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

Colorado Belle

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I rented from Avis in PV. I lightly bumped a car in front of me on one of the topas...his car was very old and beat up and he was very young. He tried to persuade me to pay him money so that we wouldn't involve the police, but I said oh no, lets call the police and I called Avis.

Avis was there within 20 minutes and took care of the problem. I paid about $90 for a small dent in my car bumper (from his license plate I think)

It is true that in this case there was no injury or real damage, but I do feel glad that I had an Avis rental and they were true to their word about being there for me. (Just sayin')
 

easyrider

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It looks like the 3rd party liability is provided by all major rental car companies in Mexico now to conform with Mexican Laws.

Thrifty says that you can waive all of the insurance they sell but that they will place a $5000 hold on your credit card. So if your using an AMEX card with enhanced auto protection it looks like your more than good to go.
 

easyrider

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International Drivers License -- AAA

A person with a valid driver license can go to an AAA ( tripple A auto club ) and as a non-member pay $25.00 for an international drivers license. So if you do get pulled over you would not have to worry about losing your state drivers license.

This type of license is valid in many countries including Mexico.
 

Passepartout

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A person with a valid driver license can go to an AAA ( tripple A auto club ) and as a non-member pay $25.00 for an international drivers license. So if you do get pulled over you would not have to worry about losing your state drivers license.

This type of license is valid in many countries including Mexico.
One CAN do this, but it's virtually always unnecessary (for driving or renting a car). All an IDL is is a translation of the information contained on your state issued DL into a variety of languages. If your DL is 'lost' (read:revoked) by a law enforcement agency, whether or not you are still in physical possession of your state issued DL is moot. It's validity is revoked. it's kaput. No good. If you read the fine print on that AAA issued IDL, it says in effect- not valid unless the possessor is also holding a State issued DL.

What your post reads like, Bill, is that for $25 you could carry a facsimile DL to surrender to the Federales if stopped in Mexico (that's where it was posted) and still have your 'real' DL. Si? I contend that even they aren't that dumb.

Jim
 

easyrider

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One CAN do this, but it's virtually always unnecessary (for driving or renting a car). All an IDL is is a translation of the information contained on your state issued DL into a variety of languages. If your DL is 'lost' (read:revoked) by a law enforcement agency, whether or not you are still in physical possession of your state issued DL is moot. It's validity is revoked. it's kaput. No good. If you read the fine print on that AAA issued IDL, it says in effect- not valid unless the possessor is also holding a State issued DL.

What your post reads like, Bill, is that for $25 you could carry a facsimile DL to surrender to the Federales if stopped in Mexico (that's where it was posted) and still have your 'real' DL. Si? I contend that even they aren't that dumb.

Jim
Jim
The purpose for us to have the international drivers license is to not have to present our valid state drivers license. If you have ever been pulled over in Mexico the cop will want to see your id and might take it. If your in an accident the cop might take your id. I would rather them take my IDL leaving me with my valid state DL. While I haven't bothered getting one in the past Im getting one now because I plan to do alot of driving in Mexico.

A facimile driver license is a copy of a drivers license and not legal to present anywhere. I believe you know this and just want to be Jim.

The international drivers license can be used legally in Mexico when pulled over by a traffic cop. Your copy could put you in jail. That is the difference amigo.
 

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Let us know how this works out for you. I'm sure many here would be curious.

Jim
 

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I just completed an online chat with Avis and they told me that the basic liability is NOT included in the rate. Is that true? I read that it is included on many sites. Maybe they changed their policy?
 

easyrider

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I just completed an online chat with Avis and they told me that the basic liability is NOT included in the rate. Is that true? I read that it is included on many sites. Maybe they changed their policy?
Im in Cancun and rented from Avis. I used my American Express Card and declined all of the Avis coverage. Avis does include the 3rd party liability as required by Mexican law. The credit card covers the car and passengers.
 

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I just completed an online chat with Avis and they told me that the basic liability is NOT included in the rate. Is that true? I read that it is included on many sites. Maybe they changed their policy?
What is "basic liability"? There are two types of liability to be aware of - second party liability. IMHO, you shouldn't rent a car in Mexico until you know the differences between those, what your options are to cover those, and what the pricing and terms are for those coverages.

You should also plan for how things will play out if something happens and you have to deal with second party and third party claims for damages.
 

