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Sticky - Tips for renting cars and driving in Mexico & questions about renting/driving

easyrider

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As of April 2010 AVIS continues to be the best rate for a rental car with a costco code and coupon. These are found on the costco website. AVIS still has the mandatory liability insurance included in the rate and the car can still be covered with visa cards that have rental car coverage.

If you buy AVIS LWD insurance you are still liable for $1500.00 - $3000.00 deductable depending on the car you rent. There is 0 deductable with your visa card that includes coverage.

The spouse as additional insured is not included anymore. Additional driver has to be added at the counter when you get there. $60.00 is the cost for any time period over 5 days.
 

Skinsfan1311

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I must reiterate the above :

I have been advised that your US car insurance (none of it) is not valid in Mexico. You must have Mexican 3rd party liability insurance or you will be escorted to a very undesirable location and possibly held until the liability issue is fully resolved. Some credit cards cover physical damage to the rental car but none cover your 3rd party liability, towing, medical, legal, etc.

....
I have rental insurance through AMEX. It's the premium protection, (the one that you pay for) and it's primary. I only pay when I rent, and it's a flat rate of $19.95 per rental period.


Here's what AMEX premium rental protection covers

Premium Car Rental Protection (PCRP) is insurance coverage offered to American Express® Cardmembers to help protect them and Passengers when the Cardmember uses an enrolled Card to pay for a Car Rental from a Rental Company. Coverage includes 1) reimbursement for damage to or theft of the Rental Auto and personal property, and 2) medical expenses and death and dismemberment benefits resulting from a Covered Accident. Coverage is worldwide except for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.

Enrollment is available to Consumer and Small Business Cardmembers residing in the 50 United States of America or the District of Columbia. Corporate Cardmembers are not eligible.

What the Plan Covers
The $100,000 coverage level with a premium of $24.95 covers:
Up to $100,000 of primary damage and theft coverage for the rental car.
• Up to $100,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.
• Up to $15,000 per person of excess coverage for Medical Expenses.
• Up to $5,000 per person of excess coverage for personal property, maximum of $10,000 for all. For Florida Residents, up to $15,000 per person of excess coverage for personal property, maximum of $25,000.

The $75,000 coverage level with a premium of $19.95 covers:
• Up to $75,000 of primary damage and theft coverage for the rental car.
• Up to $75,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.
• Up to $7,500 per person of excess coverage for Medical Expenses.
• Up to $2,500 per person of excess coverage for personal property, maximum of $5,000 for a
ll.

Are you saying that we still need Mexican 3rd party liability insurance?
 

easyrider

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The Amex card doesn't provide any third party liability and only covers the insured and the occupants of the vehicle while using the insured vehicle.

Third party liability liability is purchased by you, "the first party" . This is bought from the insurance company, "the second party. This policy is used to protect you from claims from another person known as the "third party".

The entire liability package includes :

1. civil liability, which protects you from injuries and damage to a third party

2. Bond and legal assistance in case you need to deal with the Authorities in a covered accident.

3. Travel assistance such as towing.

4. Medical expense for occupants.

Your credit card covers damage to the car with 0 deductible if you waive the rental car companies LWD or CDW. The credit card coverage is used for comprehensive and collision damage to the car.
 

Skinsfan1311

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I would follow PAMMEX's advice and not drive in Mexico unless absolutely necessary. My wife is Mexican, we lived in Mexico, I am fluent in Spanish, and worked in Mexico. We do not drive in Mexico period when vacationing there which we do quite frequently. It is not worth the potential problems which can be very serious. There are many types of cheap transportation in Mexico so it is not necessary to have your own car. Let somebody else drive and you can relax and not worry about it.

I have driven all over Mexico in the past but we would never consider it now.
This is the route that I'm taking

The Amex card doesn't provide any third party liability and only covers the insured and the occupants of the vehicle while using the insured vehicle.

Third party liability liability is purchased by you, "the first party" . This is bought from the insurance company, "the second party. This policy is used to protect you from claims from another person known as the "third party".

The entire liability package includes :

1. civil liability, which protects you from injuries and damage to a third party

2. Bond and legal assistance in case you need to deal with the Authorities in a covered accident.

3. Travel assistance such as towing.

4. Medical expense for occupants.

Your credit card covers damage to the car with 0 deductible if you waive the rental car companies LWD or CDW. The credit card coverage is used for comprehensive and collision damage to the car.
Thanks for the clarification.
 

easyrider

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Avis is not including the 3rd party liability insurance in Mexico anymore. The LWD decline option is to be discussed with the Avis store. Avis has had a very large increase of auto theft in recent years and is not accepting credit card insurance for the LWD at all of their locations. You would have to call the location to find out what their poicy is.

