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How to Rent a Car in Mexico (Rental Companies, Tips & Prices)

Susan Laurent
Last Updated on
by Susan Laurent

If exploring Mexico with a steering wheel in your hands seems like a dream, then renting a car could be your ticket to an unforgettable journey.

Great! So, where do we start? How do you go about renting a car in Mexico? The thought of it may seem perplexing, but in reality, renting a car is super simple — all you need is good guidance.

This is where you’ll find all the information you need — the necessary paperwork, the best rental provider, driving laws, and safety tips.

Let’s hit the road, shall we?

In a rush? Checkout the popular car rental companies & compare prices on -> Discover Cars <-

Why Should You Rent a Car in Mexico?

The first thing you want to ask yourself is: what’s the purpose of renting a car for your Mexico trip?

For instance, if your aim is to hop from one city to another, stopping at different attractions along the way, then you may find it more convenient to rent a car. Traveling with a family or a bigger group of people also makes renting a car a good idea as it’s cheaper, safer, and more convenient than constantly paying for taxis or local transport. If you are very confident with your driving skills, have experience with navigating in a new place, and drive responsibly and cautiously, then great, renting a car is the way to go.

But if your trip primarily involves staying in one city, and especially if you’re staying in a hotel that’s in the heart of the town, next to all the attractions, marketplaces, malls, and beaches, you may not need to rent a car, as everything will be within close proximity to you.

Rent a Car in Mexico

Another thing to think about is your budget. When you include rental costs, insurance, fuel, and parking, renting a car can significantly increase the cost of your trip. If you want to keep things budget-friendly, then you might want to rethink it.

Lastly, driving a car seeks responsibility. If you’re looking forward to letting loose in Mexico, consuming alcohol, and partying, then renting a car will only put you in danger. If that’s the case, opt for reliable taxi options like Uber or DiDi.

Before making a decision, research your destination(s), think about your budget, and consider whether other transportation options might work better for you. Is renting a car still the best option? Then, let’s share the best way to do it.

What Are the Required Documents to Rent a Car in Mexico?

  • You must be at least 25 years old
  • Have a valid driver’s license written in latin alphabet (E.g English, French, Spanish, e.t.c)
  • Have a third-party vehicle liability insurance
  • Have a valid passport & ID card
  • Have a debit or credit card
  • Have a mexican personal liability insurance

How to Rent a Car in Mexico

  • Get the required documents
  • Choose a car rental company
  • Choose the type of car you want to rent
  • Pickup the car
  • Follow the local laws
  • Return the car at agreed time

1. Gather Your Documentation

To rent a car in Mexico, tourists first need to make sure they have the following documents — proof of age, a valid driver’s license, a credit card, and Mexican insurance.

Most rental companies require tourists to be at least 25 years old to rent a car in Mexico. Some may allow as low as 18; however, be aware that you’ll have to pay additional costs, known as “young driver fees.”

These fees exist because younger drivers are more likely to be inexperienced, which might result in higher insurance costs for the rental firm in the event of an accident. To compensate for this risk, they charge higher rates to younger drivers.

Your driver’s license must be current and written in the Latin alphabet (such as English, Spanish, French, etc.). If your license uses a character language, such as Chinese, you’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) — which is a multilingual translation of your license. It’s advisable to confirm what the rental company requires before your trip.

Rental companies in Mexico will ask you for your credit or debit card to withdraw funds in the event of car damage. Companies typically hold balances ranging from $1,000 to $3,000 and return the sum back to your balance once the rental agreement is over.

You can obtain your Mexican car insurance at the rental car company or purchase it online. In general, minimum coverage costs around $15 per day, whereas full coverage insurance costs around $30 per day (more on Mexican insurance down below).

2. Pick a Car Rental Company

Do you have all the documentation? Great. It’s time to choose a car rental provider. The companies we recommend have good coverage of offices throughout Mexico, a large selection of car alternatives, and offer the best deals.

Our top recommendation for car rental service in mexico is -> Discover Cars <-

Discover Cars is an online platform that collaborates with most car rental companies in mexico and allows you to compare pricing, and vehicles, and find the right service for you. Plus, the total cost includes all of the relevant expenditures, such as fees and taxes, so you won’t be surprised with additional charges when you pick up the car. If you change your mind, you have 48 hours to cancel for free.

3. Choose a Car

When you’re looking to rent a car in Mexico, the options can vary based on the rental company. Here’s a heads up on the kinds of cars you’re likely to find available:

  • Economy (the most popular one) — usually small and fuel-efficient, great for city driving and short trips
  • Compact cars — slightly larger, can handle both city and highway driving
  • Midsize — moderate size for longer trips and a bigger group
  • Full-Size — more space and comfort, great for families
  • SUBs — large size, great storage space, and can handle various terrains
  • Luxury — high-end models with advanced features
  • Vans & Minivans — ample seating and storage space, ideal for larger groups
  • Convertibles — top-down cars
  • Off-road — ideal for rugged terrain and off-road trails
  • Electric or Hybrid — the environmentally friendly option

Almost all rental companies offer cars that are automatic. The most popular models you can choose from are Nissan, Toyota, Chevrolet, Volkswagen, and Kia. It’s best if you check what types of models are available for your selected rental dates with the rental provider ahead of time and choose the one that’s right for your needs.

