Hints for renting a car

For those who would like to travel through Mexico with a rental car, we have compiled some information on renting a rental car here. Of course, this information is no substitute for inquiring about the rental conditions of the individual car rental companies. There is an article about driving in the section Everyday life in Mexico – Driving – Refueling – Parking.

Age of the driver

The registered main driver must be 21 years old and have held a valid driver's license for at least one year. Drivers under 25 years of age and over 70 years of age are subject to an additional fee.

These regulations also apply to the registered additional driver. It should also be noted that with some car rental companies an additional driver over 25 years of age is included in the rental price, and with others an additional driver generally costs an extra charge.

All drivers must be registered in the rental contract.

Documents at the reception of the car

The following documents should be presented at the rental car station:

  • Passport of the main driver and all additional drivers
  • Valid driver's license of the main driver and all additional drivers
  • Valid credit card issued in the name of the main rider
  • a copy of the voucher, if the rental car was reserved in Germany, also the voucher must be made out to the main driver

Driving license

A valid national driver's license is sufficient to rent a rental car. An international driver's license is not required. It is recommended to have an international driver's license with you to facilitate police checks.

Credit card and deposit

In general, only credit cards (MasterCard or Visa) are accepted as means of payment.

A deposit is charged to the credit card as security when you pick up the vehicle. As a rule, the corresponding amount is blocked on the credit card and not debited. If the car is returned undamaged, then the amount will be released again.

The blocked amount includes the costs for the deductible in case of damage (depending on the amount of the deductible also only a share) and one tank of fuel. Additional costs for extra equipment or further services purchased at the rental station are debited immediately.

Regulations for refueling

There are different regulations for filling up the tank, you should pay attention to these in the rental contract, so that no additional costs arise. Otherwise, in addition to the cost of filling the tank, there is also a fee for the refueling service. The possible regulations are:

  • The rental car is handed over with a full or half-full tank and must also be returned with a half-full or full tank.
  • The rental car is handed over with a full tank of gas, you pay for this tank of gas when you pick up the car and return the car with an empty tank of gas.

Generally, there is no refund for unused gasoline.

Driving restrictions

With the rental vehicles it is not allowed to leave the country, z.B. to Belize or Guatemala. There is an exception when crossing the border to the U.S. For this purpose, it is necessary to obtain a permit from the rental station and to take out additional liability insurance.

Several cities in Mexico, including Mexico City, require a special certificate called a "tarjeta de circulacion" (something like ASU in Germany). This certificate confirms that the vehicle meets the emission standards and is approved for urban traffic. With the vehicle takeover one should pay attention to the fact that it is present in the documents or lies in the glove compartment. Otherwise, you have to expect that you have to pay a fee to the officer in case of a police check (e.g.

In addition, Mexico City has an anti-pollution program. Depending on the final digit of the license plate there is a driving ban one day a week. More details in our article Everyday life in Mexico – Driving – Refueling – Parking.

No mileage limit

Especially for a round trip it is recommended to choose a tariff with unlimited kilometers instead of a kilometer limit. So there are no additional costs for returning the car.

Rental stations and opening hours

Car rental agencies are present at all international airports in Mexico. In the airport buildings there are appropriate counters of the individual car rental companies and the employees organize a shuttle service to the parking lot resp. to the field office.

Opening hours at airports are based on flight schedules. In Mexico City the counters are open 24 hours, at smaller airports they are closed at night.

When drawing up the lease agreement should be a little patience. Rarely is everything already prepared. The employee first enters all the data into his system, even if it is already available and of course wants to sell additional services.

Rental and return

Usually the rental station is also the return station. If the rental car is to be returned at another location, additional fees are incurred, the so-called one-way fee. These fees are already payable when you pick up the rental car.

A rental day is 24 hours, which means that if you pick up a car at 10 o'clock in the morning, you have to return it at 10 o'clock in the morning on the day you drop it off. Often a goodwill period is also granted, but this is at the discretion of the respective car rental company. If returned too late, a daily rate will be charged according to the local rate.

Additional equipment

Additional accessories such as child seats, navigation systems or luggage racks can be booked through online portals or directly at the rental station. Generally, payment is made on the spot, with taxes due in addition to the rental cost.

It is recommended to book the additional equipment already from Germany, so that it is also available at the rental station.

Navigation devices are usually very expensive to rent (approx. 10USD/day) and also the actuality of the map material is not always guaranteed. If you have enough room in your suitcase and have a mobile navigation device, you can take your device with you. In Germany you can already check if it has maps for Mexico and if necessary buy the maps or update them.

Another consideration is to buy a less expensive GPS app for your smartphone that can be used offline as well. More details in our article Apps – road traffic and navigation

Insurance – when renting from Germany

Fully comprehensive insurance

If you rent the car from Germany, we recommend you to take out a fully comprehensive insurance with or without excess, which covers damages to tires, glass and underbody.

On the one hand, speed bumps are very common. They serve to reduce speed, but can be overlooked very quickly. On the other hand, in remote areas, there are also unpaved roads where there can be a rockfall.

Theft and burglary protection

In addition, theft and burglary protection – with or without a deductible – is also recommended, especially if you are planning a round trip and are staying outside the tourist centers. Not only the car, also things in the car, like cameras or bags are lucrative.

Car liability insurance

According to the legal regulations, a motor vehicle liability insurance – with or without deductible – must be taken out. The coverage amounts depend on the legal regulations of the respective country and in Mexico it amounts to 750.000 MXN on personal injury and 750.000 MXN on property damage (equivalent to approx. 37.500 €).

In the event of damage, the vehicle liability insurance included in the rental price rarely covers the amount of damage. First of all, you should read the terms and conditions of the car rental company to find out how high the coverage amounts of the liability insurance included in it are. Otherwise, it should be considered whether to take out additional liability insurance.

Additional insurances

Additional insurances can be booked on site at the rental station. These include passenger protection and accident insurance.

Insurance – when renting in Mexico

If you want to rent a car directly in Mexico from a car rental company, please note that different rates apply for foreigners than for locals (unless you have a Resident>

It can happen that a basic tariff, which includes liability and comprehensive insurance, is not bookable for foreigners, but that further insurances, such as accident or breakdown cover, have to be taken out.

Liability insurance included in credit cards is not accepted in Mexico, nor is third-party liability insurance, z.B. via travel websites, were concluded.

data when renting through car rental portals

In addition to the personal data (name, address, email address), the age of the main driver must be indicated, as it will be listed on the voucher. Additional drivers are usually added only at the pick-up station, where the additional costs are also to be paid.

Furthermore it is asked for the flight number. This is so that the employee of the car rental company knows the arrival or a possible flight delay in order to reserve the rental car accordingly.