It could be that a person could get stuck with $12 for the 3rd party liability and $23.00 LDW per day plus the daily rental rate at Avis. Avis will put up to a $2000.00 hold on your card is you use your card for the LWD. It is also advised that you bring in documentation that your card does include auto coverage.

http://alloverbaja.com/
These local guys include all of the insrance in their rate.

http://dominicloscabos.com/

https://www.alamo.com/index.do?actio...0_off_weekends


Alamo will charge aprox $12 per day for 3rd party liability and does allow you to use your credit card for the LWD. Alamo will hold $1000.00 on your card if your card is used for insurance and also says that they would advise to bring in some documentation that your card includes auto coverage.
 

John Cummings

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I have rental insurance through AMEX. It's the premium protection, (the one that you pay for) and it's primary. I only pay when I rent, and it's a flat rate of $19.95 per rental period.


Here's what AMEX premium rental protection covers

Premium Car Rental Protection (PCRP) is insurance coverage offered to American Express® Cardmembers to help protect them and Passengers when the Cardmember uses an enrolled Card to pay for a Car Rental from a Rental Company. Coverage includes 1) reimbursement for damage to or theft of the Rental Auto and personal property, and 2) medical expenses and death and dismemberment benefits resulting from a Covered Accident. Coverage is worldwide except for vehicles rented in Australia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, and New Zealand.

Enrollment is available to Consumer and Small Business Cardmembers residing in the 50 United States of America or the District of Columbia. Corporate Cardmembers are not eligible.

What the Plan Covers
The $100,000 coverage level with a premium of $24.95 covers:
Up to $100,000 of primary damage and theft coverage for the rental car.
• Up to $100,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.
• Up to $15,000 per person of excess coverage for Medical Expenses.
• Up to $5,000 per person of excess coverage for personal property, maximum of $10,000 for all. For Florida Residents, up to $15,000 per person of excess coverage for personal property, maximum of $25,000.

The $75,000 coverage level with a premium of $19.95 covers:
• Up to $75,000 of primary damage and theft coverage for the rental car.
• Up to $75,000 of Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) coverage.
• Up to $7,500 per person of excess coverage for Medical Expenses.
• Up to $2,500 per person of excess coverage for personal property, maximum of $5,000 for a
ll.

Are you saying that we still need Mexican 3rd party liability insurance?
The answer is YES. Under Mexican law, you must have liability insurance from a Mexican company. Your Amex insurance is not valid in Mexico. It doesn't matter what your insurance pays if it is not from a Mexican Insurance company.
 

b2bailey

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Mexico Travel Planning [moved]

I'm posting this here in case there are people who have history with Mexico but aren't looking at that particular Board now.

I need to go to Acapulco on business. I would like to include another resort area, perhaps Puerto Vallarta. Is it unreasonable to consider driving there?

I tried to find a flight from ACA to Puerto Vallarta but i was hundreds of dollars.

Any suggestions?

Thank you, B.
 
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easyrider

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Do Not Rent a Car From "All Over Baja" in Cabo or San Jose. Their rental fleet has not been maintained and most of their cars are unreliable. Geraldo and David should be selling TS's.

Alamo is good.
 

Hikinjack

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Warning-Mazatlan Traffic Police Feb 2011