4. Pick up the Car

When it’s time to pick up your rental automobile, head to the rental business with all of your documentation (driver’s license, credit card, etc.).

Before you say “yes” to the car, inspect it thoroughly for scratches or dents. If you see any, notify the staff immediately so that you are not held accountable afterward. If the car is spotless, all that’s left is to sign the rental agreement. Make sure you read it thoroughly, and if anything is unclear, seek clarification from the company.

5. Follow the Local Laws

Once you’re all done with the paperwork and pleased with the condition of the car, you’ll be given the keys.

Make sure to drive responsibly and follow the Mexican driving rules and regulations, including:

  • Wearing a seatbelt
  • Obeying the speed limits
  • Never drinking and driving
  • Not interacting with your mobile device while driving
  • Driving on the right side of the road
  • Following traffic signals

These are only a few of the most important laws to remember, so do your research to ensure you don’t run into any roadblocks. Also, keep the vehicle in good shape, and call the rental company right away if you encounter any problems.

6. Returning the Car

When your Mexico adventure is winding down and it’s time to return the car, stick to the agreed drop-off date and fill up the tank to the amount specified by the rental company.

When you arrive at the rental company’s site, one of their team members will inspect the vehicle for any new damages. Assuming the car is in good condition, they’ll issue you a report confirming the return condition.

At this point, all that remains is for you to save that report for your records and say thanks for their assistance.

How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Car in Mexico?

It costs between $20/day – $50/day to rent a car in mexico. Rental prices varies by location within Mexico. For instance, renting a car in a major city or tourist hotspot may be more expensive than in less popular places.

Assume you’ve chosen the most popular model, the economy model. The cost of renting this kind of vehicle is roughly $20 per day. Remember that there may be additional expenses, such as insurance coverage. If you choose the bare minimum of insurance coverage, Third-Party Liability Insurance, plan to pay an additional $15 per day. If you opt for full coverage insurance, then it may cost you an extra $30 per day. When all costs are included, you should anticipate paying between $35 and $50 per day to rent a car in Mexico.

Still, this is a hazy calculation because there are numerous rental companies out there, each with a different set of prices.

Consider the following car rental companies:

  • Alamo
  • Avis
  • National
  • Budget
  • Sixt Car Ride
  • Mex Rent-a-Car
  • Hertz
  • Dollar
  • Europcar
  • Green Motion

Be sure to do your research on each company before making a final decision. Have a look at customers’ reviews and check their rating, find out how clean the cars are, how polite the staff is, etc.

Our top recommendation for car rental service in mexico is -> Discover Cars <-

Why Do You Need Mexican Car Insurance?

Car insurance in Mexico is not an option — it is a legal requirement. Even if you have car insurance from your home country, when renting a car in Mexico, you must purchase additional Mexican insurance, sometimes known as third-party liability insurance.

The objective of this insurance is to cover third-party injuries and property damage in the event of an accident. This insurance doesn’t cover injuries or damages to you or your rental automobile — which is very important to remember. This is only the bare minimum coverage required by Mexican law.

Documenting a Car Rental

We strongly advise choosing full insurance coverage when renting a car in Mexico. A full insurance policy covers everything from natural disasters, property and car damage, theft, and personal injury. Yes, these additional coverages may cost more, but they give comprehensive protection and let you have a worry-free driving experience while in Mexico.

Is Renting a Car in Mexico Safe?

Yes, renting a car in Mexico can be as safe as everywhere else in the world — but you should also be aware that your safety depends on how good, responsible, and conscious of a driver you are.

Plan your road trips well. This includes always having a trustworthy GPS or navigation device on hand, being on the lookout for gas stations, and parking in secure and well-lit areas, especially at night. While it’s not necessary, knowing a little bit of Spanish can also be useful, especially when interacting with local authorities or in an emergency.

Are Car Rental Scams in Mexico True?

Many tourists encounter false advertising when renting cars in Mexico (and other countries). However, these are not scams, but rather well-thought-out pricing strategies some rental companies use.

These tactics are typically used when renting a car from an online supplier. The rental firm generally displays unbelievably low rates to rent a car (like $5), which for many budget-conscious travelers may be the perfect opportunity to get a fantastic rental deal.

However, when they arrive to pick up the car, they will learn that this figure does not include crucial components such as Mexican insurance, taxes, and fees, which are legally necessary. And, after all the expenses are accounted for, customers will end up paying far more than the $5 the company initially listed as a rental price.

So, how can you navigate around this car rental pricing tactic in Mexico?

The key is to carefully study what is included in your initial rental car price offer. This is important for both renting online and on-site. Speak with the rental company and ask them to clearly list all of the expenses that are included in the actual price, as well as the additional fees (if any) that you’ll need to pay in addition to that amount. Don’t sign anything before you are 100% clear of the total cost of renting the vehicle you want.

Renting a Car in Other Mexican Cities

About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
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