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Im in Cancun and rented from Avis. I used my American Express Card and declined all of the Avis coverage. Avis does include the 3rd party liability as required by Mexican law. The credit card covers the car and passengers.
What is "basic liability"? There are two types of liability to be aware of - second party liability. IMHO, you shouldn't rent a car in Mexico until you know the differences between those, what your options are to cover those, and what the pricing and terms are for those coverages.

You should also plan for how things will play out if something happens and you have to deal with second party and third party claims for damages.
The basic liability I was talking about was the third party liability. I called Avis and they told me all kinds of liabilities are not included. I am planning on renting in Puerto Vallarta. Maybe they don't include it there?
 

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The basic liability I was talking about was the third party liability. I called Avis and they told me all kinds of liabilities are not included. I am planning on renting in Puerto Vallarta. Maybe they don't include it there?
Third party liability is absolutely required everywhere in Mexico, and must be provided by a company authorized to provide such coverage in Mexico. That's why your US insurance coverage will not suffice unless your policy is written by a company that is also licensed to provide coverage in Mexico and you have a rider extending coverage to Mexico. I believe that operating a vehicle without third party liability insurance is a crime in Mexico. If an accident happens and you cannot provide proof of coverage, that is generally sufficient for the police to detain you (i.e., put you in jail) until you can provide proof of coverage.

Second party liability is a separate issue.
 

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No major auto rental company is going to rent a car without the mandatory 3rd party liability insurace because it is MANDATORY. Mandatory meaning the car can not be on the road without 3rd party liability.

Avis offers the an increased amount of 3rd party liability that can be purchased if you feel you need it. Third party liabilty or personal liability is what covers 3rd party damages, including medical costs or other claims/lawsuits against you.

We have always opted to use our credit card rental insurance coverage instead of LDW/CDW. There is 0 deductable with the AMEX card. If you purchase this insurance from the rental car agency there is a deductable.
You must refuse LDW or CDW on the rental agreement Purchase of any LDW/CDW insurance eliminates all benefits from the program. The CC has coverage protecting the vechicle and the occupants.

Many car rental agencies mandatorily include LDW/CDW in their rates. You cannot use your credit card free insurance with these agencies. Avis is one that separates out Liability from the Collision.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Many car rental agencies mandatorily include LDW/CDW in their rates. You cannot use your credit card free insurance with these agencies. Avis is one that separates out Liability from the Collision.
I recall seeing some car rental terms and conditions that state that the only way they will waive any of their coverages is if you provide proof of separate coverage for those items at the time of rental. WRT to credit card coverage, they required a statement from the credit card attesting that this specific rental was covered by the credit card insurance coverage - i.e., a generic statement of coverage under the credit card terms and conditions was not acceptable.

Obviously they are deliberately trying to make it difficult to not buy their insurance, but it's certainly worth checking the terms and conditions carefully to be sure that you can use the credit card insurance coverage for your rental.
 

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Easyrider.....I used to rent and not get 3rd party liability but about three years ago 'gave in' and got it (mostly cuz they wouldn' t rent unless I did).
In December I rented from Dollar and paid for it.

But today before reading your post ,I went to orbitz and read the 'avoid extra fee' link and YOU ARE RIGHT....it seems that the rental agency must now include minimum liability....on the Dollar and Avis and Thrifty links, it uses different wording and the amounts are different. (Avis offers the highest 'free' minimums). And says you can purchase OPTIONAL 3rd party liability.

So I'm thinking that I can save a good bit of money by taking a print out of that link . Thanks for the heads up!
 

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Third party liability is absolutely required everywhere in Mexico, and must be provided by a company authorized to provide such coverage in Mexico. That's why your US insurance coverage will not suffice unless your policy is written by a company that is also licensed to provide coverage in Mexico and you have a rider extending coverage to Mexico. I believe that operating a vehicle without third party liability insurance is a crime in Mexico. If an accident happens and you cannot provide proof of coverage, that is generally sufficient for the police to detain you (i.e., put you in jail) until you can provide proof of coverage.

Second party liability is a separate issue.
No major auto rental company is going to rent a car without the mandatory 3rd party liability insurace because it is MANDATORY. Mandatory meaning the car can not be on the road without 3rd party liability.

Avis offers the an increased amount of 3rd party liability that can be purchased if you feel you need it. Third party liabilty or personal liability is what covers 3rd party damages, including medical costs or other claims/lawsuits against you.