We have been staying at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay for the past two weeks, our fourth straight year to stay at PBEB. We rented an Avis car as we usually do. Last night I was pulled over by the "traffic police" for the second time in three days. It was a different police officer each night but they both said I was "speeding." Both nights I was in the slow lane driving WELL under the speed limit of 60 km/hr. We visit Mexico several times each year at different locations and we usually rent a car on each visit; this is the first time(s) I have ever been pulled over in Mexico. I have read the TUG blog on driving rental cars in Mexico and it was helpful, BUT the first night I was pulled over three days ago, I was so surprised that I complied with the officer's request for my driver's license and car registration. Unfortunately I do not speak spanish so the conversation was limited but he did make it clear that the fine was 800 pesos and to get my driver's license back I would have to pay the fine. I asked him to let us follow him to the police station to resolve the "ticket" but he said it was closed until Monday (this was a Friday night.) I told him that I didn't have that much money with me but I did show him that I had forty-two american dollars in my wallet. He said, "that was OK for right now" and he took the money, returned my license and sent me on my way. Last night I was keenly aware of driving under the speed limit but I was pulled over again. This time I did not give my license to the officer despite his persistence to take my license to write the ticket. Again I asked to go to the police station to deal with the "ticket," but he couldn't understand what I was asking him to do. I kept telling him "No hablo espanol," finally he gave up and told us to go. We reported these police stops to the PBEB manager when we returned to the hotel after the second stop. He said that he had another hotel guest report a similar experience earlier in the day but was able to get the police officer to follow the guest to the hotel so that "they could obtain the money to pay the fine." The guest went straight to the hotel manager who then intervened with the surprised police officer and got the matter resolved without a fine. These traffic stops are occurring along Sabalo Cerritos in the area of the El Cid marina, so beware.
All this is to say that there are definite problems with the "traffic police" in Mazatlan right now. These are the first problems I have had in over ten years of driving in Mexico. The TUG blog on driving rental cars in Mexico is very good and is "required" reading if you are casual visitors that like to drive down here. Again I would like to emphasis the following points from the Blog.
1) Drive the speed limit
2) Do not give the police officer your driver's license, you will pay to get it back. It is NOT required that you give them your license, this was confirmed by the hotel manager when we spoke with him. I am going to make a copy of my driver's license to carry if the officer wants it, but he will never get the original.
3) The hotel manager also told us to call the front desk of the hotel if we got pulled over again and they would send someone down to assist us. He also advised us to tell the officer to go ahead and give us the ticket and then bring it back to the hotel and they would assist us in dealing with the problem. But never give the officers money.
4) By repeating the phrase, No hablo espanol (I don't speak spanish), the officer finally gave up and sent us on our way. We didn't get a "ticket."

Hope this helps if you get snagged in that unfortunate situation!
 
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siesta

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now you've learned the hard way, and will be prepared for that in the future. Everyone renting a car in Mexico should read the do's and dont's first, it can save you some money and worry.
 

Hikinjack

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Follow up Mazatlan Police Feb 2011

We from are still in Mazatlan and received some follow up information from both the Avis car rental agency and from the Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay hotel manager regarding the Mazatlan traffic police harassment. The general manager of the hotel and the managers of Avis and Dollar car rentals went to the city mayor regarding the MULTIPLE recent reports of police harassment of rental car drivers. They were able to identify to offending officers (two) and they were fired from the police force. Apparently this was in response not only to the rental car debacle, but also to the recent cancellation of :) Mazatlan as a ports of call by several cruise lines due to recent violent incidents involving tourists and ship's crew. Reportly a large number (100) of new english speaking officers were hired in attempt to increase security of tourist in Mazatlan. Although you have to take the information with a grain of salt, hopefully this is true and the traffic police harassment will end. Last night driving back to the hotel from dinner we saw no traffic police on the road which is unlike the previous evenings. We are very impressed with the intervention of both the hotel management and the rental car agencies in solving this aggravating problem.
 
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Karen G

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Thanks for that follow-up.
 

Hercules325

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Mexico Newbie - Easy touring without a rental car?

We are frequent visitors to Hawaii and have never been to Mexico. Which of the following would be better to visit if we didn't rent a car?

- Cancun
- Cabo
- Puerto Vallarta

Thanks in advance.
 

Karen G

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The Los Cabos area consists of two towns--San Jose del Cabo where the airport is located and Cabo San Lucas, which is about 25 miles away--and the highway between the two towns known as the "corridor."

If you were to stay at one of the resorts within walking distance of the downtown/marina area of Cabo San Lucas, you could manage without a car. If you stayed on the corridor it would be better to have a car because taxis are expensive and the public bus service is not that great.

I've been to Cancun just once, staying at the Royal Caribbean, and we didn't need a car.

In PV, I think it would depend on where you stay, though I haven't spent a lot of time there. Hopefully others will post about PV.
 
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taffy19

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We are frequent visitors to Hawaii and have never been to Mexico. Which of the following would be better to visit if we didn't rent a car?

- Cancun
- Cabo
- Puerto Vallarta

Thanks in advance.
We have only been to Puerto and Nuevo Vallarta. The busses go to a lot of places and there is someone who speaks English and can tell you what bus to take or for a transfer too. The bus fares are very reasonable too. Many tourists ride the busses here.

There are many taxis too and reasonable for not too far away and not too expensive to and from the airport either to most resorts but some offer taxi rides free like to the Mayan Palace or the Velas Resorts and maybe others too.
 

