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What Travelers Need To Know Before Renting a Car in Mexico

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You have booked the trip to Mexico and looking into renting a car to explore this beautiful country. Here is a guide with helpful tips for everything you need to know before renting a car, so you're not surprised by hidden fees and enjoy the freedom to explore at your own pace.

Top Rental Companies

You will find all the big-name rental companies from the US right here in Mexico and highly recommended Mexican companies. These are the top companies with a presence throughout the entire Mexican territory:

  • National
  • Hertz
  • Mex Rent a Car
  • Enterprise
  • Green Motion
  • Payless
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • Alamo

The 3 top companies with better rates in 2021 include Budget, Green Motion, and Hertz, according to You can also book your rental at Discover Cars, where you can find great deals with their search and compare tool.

What you will Need

You must be 18 to rent a car in Mexico and have a valid driver's license issued in a Roman Alphabet language. Other languages, such as China and Japan that use character alphabet, will require an International Driver's Permit. You will also need a credit or debit card, and they will usually place a hold of around $1,000 USD in case of any damages to the car.

Insurance is Mandatory

The minimum insurance required to drive in Mexico is Liability Insurance. Some companies will not allow you to rent unless you purchase insurance from them. Even though they technically can't force you to buy insurance from them, the best option is to do this to avoid having to deal with multiple companies in case of any issue. Depending on the type of insurance you get, prices vary between $20 to $40 USD per day. The best choice is to get full coverage with no deductible if you want to avoid headaches in case you have to file a claim.

General Travel Insurance

Always purchase Travel Insurance with coverage in Mexico. If you already have, contact them to see if they would upgrade to cover your car rental. Also, many credit cards from the US provide insurance. Keep in mind that if you are involved in an accident with your rental, you will be obligated to pay out of pocket and file a claim with the Credit Card Company and hope they will reimburse you in full.

Be Aware of This Common Practice

Just like in the US, you will end up paying an additional amount once you pick up your car. Between additional fees, taxes, and insurance costs, the price you originally intended to pay will increase. If this has happened to you at some point, you will agree that this is very frustrating. Always read the fine print so you won't be surprised upon arrival.

inside car

If it's too Good to be True

We've all seen it, rates as low as $5 USD per day and later realizing that it does not include an array of fees, taxes, mandatory insurance, and the list goes on. If this happens to be the case, we suggest you calculate the following to make a rough estimate of what you'll pay in the end. Double the price you see listed online, considering you'll get the minimum insurance; for full coverage, consider triple instead. So, for example, if you find a $10 USD per day rate, consider $20 to be your final price if you got the minimum liability insurance. If you are getting full coverage Insurance, then it could be around $30 USD. We know this is quite annoying, but it is better to be informed, so you can budget accordingly.

Types of Cars for Rent

All major Car Rental Companies provide the same makes and models you would find in the US. The most popular are Volkswagen, Nissan, Chevrolet, and Kia. Other companies you might see are the French Peugeot and Renault brands. Most cars for rent are sedans and with automatic transmission, unless you're renting a specialty vehicle.

Mexican Gas Stations

You will usually have to find a Gas Station as soon as you leave the rental company. Gas stations are everywhere, and so you know, they are not self-serve. An attendant will pump the gas and take your payment, and they usually clean your windshield or check your tire pressure. Please consider that it is customary to tip the employees at least $0.50 to $1 dollar ($10 to $20 Pesos).

The easiest way to explore Mexico and its hidden gems is by car. Renting a car should be an easy and hassle-free process. For your convenience, pick up your rental car directly at the airport when you arrive. And always try to rent from a reputable company and include insurance with coverage in Mexico.

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19

Mexico Covid-19 Entry Requirements

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This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Wednesday 28th of July 2021

Silly article. All the info provided is just common sense anybody with half a brain should know this ( but then today's younger generation are pretty dumb when it comes to common sense ) More important would be points like be very aware of " transito " cops in bigger cities just waiting to pounce on dumb gringos... show your lisense but NEVER give it to the cop. Also if there are injuries or damage more than a certain amount ( the cop decides ) then you all go to jail and sort it out in front of a judge ... your license and passport will be taken until it is resolved. Don't pay an on the spot traffic fine if it is more than $20 ... demand to see the chief of police ... of course if you are a dummy who can't speak a little Spanish, then you are screwed. The Pemex gas station bathrooms are not free.. you have to pay a few pesos and most often there are no toilet seat lids and no toilet paper. Take any directions ( especially distance ) given by locals with a large grain of salt .... Mexicans have no sense of time or distance. ALWAYS lock your car and at tourist sites, always pay a kid to watch your car.... there are plenty who will offer. Minor accident damage .... hire a local mechanic/repair shop to fix it ... they are cheap and good and can paint the area damaged to where you will never see it. The car company will charge you a fortune to do the same repair. Remember .. in Mexico, a car signalling a left turn is NOT usually going to turn ...; the left turn signal means it is safe for you to pass. To do a left turn they will pull off to the right, wait for no traffic behind and then turn . Also it is customary to drive with one in wheel in the emergency lane, which leaves a wide space in the middle of the road for cars going in either direction to pass. Lastly ... a cop with flashing lights does not mean pull over ... they drive with flashing lights on all the time. If he wants you to pull over he will turn on the siren... don't be afraid to pass a cop with flashing lights... everybody does.


Wednesday 28th of July 2021

My personal experience in Mexico. I went to Cancun for the weekend whilst working in Mexico City. I hired from Hertz and being from UK I booked the all inclusive deal which was much more competitive than Avis/Budget or National. No surprise hidden charges but they do put an authorization as a security deposit on your credit card. I rented a virtually new BMW 3 series to spend the day at Chichen Itza. I had no problems at all. The highway there is empty at the weekend so it can work out great. Would I rent a car in Mexico City itself, absolutely not.