We have always opted to use our credit card rental insurance coverage instead of LDW/CDW. There is 0 deductable with the AMEX card. If you purchase this insurance from the rental car agency there is a deductable.
You must refuse LDW or CDW on the rental agreement Purchase of any LDW/CDW insurance eliminates all benefits from the program. The CC has coverage protecting the vechicle and the occupants.

Many car rental agencies mandatorily include LDW/CDW in their rates. You cannot use your credit card free insurance with these agencies. Avis is one that separates out Liability from the Collision.
So if I book a rental car with Avis at Puerto Vallarta, the rate is inclusive of the very basic third party liability and I have the option of purchasing an increased amount of third party liability?
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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So if I book a rental car with Avis at Puerto Vallarta, the rate is inclusive of the very basic third party liability and I have the option of purchasing an increased amount of third party liability?
Isn't that a question you should be asking Avis? In case there's a problem, what is going to be more important - what the rental terms and conditions say or what someone posts here?
 

easyrider

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So if I book a rental car with Avis at Puerto Vallarta, the rate is inclusive of the very basic third party liability and I have the option of purchasing an increased amount of third party liability?
01-52-555-588-8888 Avis International............. press 3 for English

Steve is right. You should call Avis and ask.

I allways call to be sure whats happening with the 3rd party liability. Last year Avis Mexico decided by location if they would include the 3rd party liability. If Avis charges for the 3rd party liability then look at some of the other major auto rental companies. I like Alamo and Thrifty in that order if we need to purchase the 3rd party liability because we can still use our credit card for the ldw/cdw.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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I just completed an online chat with Avis and they told me that the basic liability is NOT included in the rate. Is that true? I read that it is included on many sites. Maybe they changed their policy?
It has been four or five years since I rented a car in Mexico, so it's possible that things have changed. My rentals were from Avis.

As I recall, the rates that were quoted did not include liability, but the details of required insurance coverage were spelled out in the terms and conditions. At that time, you had to take their third party liability coverage unless you had with you an insurance policy in your name that provided coverage for third party liability. The policy had to be written by an insurer licensed to provide insurance in Mexico. Unless you could provide that the car was not leaving the lot. They offered second party liability insurance, but we were able to use our credit card insurance coverage to handle that. So when we've rented we've paid for the rental and for third party liability.

By reading the terms and conditions I was able to figure out how much the rental was going to cost me with the insurance I needed. It was all pretty clear when I read the terms and conditions. I liked that Avis did it that way instead of making all of the coverages mandatory, as the credit card second party insurance is included with the rental when you put it on the credit card and it provides better coverage.

*****

BTW - I hope you are not thinking of trying to save some money by trying to skip the third party liability coverage. As I understand it is illegal to operate a vehicle in Mexico without proof of third party insurance. If you are in an accident and you cannot provide proof of coverage, that is sufficient information for the police to determine that you were operating the vehicle illegally and incarcerate you until you can provide proof of ability to pay for damages. Whether or not you were at fault in the accident is irrelevant.

Mexican law is based on the Napoleonic Code, so you do not get any presumption of innocence; when the police summarize their investigation that becomes the official record of what happened.
 

Colorado Belle

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from AVIS:
Insurance
PROPERTY DAMAGE/PUBLIC LIABILITY UP TO 750000 MXN
IS INCLUDED IN ACCORDANCE WITH INSURANCE LAWS OF
COUNTRY.
.
THEFT OF OR DAMAGE TO PARTS AND ACCESSORIES ARE NOT
COVERED.
.
ALI-ADDITIONAL LIABILITY INSURANCE - 12.99 USD PER DAY
PURCHASE OF ALI INCREASES PROPERTY DAMAGE AND PUBLIC
LIABILITY TO 5000000 MXN WHILE DRIVING WITHIN
MEXICO AS LONG AS THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THE
RENTAL AGREEMENT ARE MET.
.