Passepartout

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You can't equate Mexico with Hawaii. Special Mexican insurance is required for one thing. You may have noticed a language difference. The roads are generally not as well maintained. Gringos- that is- YOU are looked upon as a mark. That said, We get along fine without a car in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, Cancun, and Guadalajara. A car makes sightseeing to smaller places further afield easier, but for a first visit, you'll get along fine and feel like you got a complete experience without one.

If you get tempted to drive, be sure to read and understand the risks in a sticky at the top of the Mexico forum. We do and have driven in Mexico for years, but some extra cautions are necessary.

Jim Ricks
 

sally13

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Do not listen ...

to people who have NOT walked the walk!!

my advice??drive MEXICO!!

LIVE a bit wild...

We have rented a car in Cancun (EVERY) trip..

You will be at the mercy,of the third world ,if you adventure,without command of you own vehicle...you will miss a great deal of personel flexibility, if you like to come and go as you please...

Cancun has the BEST highway system in all of Mexico!!

A few tricks,to remember...1) slow down when you see the TOPAS sign!!.(.mexican ,speed bump!).... huge!...2)drive agressively,like you would in a big city..And 3)

also..carry,a $20....A $50....and a $100. dollar bill in your purse for bribes..

Its not a big deal in mexico, and in the UNLIKELY event ,you DO get pulled over..show the money ...(in increments)..say nothing...but NEVER give them your license!!!...(unless you do get into an accident...unlikely)...you have to remember..be nice ..but firm... it is always a negotiation!

also..get the max liabilty insurance..just in case..

Cars are cheap to rent in mexico...but U. S. insurance will not transfer..



P.Vallarta ???rent a taxi..too small of an area..

Riviera maya..Cancun area

is a huge playground ,with LOTS to see and DO!!...do not limit yourself!!
 
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timesharejunkie4

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We are frequent visitors to Hawaii and have never been to Mexico. Which of the following would be better to visit if we didn't rent a car?

- Cancun
- Cabo
- Puerto Vallarta

Thanks in advance.
Puerto Vallarta is definitely easier than Cabo without a car. The bus system in PV is easy, convenient and cheap. You can easily get from Punta de Mita (north) to Mismaloya (south) which is most of the Banderas Bay, one of the largest bays in the world. If I weren't going to have a car and wanted to spend a lot of time in PV, I would prefer to stay in PV as opposed to Nueva Vallarta for the convenience.
I can't compare the bus system of Cancun with that of PV but can say that I find it much easier to bus it in PV compared to the Riviera Maya area.
We now always rent a car in PV and Cabo and have never had problems but can't say the same for Riviera Maya. We were stopped 3 times in one week while in RM and it wasn't worth it.
 

ilene13

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car in Cancun

We have been going to Cancun and the Mayan Riviera 3 weeks a year for more than 20 years. We ALWAYS rent a car. As a previous poster stated the roads in that area are great. There are new highways that connect Cancun to Tulum, Xcaret, Chitzen Itza, etc. Carry small bills and make sure you follow the traffic laws--speed limits etc. You probably will not be stopped. If you have an American Express card and use it to rent the car it will cover all insurance except 3rd person liability--pay for that separately. If you do not rent a car --there is a decent public bus system and an abundance of cabs. From the Royal Resorts you can walk to many restaurants.

We went to Cabo about 4 years ago and we stayed at the Westin which is located on the corridor between Cabo San Lucas and Cabo San Jose. We did not rent a car--big mistake. Every cab ride cost us about $50 US.
 

siesta

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Which of the following would be better to visit if we didn't rent a car?

- Cancun
- Cabo
- Puerto Vallarta

Thanks in advance.
If you stay in Cancun (as opposed to playa/riviera maya area), there is a lot of action within walking and cheap taxi distance. In Cabo, if you stay near medano beach there is also a lot of action within walking or taxi distance by the marina area. For those two areas, a car is not necessary, but is definitely nice to have as they are great places to explore.
 

BoaterMike

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We are frequent visitors to Hawaii and have never been to Mexico. Which of the following would be better to visit if we didn't rent a car?
What kind of activities do you like? Are you planning to hang out at the beach most of the time with an occasional day trip? Or are you in to sightseeing, different beaches every day, different shops every day, etc?

