Car Renting Tips

Car renting tips

  • 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.
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