Collision Damage Waiver
Personal Accident Insurance

Location information
Shuttle
Express Service Availability

From Dollar:
*** INSURANCE COVERAGES PURCHASED ON THIRD PARTY ***
*** WEBSITES ARE NOT ACCEPTED IN MEXICO. ***
.
PROPERTY DAMAGE/PUBLIC LIABILITY IS INCLUDED IN
ACCORDANCE WITH INSURANCE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY OF MEXICO
AND COVERS UP TO MXN 50,000 IN BASIC THIRD PARTY
LIABILITY PROTECTION. COVERAGE DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE
AT THE RENTAL COUNTER. THEFT OF, OR DAMAGE TO PARTS
AND ACCESSORIES ARE NOT COVERED.
.
SLE *SUPPLEMENTAL LIABILITY EXCESS* IS OPTIONAL AND
INCREASES THIRD PARTY PROTECTION FROM MXN 50,000 UP TO
MXN 1,000,000. COST IS USD 12.00 OR USD 15.00 PER DAY
FOR ALL VEHICLES, DEPENDING ON THE LOCATION. COVERAGE
RESTRICTIONS ARE AVAILABLE AT THE RENTAL COUNTER.
.
IF DECLINING ANY OF THE PROTECTION PACKAGES, AN
ADDITIONAL CREDIT CARD APPROVAL OF UP TO USD 5000.00
WILL BE REQUIRED IN ADDITION TO THE ESTIMATED TOTAL FOR
THE RENTAL.
.
IF ACCEPTING ALL OF THE PROTECTION PACKAGES INCLUDING
SLE, LDW AND SDW, AN AUTHORIZATION OF USD 300.00 IN
ADDITION TO THE ESTIMATED TOTAL OF THE RENTAL WILL BE
REQUIRED.
.
SEE PAI AND CDW/LDW FOR MORE COVERAGE INFORMATION.

Collision Damage Waiver
Personal Accident Insurance
Mileage Restriction

NOTE from CB: each car agency seems to have it's own minimum liability and it appears that Avis has the highest amount included. When I rented Dollar in PV in December, I wasn't forced to buy more, but I thought I had to ...so I did, adding more than $150 to our rental cost. Won't do it this trip. This is not to say that some people might want MORE liabillty just in case. I do use my Am Ex card which offers collision and other insurance for $24.95 per rental (not per day).

If you decide to not take the extra insurance, I think making a copy of the above info for whatever company you rent from might be a good idea. (I got this off of ORbitz...plugging in dates, picking a company +car and then clicking on the link for 'more info about rental fees' or 'avoid extra fees' right on the rental page.

Hope this helps!
 

easyrider

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Steve, Avis includes the 3rd party liability insurace and offers an upgraded 3rd party insurance called ALI, Additional liability insurance.

This is what is offered with a car rental from Avis in Mexico.

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)27.99 USD Per Day
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)4.00 USD Per Day
Personal Effects Protection (PEP)Not Available
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)12.99 USD Per Day

There isn't a term or condition available to read when you reserve online. Thats is why I call.

I have never heard of 2nd party insurance. Is this old terminolgy for the occupants of the vechile ?

There also is no terms or conditions to read, only the options are available to read.

The law in Mexico mirrors USA law in that the vechicle needs to have a minimum amount of liability to be on the road. All major rental companies provide this but some charge the customer for this insurance.
 

T_R_Oglodyte

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Steve, Avis includes the 3rd party liability insurace and offers an upgraded 3rd party insurance called ALI, Additional liability insurance.

This is what is offered with a car rental from Avis in Mexico.

Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)27.99 USD Per Day
Personal Accident Insurance (PAI)4.00 USD Per Day
Personal Effects Protection (PEP)Not Available
Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)12.99 USD Per Day

I have never heard of 2nd party insurance. Is this old terminolgy for the occupants of the vechile ?
It's not old terminology. Second party and third party liabilities are common terms in my business insurance policies and practices.

In a contract:
- First party = you
- Second party = the other party to the contract
- Third party = the rest of the world.

Third party liability coverage is for damages to third parties; i.e., the public. Second party liability is liability to the insurance company. In a vehicle rental that would be damage to the vehicle, damages for loss of use, etc.

Last time I rented a vehicle in Mexico I had to take their third party coverage (public liability), but I was able to decline the coverages on the vehicle. I believe that would be the LDW. I'm not sure what the PAI would be.
 

