Renting a car is usually cheaper in Santiago and more expensive in Patagonia and the extreme north (Atacama Desert).
Most companies in Chile include CDW insurance in their rates, but they usually do not mention the amount of the deductible, which usually goes between USD 300 and USD 1500 per event. This deductible amount will be your maximum responsibility in case of an accident and is “per accident”… not “per rental”.
Leaving Chile with a car rental vehicle is not a simple procedure. You have to get a legal authorization in advance (approx. 5 working days in advance) Permit costs between USD 90 and 290, depending mainly on the number of days the renter will be out of Chile. This extra payment will include the same Liability (third party) in Argentina, but CDW insurance may vary. You also have to take into consideration that crossing the Chilean - Argentinean borders takes more time and patience than you are used to, especially if compared to European countries.
Towing a car is an important issue if you happen to be involved in a big accident. Towing coverage varies from one company to another, and we recommend you take a look at this item. Towing coverage usually is different in Chile and Argentina. Getting stuck in the middle of Patagonia will be for sure a complicated matter!!!
No rental company authorizes their rental vehicles to cross to either Peru or Bolivia. This is because too many cars were stolen in those countries, and also because the relationship between Chile and those countries is … let’s say "somewhat strained" on occasion.
Your country's driver's license is good enough to drive in Chile but we would recommend getting an international driver’s license if you are planning to cross to Argentina. If stopped in Chile, the police usually will ask for your International driver’s license, but nothing so far has happened to a customer of our company for not having it (that's 25 years of car rental business experience).
Always try to park your vehicle in a safe parking place and do not leave things inside where people can see them. Try to always take your stuff with you, or at least leave it in the trunk.
Chilean roads are quite good. Most of our clients are impressed while driving here, but well, I guess you have heard there is nothing free in life. Let me tell you that there are many, and also expensive, tolls in Chile highways (mainly in route N° 5, also known as Panamericana, which is the main road in Chile, and goes all the way, north to south) so carry enough cash to pay these tolls (credit cards are not accepted in this manual tolls).
Santiago has recently inaugurated new modern roads that make your driving experience much safer and way faster. In order to use these roads, you pay by passing new electronic “free flow tolls” (you pay while you drive .... that is without stopping, just a sound will be heard inside your car) If your rental starts in Santiago it is normal that you will pay an extra of approx. USD 9 daily because of these new underground toll roads. The cars we offer are equipped with a device to be able to drive in these "free flow toll roads" which is called TAG. Every time you rent a car in Santiago you must ask if TAG is included in the rental rate!!!
Don’t ever try to give money to a policeman!. Unlike other South American countries (Argentina for example), there is not much corruption in Chile with Police. Tourists, almost always, will be treated respectfully and helpfully. If a foreign driver is nice and respects a Chilean policeman, it is very hard that him will get a transit ticket.
Drop-off charges are quite expensive here. We are talking of approx. USD 0.45 per kilometer. These high drops off charges have made many clients change their travel plans, especially when the rental is only for a few days. All car rental companies will charge a drop-off fee if the returned location is different from starting location. It does not matter if you rent a car in a big franchise company like Europcar or Hertz (more than 30 offices in Chile both of them) or if you rent in a small rental company … rental drop off fees are similar and quite high.
"I have used LYS Rent a car for the last seven years for hire cars used during trips to Chile and Argentina, the cars have always been in first class condition and during over 40,000 Km travelled we have never suffered a mechanical break down. From the first e-mail enquiry to collection at the airport, booking of first class accommodation arranging of permits and finally returning us to the airport I have always received a first rate service from the LYS team I would recommend there excellent car hire operation to any one who is visiting Chile and needs a Hire car LYS are the number one car Hire firm, customer service is there number one consideration at all times."
Best Wishes, Brendan Burke
"We have used Lys Rent a Car on numerous occasions and have always been very pleased with their service. I have been most impressed with their ability to find us exactly the cars we need in a wide range of delivery options. Lys Car Rental has proven to be a valuable contact in Chile."
Peter Foley, Head Coach US Snowboarding
"The Alzar School counts on reliable vehicles to make our programs in Chile possible. LYS Rent a Car has been a consistent and valued partner since 2012 and we have really appreciated their help. Whether it is finding vans in Santiago, securing 4x4s in Coyhaique, or arranging transfers in Puerto Montt, LYS has always been easy to work with and trustworthy. Mr. Gabor is unique in understanding our needs and his fluency in English makes communicating about reservations from the USA smooth. Thank you, LYS, for all the help over the years! We are looking forward to our next trip!"
Sean Bierle, Head of School.
"During 2 months last year we made a 14000 km road trip through Chile and Argentina. It was a wonderful experience also because our jeep provided by LYS never caused us any problems. A missing stamp at the border with Argentina was solved effectively by Andres through email and direct contact with customs: we only had one hour delay and could hit the road again in Argentinean Patagonia. Also the pick-up at the airport and the accomodation during a couple of days in Santiago were well taken care of. After coming back in Santiago we had a nice meal with Andres and his wife Raquel before our departure back to Amsterdam and our house on the island of Zakynthos Greece. We will be back again in the near future for another trip on the road in this unique part of the world."
Gert Peeters and Ton Nederhoed
"Sincere thanks again for all your help and patience in organising three different car hires for us over the last 2.5 months and 30,000 kms : two from Santiago and one from Punta Arenas. All three went well especially because you made sure we had good vehicles and the right border crossing papers. Your handling of our last minute change to the type of vehicle was fuss free. Thank you also for being at the end of the phone 24/7 and for responding promptly to our emails - you were so calm when we contacted you about the parking issue at the border- truly appreciated. Your suggestions for an apartment and restaurants in Santiago were perfect as well - truly a service we would not expect from one of the multinational companies. We felt we had a friend in Chile before we even arrived!"
Kind regards, Margaret and Gary – Ireland
"I have been using Lys since 1992 on an annual basis. Twice in 2015, twice in 2016 and again twice in 2017. Whilst not always the cheapest Andres lays out the cost and what is covered precisely. No additional costs on collection or return something the car rental industry has a reputation for. I never had a opportunity to test the 24/7 service and support until my last trip. Our hire car was broken into with many electrical items stolen and the car documents. Andres acted swiftly, responsibly and was very supportive ensuring our immediate crisis was not a total disaster Andres speaks perfect English combined with a slight touch of English humour. I thoroughly recommend this company."
Roger M Ferryman
"My wife and I rented cars through LYS in 4 different locations over a 6 week visit to Chile in January-February 2017, our first time in the country. By working with Andres Gabor we could make all the arrangements through one point of contact. Throughout our trip Andres was a ready source of advice for sights, routes, and restaurants. (All of his recommendations were spot on.) Especially useful: Andres had the cars delivered and picked up wherever was most convenient for us, which meant our rentals needn't always be timed to airport arrivals and departures. In short: our trip was remarkable, Andres was a real asset, the cars met our needs, and we recommend LYS enthusiastically."