Information you need to know if you are considering renting a car in Mexico. Renting a car always gives you the freedom of traveling at your own pace and not have to go when the tours tells you to.  Driving in Mexico is pretty safe but please follow this:

1.       Use only highways to travel between cities.

2.       Avoid driving on a highway at night.

3.       Do not use your cell phone when driving.

To see distance and highway info go to: http://aplicaciones4.sct.gob.mx/sibua... distances in Kms (1 mile is 1.609 Kms). You will also get estimated times and toll costs. 

Now days renting a car in Mexico is cheaper than in most countries including the USA. The best way to go is to do a rate shop in one of the OTAs (On-line Travel Agency) like Orbitz, Travelocity etc. You will see that prices in general are very cheap and you will even find many company’s quoting a 1 digit price.

Most companies will force you to take Insurance (except, perhaps, Avis). What they do is tell you that if you do not take their insurance they will put a hold (block) your credit card for up to the total value of the card, so if you have a credit card that can take a $12,000 USD minimum block you may decline. If not, you will need to provide written proof that you are covered in Mexico or pay the coverage.  Even if your credit card can accept such a hold, some companies such as Hertz will refuse to provide a vehicle at the rate quoted on-line by Hertz.com unless you agree to purchase a higher level of liability insurance.  Hertz agents will lie and tell you that the quoted rate come with no liability insurance and that to drive the vehicle without such insurance would be illegal.  In fact, according to Customer Services of the Hertz Corporation, all their rentals in Mexico come with a liabilty base coverage of US$35,000.

Insurance sold by OTAs is not accepted in Mexico. If you think your credit card covers you make sure they do in Mexico most credit card do not cover in Mexico. Also credit cards may not cover SUV, Minivans or Premium and Luxury cars.  Even if your card covers you in Mexico you will be charged for all damage and when you get home you need to claim the CC.

CAR RENTAL TERMS, ABBREVIATIONS AND WHAT THEY STAND FOR

LDW: LOSS DAMAGE WAIVER- It is not insurance. It waives the renter for any responsibility due to loss or damage to the rented car. In the USA it covers everything no matter if it is total or partial theft ex. Hubcap, glass, and tires. In Mexico you will find companies like Hertz using this term but not giving you 0% deductible or partial theft. Only Avis may offer it in the same terms as they do in the USA.

CDW: COLLISION DAMAGE WAIVER- It is not insurance and reduces the responsibility of the rented car to a specific amount or %. Doesn’t include partial theft, Glass or tires.

SLI-ALI: SUPLEMENTAL LIABILITY INSURANCE OR ADITIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE: It extends the basic liability (in most companies basic liability is free) to an amount several times higher than basic. The amount changes from company to company.

PAI: Personal accident insurance: It covers the driver and passengers of medical expenses and loss of life and permanent damage. (Most people are covered with this so check out if your personal insurance covers you in Mexico or if you payed for insurance for your trip covers you)

PEP. PERSONAL EFECTS PROTECTION: NO company offers this coverage in Mexico.

Also check what kind of car you are going to get because there is no rules about what car is an Economy, Mid-Size or any other.

For Hertz a Chrysler 200 is a Premium. For Avis a Premium is a Volvo S60. Nothing to do one with the other.

If you are going to rent a car for more than 3 or 4 days you can go to the company web and make the reservation for an off airport location. Most times you will save a good amount of money because they will not charge you the Airport Fee. Just see how much the Taxi is going to charge and compare it to the Airport Fee. You should be able to return the car at the airport with no extra charge.

Hopefully this will help you decide if you want to rent a car in Mexico and help you find the best company.

Those who have experience in renting cars in Cabo san Lucas will have noticed a significant cost increase over the last couple of years: from about $425 to almost $800 at Dollar. 

This year things were different. While in the past gouging on insurance on top of the amazingly cheap car rental rates was the norm, this year the insurance rates were exorbitant. The agent can be negotiated down a little, but not much. The timeshare hawkers will try to get set up a presentation for a lower car cost.

Beware of car quality: check for scrapeshad lots of scrapes, bald tires, trunk and car interior...