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So here is my RECENT experience with Dollar:
I booked Dollar instead of Avis because I 'd rented from them in December and figured they'd remember me and it would be EASY. Wrongo! I took a copy of their websites 3rd party liability that is included in daily rate and the 'additional optional 3rd party liability that they offer IN ADDITION TO. Right. The agent said No, local rules are.......; so I pulled up the web site: Local rules, Puerto Vallarta and read them to him. Then he went to get the manager who said: I don't care; if you don't take it, we won't rent you the car. I was stuck at Dollar at 7pm and so I took the car (the liability extra more than doubled the daily rental.) Round 1: dollar:mad:

So then I said, well, I 'm headed south , so what return places do you have south of town? Nada. But in town they have the Buenaventura Hotel...on the north side of Centro. Fine I say, I'll take it back there , so put it on the contract that that is where it will be returned . (They have to take the paperwork there).

Then he says: the car is 3/4 full of gas. I say, well, why not fill it up because I'm just driving to my hotel and it will be easier to return it full as opposed to getting the gas attendant to fill it up to '3/4". He says: jusst put in 50 pesos. So I do and drive it to the Buenaventura about an hour early. NO one from Dollar there. So I call. No you must bring it out to the airport (40 minutes away). I argue: why can't I just leave it here in the parking lot? No , we will charge you another day if you do that. So......I drive it out to the airport but I am p o'd .
Round 2: Dollar :eek:

The car is completely clean with 50 pesos of new gas. But the guy says...no, you are a 1/8th low on gas and I must charge you. No way says I...it was well over 3/4 when I was at the Buenoventura and that is where my contract says I will return it. So the guy will not give me the 'close out' of the contract. I leave. :wall:

I forgot to call American Express but I will soon...and I'm just going to deny the charges and let them sweat it out with Am Ex. I'll certianly pay the day rate, but I wasn't happy about the supposedly OPTIONAL insurance and really unhappy about driving all the way to the airport, losing 2 hours of vacation and in the rain taking two buses to get back to my condo. And then the gas.....well enough is enough.:crash:

RENT FROM AVIS DO NOT USE DOLLAR. There, my bad mouthing duty is done!
 

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On our recent trip to Cancun we used a Costco AWD code for 30% off the rental. I printed out the rental agreement and showed it to Avis Cancun when we arrived. The code wouldn't work so they wrote 30% off on my paperwork. We declined all extra insurance and used our American Express to pay for the rental car. Third party liability is included in the rate and the credit card covers damage to the car, theft, medical for occupants and legal advice.

Drove all over the Yucatan without any problems. It took a while to get used to the roundabouts in Cancun. At times there would be 3 -4 vehicles on the roundabout and if you missed your turn you would need to keep circling. The streets of Cancun are not on a regular square grid and the signage is confusing.

After two weeks we returned the car and the new total was 40% higher than when I left because the Avis CPU was stalled. I again showed my original Avis agreement with the Costco discount to the agent. Because the Avis CPU wasn;t working he used a calculator and charged me the original amount with the 30% off Costco discount plus gave us an additional 30% off as this was hand written by the Avis guy when I arrived. So we ended up paying about $160 per week for a class B car.

This trip I did get an Incarnation Drivers License from AAA. It is only legal when you have your state issued drivers license in your pocket. So I did use this 3 times. On Isla Mujures to rent a golf cart and at Chichen Itza to use the head phones for the light show. These places wanted to hold ID until I returned. As far as police in Cancun go there isn't any problem. I had a few police vehicles behind me on highways and when its clear for them to pass I would turn on the flasher and slow down. They would pass me and one guy even waved. We went through 6 police check stations and were waved through each time.
 

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Let us know how this works out for you. I'm sure many here would be curious.

Jim
It worked out as expected. I didn't have to show my WA drivers license to anyone including the Tourist Police who seemed to like this as there is a page in Spanish. This International Drivers License has multiple pages and looks very official. I might not get this for a one week trip but we were driving in Mexico for 4 weeks so I thought it was a good idea.

I was stopped for not wearing a seatbelt. I didn't have the seatbelt on as I was trying to parallel park.

This last trip we rented from Dominic. He met us in front of the airport. His cars include all insurance, free tank of gas and free advice.
http://dominicloscabos.com/
 

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We used Avis on this recent trip to Nuevo Vallarta. No problems using the credit card for the insurance. I did get a new car with only 1200 km on it and managed to get a door ding or shopping cart ding at the festival and thought that Avis would be going after my credit card. When I returned the car all the Avis guys looked at it and decided it was ok. My friend rented from Hertz with no problem and did get a free upgrade and spouse driver included for free.

Bill
 
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