

# Personal Accident and Death Coverage (PAI)

# Change or Exoneration of the Deductible (RD)

# Windshield and Tire Coverage (CLP – WTC)

Hope this helps,

Andrew