Most insurance in Costa Rica is bought from the state-owned insurance company, Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS). INS handles most types of insurance. Private insurance companies are now also operating in Costa Rica, often through the same brokers as are handling INS policies.
When license plates are purchased a small amount of compulsory personal liability third-party insurance is included. An annual fee is paid each December when the license is renewed. The amount of insurance is too low to be considered effective – supplementary liability insurance is recommended. Collision, fire, theft, personal liability and property damage coverage can be purchased. When receiving quotations on car insurance the normal term is six months. Once your car is insured anyone with a valid license is permitted to drive.
Householder’s Theft Insurance
This insurance covers FORCIBLE ENTRY only. The annual premium depends upon the location and on the security of the insured premises. It is necessary to insure all items within the premises except cash, securities and jewellery, which cannot be insured. You cannot select to insure only the high-risk items.
INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros) offers medical insurance called INS MEDICAL REGIONAL. The insurance is valid throughout Central America. This plan does not cover pre-existing conditions and provides partial payment. There are limits on the amount paid per year.
CCSS plan (Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social)
This is the government medical plan to which Costa Ricans belong. Payment for every employee and resident of Costa Rica is compulsory.
- The plan covers pre-existing conditions, doctor visits, prescription drugs, examinations, hospitalization, dental and eyes.
- There is no limit on annual amounts paid by the plan.
- A doctor and clinic is assigned to the patient.
- For those under 55 years old there is a compulsory pension fund payment in the premium. Family includes spouse and dependents under the age of 18 years.
It is possible to insure the house, the house plus contents, or the contents alone. Earthquake insurance has a huge deductible. Theft coverage is expensive.
There are four classes of coverage:
- ‘A’ covers fire and lightning.
- ‘B’ covers damage from riots, disturbances, hurricane, wind, explosion, smoke, falling objects, vehicles & resulting fire.
- ‘C’ covers floods and landslides,
- ‘D’ covers earthquakes, tremors and resulting fires. C & D are sold jointly. It is possible to purchase A alone, A + B, A + CD
Householder’s Liability Insurance
As Costa Rica is not a litigious country, this coverage is not as important for the common householder. Liability settlements are very rare.
Electronic Equipment Insurance
This includes computers, faxes, telephone answering machines, photocopiers, cellular phones, etc. It covers damage caused by lightning, power surges and fire. If theft and all risks are to be included it is higher. Payment is based on straight-line depreciation over five years, so the policy is good only for newer items.
Life insurance is available in colons or US dollars. The policy is part insurance, part savings and double indemnity for accidental death.