Based on experience in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, I have no reservation or concern renting a car as other posters have stated. However we find that we do not need a car based on our activities. Public transportation cabs and transfer companies are readily available when needed. But we only schedule 1-2 day trips per week. Many resorts will have on-site rentals if you need a car just for one day.

Part of the answer is to determine what your plans might be for off site activities during your visit.

Mike
 

Phydeaux

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to people who have NOT walked the walk!!

my advice??drive MEXICO!!

LIVE a bit wild...

We have rented a car in Cancun (EVERY) trip..

You will be at the mercy,of the third world ,if you adventure,without command of you own vehicle...you will miss a great deal of personel flexibility, if you like to come and go as you please...

Cancun has the BEST highway system in all of Mexico!!

A few tricks,to remember...1) slow down when you see the TOPAS sign!!.(.mexican ,speed bump!).... huge!...2)drive agressively,like you would in a big city..And 3)

also..carry,a $20....A $50....and a $100. dollar bill in your purse for bribes..

Its not a big deal in mexico, and in the UNLIKELY event ,you DO get pulled over..show the money ...(in increments)..say nothing...but NEVER give them your license!!!...(unless you do get into an accident...unlikely)...you have to remember..be nice ..but firm... it is always a negotiation!

also..get the max liabilty insurance..just in case..

Cars are cheap to rent in mexico...but U. S. insurance will not transfer..



P.Vallarta ???rent a taxi..too small of an area..

Riviera maya..Cancun area

is a huge playground ,with LOTS to see and DO!!...do not limit yourself!!
=========================

For someone that claims to have walked the walk, with all due respect this is very poor advice.

Try this instead:

#1 Research la mordida, know what it is, and how not to become a victim. There are entire web sites devoted to this one topic alone.
#2 Buckle your seat belt
#3 Obey ALL traffic laws. One more time: OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS.
#4 Do not keep up with traffic, since 99.8% are speeding. **Here's where most people fail**
#5 Do not think you can blend in with local traffic, your rental car is a marked target and is easily spotted by policia **again, where people fail**
#6 Move all of you money to a money belt. Keep none in your wallet. This goes for your passengers also.
#7 Have a spotter with good eyesight in the front passenger seat helping you spot the ever changing speed limit signs. Obey all of them.
#8 Stay in the right lane at all times. You will be passed on your left like you're standing still. Pay no attention to them - they're locals. They're also gringos that haven't a clue, and you may see a few later up the road pulled over by the policia.
#9 If you followed # 1-8 above, you will not be pulled over, since gringos trying to blend in with traffic and thus speeding are so prevalent, they are easy pickins for the policia. Police DO NOT pull over someone that obeying all traffic laws.
#10 In the unlikely event that you are pulled over because you didn't follow these steps, or missed a speed limit change, DO NOT PAY A BRIBE TO THE OFFICER. Doing so is illegal, and you are then just as guilty paying a bribe as the officer is asking for one. You are also perpetuating the problem. Stand your ground, politely, and ask for the ticket. Or, ask the officer to take you to the police station to pay it. A that point, the office will undoubtedly let you go, and go for an easier target.
#11 Do not give the officer your license until you have written down his name and badge number. You can communicate these points easily enough even if you don't speak Spanish.
#12 When filling up, get out of the vehicle, check to see the pump has been zeroed out, then tell the attendant how much fuel you want. Watch the pump for the correct amount. Pay attention.
13. Find Articulo 152, print a copy and present it to the officer in the unlikely event you are pulled over.


These tips are from driving the area for over 17 years, and collected from my own research and experience. I have never been pulled over a single time, and firmly believe that those that claim they were pulled over "for no reason" are simply mistaken, missed the speed limit change, or unwilling to admit they made a mistake. Good luck, and do a little homework. It's nice to have the freedom of your own wheels.

Oh, and to answer the OP's question: Cancun certainly wouldn't require a car since the bus system is inexpensive, will get you to most anywhere and is frequent. Taxis are also everywhere. PV is spread out. Cabo, cn't comment - never been there.
 
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mikenk

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We travel a lot to Mexico; we never rent a car for a lot of reasons:
- We are on vacation, I want to think about what restaurants or places we want to go to - not how to get there or where to park.
- I never want to touch my bags after we clear customs until we are unpacking.
- I like to have taxi's pick me up at the lobby - not walk to my car.
- I find the taxi drivers fun to talk with and informative.

As for flexibility, we go where we want when we want, so it seems more flexible for us. The costs of taxis there just aren't that high to warrant any restrictions on our flexibility or to risk a problem.

Mike
 
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