Is this car rental price in San Jose Del Cabo too good to be true?
November 16, 2016 1:01 PM   Subscribe

My brother and his partner are traveling to San Jose del Cabo Mexico and are trying to secure a car rental for the trip. They have done some research online and have found a cheap fare on Travelocity through Budget Car Rental, but it's not at the airport. We are trying to get a sense of whether: A) The price might be too good to be true (ie. hidden fees etc...) the fee is stated as $75 for two weeks which seems ridiculous to me. B) Is it safe to be renting anywhere outside of an airport. Does anyone have experience with car rentals in or around this area and could offer some advice or suggestion.
posted by thelastgirl to Travel & Transportation around San José Del Cabo, Mexico (6 answers total)
The peso was really weak, last I heard (recent/current events, you know). The usual things I'd check on a car rental is - does it allow unlimited mileage, or if not, what is the cap/cost per mile? What is the operating area you're allowed to take it on? In the states, they sometimes make you declare what states you'll be driving it in (perhaps in an effort to curb excessive mileage), so is there some radius/territory/metro area you're limited to? And what is the insurance cost? Assuming your brother is US-based, I'd be especially careful on what the insurance scenario is. Usually with domestic rentals and with most credit cards, there is some coverage, but since it's international I'd check.

Doesn't seem that unusual to rent outside an airport to me. Do a reality check on the location (google maps, etc.), but not all airports have all their rental agencies on-site.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:30 PM on November 16, 2016

What we found when we rented in Mexico is that while the initial quoted cost is very cheap, there is mandatory insurance which really drives the cost up. Lots of info online, such as this HP article.
posted by valleys at 2:02 PM on November 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

We rented a car in Cancun, and found two things: 1., as stated above, the mandatory third party liability was very expensive but not included in the base rate by most agencies. 2., even the "Hertz" agency, which did include the insurance in the rate was not up to the standards that you would expect in the US. The car we were given was dilapidated. However, it was quite cheap.
posted by wnissen at 2:45 PM on November 16, 2016

I can't speak specifically to renting in Mexico, but can you check whether a similar rate is available directly at Budget? If you can book direct on their website, that might help.

I was recently shopping for a car and somehow ended up on what appeared to be a fake version of Orbitz (scammy fake address bar, I couldn't access the real URL) with one particular car at an unlikely cheap rate. After clicking through out of curiousity, it appeared to be some referral scam, where they had altered the dates to provide a cheaper booking for a shorter duration.

Another thing I'd check is whether it's a corporate owned or franchisee location. Sometimes in outlying areas random businesses (e.g. car repair shops, hotels) will rent the cars out under the name of a national brand. Obviously they're still an agent of the company, but I'd expect that type of place might be higher risk than a corporate owned place.
posted by reeddavid at 10:06 PM on November 16, 2016

I have rented a car several times at the San Jose del Cabo airport. Most of the car rental places are not at the airport, and there will be a shuttle that will take you to the rental building (most of which are just around the corner from the airport). It's worth double-checking that the rental is near the airport and not in the city of San Jose del Cabo, which is not convenient to the airport. If the rental place is indeed airport-adjacent, it's fine. I used Alamo on my last trip, which was about a 5-minute shuttle ride from the airport. I had no problem, and the staff at the rental office were fluent in English. I had a harder time just exiting the airport (which is a maze of timeshare sellers and unmarked doors that have trouble opening) than renting the car.

As everyone else has already mentioned, the car rental itself is cheap, but getting comprehensive insurance will double or triple the price. US insurance will not cover anything, so for me it's always worth the peace of mind to get the best policy available. $75 for two weeks sounds a bit on the low side but isn't shocking.

The car probably won't be super nice but it will be fine to get you where you're going.
posted by slagheap at 1:08 AM on November 17, 2016

Mexico has mandatory insurance. Your credit card coverage is NOT sufficient, your current auto insurance does NOT cover you there. Car rentals for $8-15 a day are totally normal. It's the $20-$50 a day for the additional insurance that will get you. We usually rent from Almo when we visit Cabo. The website will quote you the price with insurance included for comparison. I'd expect to pay about $60/day for a rental or anywhere from $700-$1000 for 2 weeks.
posted by saradarlin at 2:08 AM on November 17, 2016

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