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Thread: buying or renting a car on the island

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
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    Default buying or renting a car on the island

    I just arrived and I need to get a car, looking for some local advice. What brands of cars are good to have so parts are available for repairs? Is getting a car that can't navigate the park too limiting? What problems to look out for when buying? Where to buy insurance? Buying/renting from locals? It seems like there's quite a but of inventory at this point of time that people are anxious to unload when they find out I need a car, but I'm taking my time to make the best decision. Any advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    kob's Avatar
    kob is offline Bonaire Lover SUPPORTING MEMBER - Bonaire Talker
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    OK, lots of questions, but as usual ... it depends. If you are a diver, you want a pickup. Toyota Hilux pickups are the most common, but Mazda's and Chinese pickups are also quite common. Whatever brand you choose, make sure it is relatively common here so that you can get tires, batteries, etc.

    If you are not a diver, then get whatever suits you. If you plan to go into the park, you will want a truck. Otherwise there are lots of relatively inexpensive small cars available.

    You can get reasonably priced insurance, which is required to get your license plates, from MCB Bank's B-Sure division, Boogaard and others. Shop around for the best rate. You get a discount based on your number of years without a claim.

    Used cars & trucks tend to hold their value here, so your choice is to pay a fair bit for a good used vehicle or just bite the bullet and get a new one, knowing it will hold its value reasonably well if you take care of it.

    Hope this helps -- KOB.
    KOB
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  3. #3
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    Liability insurance is cheap, under $300 for roughly $83,000 minimal required coverage. Collision and comprehensive insurance is more, anywhere from $500 -$1,000 per year.

    As to renting vs owning - for me, 6-8 short 1-2 week visits a year to my own home, renting vs. owning is almost break even, but standing in line at the airport for a car sucks. Bocar is importing all electric Fiats from California - NO TAX on all electric cars = more car less money. For roughly $13,500 I have a 2014 very clean car with 30,000 miles on it that I can charge up for free off my solar installation. It's small, and I may need to rent or borrow a truck to carry anything large, but for getting around the island in the safety of a cage (vs. a scooter or motorcycle), I'm excited. I held off buying a car for over a year.

  4. #4
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    That's a huge help, thank you!

  5. #5
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    That's great information, thank you!

  6. #6
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    The car ended up costing us a bit less - had only 23,000 miles on it and brand new tires. Watch for my little orange electric Fiat, we will be back in October for the Regatta.

  7. #7
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    Nov 2017
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    ChrisL I really want to bring a Fiat 500c over when I relocate in Jan. 2018. I need to pick your brain if you don't mind. I will rent at first, so how feasible is it for a renter to use electric for this and do you have any worries about the low ground clearance? I have myself convinced that since I'n moving from NY to Bonaire that the right car for me would be a convertible. Is this practical? I am looking right now for a Fiat 500c for the expressed purpose of bringing down there. I am aware of the expense of it a car that is new to me but I believe the car is the right one for the island, until you give me a reality check lol lol.

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