Does my GEICO insurance cover rental cars in Costa Rica?

No, GEICO does not provide coverage for international rental car insurance in Costa Rica (or any other country) but their international affiliate can help people who are relocating abroad find new insurance.

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Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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GEICO does not offer international rental car coverage in Costa Rica. In fact, GEICO doesn’t offer any international car insurance coverage; even if you are simply driving into Mexico, GEICO’s coverage does not extend past the American border.

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Key takeaways

  • Like most American insurance companies, GEICO does not offer international rental car coverage in Costa Rica.

  • Liability insurance from the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) is required by law in Costa Rica, even if you have American car insurance or rental car coverage through your credit card.

  • GEICO’s international affiliate, GEICO Financial Services GmbH, can help people who are moving internationally find insurance in their new country of residence.

Does my car insurance cover international rentals?

Not likely. Most American insurance companies won’t provide international rental car insurance because liability laws are different in other countries.

Not only does each company have their own requirements for auto insurance, but each country requires insurance companies to be licensed by the federal government before they can do business in the country. This means most insurance companies aren’t able to offer international car insurance coverage.

For drivers who need to purchase additional insurance coverage, like comprehensive or collision coverage, the car rental company typically sells temporary auto insurance for a day-to-day rate.

Is third party insurance mandatory in Costa Rica?

Also called third party insurance, liability insurance from the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) is required by law in Costa Rica, even if you have American car insurance or rental car coverage through your credit card. [1]

The required liability policy doesn’t cover your rental car at all, only damages to other people and their property. Outside of the required liability coverage, travelers in Costa Rica should expect to purchase additional comprehensive and collision insurance to cover their rental car. 

Genius Tip

Car rental insurance is sometimes provided by your credit card or American Express, but the terms of the coverage (if it is offered) can vary from company-to-company and card-to-card, so you’ll need to do your research before assuming you have enough rental car insurance. 

Does GEICO cover you in other countries?

Yes, GEICO offers insurance for your car and other personal property if you relocate to another country outside of the United States.

GEICO has an affiliate, GEICO Financial Services GmbH, that has been working with the company to provide overseas insurance for more than sixty years. They function as your insurance agent and arrange coverage from other insurance companies who are licensed by the country you are relocating to, with coverage that is available to eligible government employees, expatriates, and members of the military.

What if I’m just traveling, not relocating?

GEICO offers AirCare flight insurance to protect your travel costs on domestic and international flights. They also offer ExactCare travel insurance to pay for lost or stolen documents, unexpected medical care, and trip cancellations or delays.

For drivers hoping to use a rental car or their U.S. registered vehicle on an international vacation, GEICO does not offer that type of coverage. 

The only exception to this is if you are an American driving in Canada. America and Canada have a reciprocal agreement that allows citizens of both countries to drive across the border with their own insurance policy, though you may still need to notify your insurance company ahead of time if you are planning an international trip.

How do I call GEICO from overseas?

GEICO has offices in countries all over Europe, including Belgium, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Each foreign office has their own contact information that can be found on GEICO’s website, or you can email the company at overseas@geicogmbh.com if you have a question that doesn’t need to be answered right away.

If you are still in the United States and you have questions about coverage while traveling in Costa Rica or any other country, you can call GEICO directly at (800) 248-4998.

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Frequently asked questions

What is international travel insurance?

Travel insurance helps protect the assorted expenses related to your trip. Some travel insurance is designed to cover your flight, hotels, and other costs in case you aren’t able to go on your trip. Other travel insurance is designed to cover your medical expenses in case of an emergency overseas, essentially acting as temporary health insurance. Review the details of your policy carefully to make sure you know exactly what type of travel insurance you have.

Does my car insurance protect my rental car?

Yes, drivers who have a full coverage policy are typically covered if they rent a car in the United States. Each company has their own rules regarding how they cover rental cars, so check with your insurance agent to make sure you have the coverage you need if you rent a car.

What is CDW in car rental?

CDW stands for “collision damage waiver”, which is a common benefit available at rental car companies. CDW means that a rental car company is waiving their right to compensation for comprehensive and collision damages to a rental car. A collision damage waiver is not insurance and doesn’t include bodily injury coverage.

How do I rent a car in a foreign country?

If you have an international license (or you are traveling to a country that allows you to drive with an American license) you can rent a car in a foreign country. Before renting a car, make sure to do your research ahead of time and rent from a reputable company.

References

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  1. Vamos Rent-a-Car

    . "

    Vehicle Rental Insurance Explained

    ." Accessed May 16, 2022.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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