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Understanding Rental Car Insurance Coverage in Costa Rica

One of the biggest worries for people renting a car in Costa Rica is the insurance. There are plenty of rumors about tourists getting scammed by undisclosed hidden fees, high mandatory insurance costs, and unwarranted damage claims.

These rumors may be true for some rental car agencies in Costa Rica. But not when it comes to Adobe. We at Adobe Rent a Car are proud to be one of Costa Rica’s top car rental companies for our transparency, customer service, and great cars.

So, what exactly is the rental car process, and how does insurance coverage for a rental car in Costa Rica work?

In this article, we’ll clarify what types of rental insurance are out there so you can choose the coverage that best fits your needs and travel plans. 

The ins and outs of rental car insurance in Costa Rica

First off, note that a renter’s personal accident insurance from their home country is not valid in Costa Rica. The same goes for Costa Rican nationals or residents: their personal auto insurance does not cover vehicle rentals.

In order to rent a car with Adobe, renters must leave a vehicle damage deposit using a major credit card. The deposit is usually $1,000 but may vary depending on the type of vehicle or rental duration. 

The renter’s credit card holds the amount until the rental period is terminated. If there are no damages or traffic violations during the rental, then the credit card company will release the full amount.

Rent a Car insurance coverage explained

Costa Rica has its fair share of rental car companies. Many are international chains like those back home. Some are small mom-and-pop outfits. And then there are the Costa Rican owned, full-sized operations, like Adobe.

When browsing the internet, you’ll see a lot of conflicting prices from one rental car company to the next. Remember, if you see a rental car listed at a price that appears too good to be true. It probably is. 

Many companies don’t include third-party liability in their quotes. Nor do they disclose that renters must also have what’s known as Collision Damage Waivers (CDW or LDW). 

The largest of Costa Rica’s insurance companies provides car rental required insurance: the National Insurance Institute or INS.

Unlike most competitors, Adobe discloses the third-party liability coverage required by law in the initial quote. Likewise, renters can choose whether they choose our Adobe Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) coverage or their credit card’s.

Auto insurance in Costa Rica

Our Adobe LDW coverage covers damage to the rental car in the event of a collision, rollover, or theft. With LDW, the renter’s financial responsibility above the LDW deductible of $1,000 is waived.   

Please note that damage to the vehicle’s tires and vandalism are not covered by the LDW. However, they are covered in Adobe’s optional Extended Protection Coverage (SPP), detailed below. 

Many major credit cards, such as American Express, Visa, and Mastercard, provide CDW or LDW coverage, but not all of them do so in Costa Rica. Ask your Adobe agent if your card’s coverage applies. 

In some cases, renters will need to provide an official letter from the credit card company confirming they provide CDW coverage in Costa Rica. 

There are a couple of important drawbacks to opting for your credit card coverage, including:

  1. In the event of a collision or rollover, the renter will be financially responsible for all damages. 
  2. This means the associated paperwork and fees need to be presented by the renter to the credit card company for reimbursement.
  3. Our Adobe agents will assist renters by providing the necessary paperwork. However, the responsibility to request and process the reimbursement claim is ultimately in the hands of the renter. 
  4. Many renters are uncomfortable with or unable to assume the costs and delays of processing a collision claim on their own. Hence, Adobe’s LDW option is often the safest and easiest solution.

Optional Insurance SPP – Adobe’s Extended Protection Coverage 

Our customers’ safety and peace of mind are of the utmost importance. Navigating Costa Rica’s roads can be tricky. Heavy rains, fog, and rough terrain are common occurrences, and accidents sometimes happen. 

That’s why we developed a comprehensive optional coverage supplement known as Adobe’s full coverage insurance. 

With our SPP Extended Coverage supplement, renters are provided with several additional coverage benefits. 

Adobe’s SPP includes:

  • Nationwide 24/7 roadside assistance, including tow truck service.
  • Zero deductible. The LDW’s 20% deductible for third-party damages is waived.
  • Insurance coverage is extended up to $2 million per event.
  • Vandalism damages to the rental vehicle are covered, including the tires and windows.

What else should you know about renting a car in Costa Rica?

Every car rental company in Costa Rica has different rental requirements. The following ‘must haves’ are required to rent a car with Adobe:

  • Renters must be at least 23 years old to rent an Adobe vehicle. This also applies to additional drivers. 
  • Renters must present a valid driver’s license from their home country that has been issued for at least two years.
  • An international driver’s permit is only necessary when the renter’s home license is written in a non-Romanic alphabet. Examples include Mandarin, Hebrew, and Arabic.
  • Renters must present an original passport. Costa Rican nationals and residents can use a valid Cedula ID card.
  • Cash is not an accepted form of payment.
  • The vehicle damage deposit must be made using a major credit card. In some cases, debit cards can be used to pay for the vehicle rental.
  • And lastly, remember that third-party liability insurance and some form of vehicle coverage (LDW or CDW) are mandatory. 


  1. Hi last year at Christmas I rented a car from your company in San Jose and was very happy with the car. I am planning to visit Costa Rica again sometime in early February. I tried to get a quote online, but the date on the calendar keeps going back to December 2 ?
    Can you help me please.

    Thank you, Cornelis Leuven

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