Types of Insurance


Insurance in Costa Rica is a state monopoly. In Costa Rica, this means only the Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS) and its agents can sell insurance. Dealing with the INS directly can be very difficult, whereas agents are more customer friendly.

INS offers a wide range of insurance, both for individuals and businesses. