5 Things You Should Know Before Renting a Car in Mexico
While bus travel in Mexico tends to be the most popular mode of transportation for tourists looking to see the country, and taxis are available in most cities to take visitors short distances, you might find that your particular needs call for a rental car. But renting a vehicle and driving in another country can be fraught with stumbling blocks if you don’t know what to expect or how to behave. So here are just a few tips that will help you to seamlessly navigate your way through renting and car and getting from point A to point B when you travel to Mexico.
- The same rules apply. When you rent a car in the U.S. you must be over the age of 25 and have a valid driver’s license and a major credit card. The same is true when you travel to Mexico (except you may be able to rent a car under the age of 25 if you pay a lot more). You’ll also want to secure an International Driver’s Permit, so you should apply via AAA at least six months before you travel. Luckily, you’ll also have access to recognized companies like Hertz, Avis, Budget, and more, so if you’ve rented in the U.S. you should know the ropes (and you can benefit from any club memberships you hold).
- You’ll pay more at the airport. In general, picking up your rental car and dropping it off at the airport in Mexico will bump up the cost by approximately 10%. So if you want to save a little cash on this transaction, go to the business location of the rental car company.
- It pays to know road rules. Driving in Mexico is not nearly as difficult as you might think, especially if you take the time to learn the basic rules of the road, as well as familiarize yourself with common signage and the driving habits of residents. This will help you to avoid tickets and accidents that could impact your trip (and your rental car).
- Insurance is a must. You should interpret this rule literally. It is mandatory when driving in Mexico to have automobile insurance, and in case you didn’t know, your insurance company may not cover you in another country. You can combat this by adding temporary international coverage to your current policy or selecting suitable coverage via sites like CheapAutoInsurance.org, but you might be better off taking one of the options offered by the car rental company to ensure that you meet the mandatory requirements for driving in Mexico.
- Read the fine print. Just because it is the law to have insurance coverage when you drive in Mexico doesn’t mean you have to purchase the most expensive policy (which can make an otherwise affordable rental 2-3 times as pricy). You’ll find that there are a couple of different options for policies you can pay to attach to your car rental fee, but the only one you’re legally required to carry is basic personal liability. Luckily, it is also the law that this service must be included in the rental price of the vehicle, so if the agency you’re renting from tries to tell you that you have to purchase it separately, you’ll know you’re being had (or they’re running an illegal operation – either way you might want to go somewhere else). Of course, the price listed online when you reserve a car might not include this fee, so you could be surprised to see the rental price go up when you arrive. But it must be part of the final cost. You can also add supplemental liability and/or loss damage waiver (collision) insurance at additional expense.
February 15, 2013 Friday at 6:55 am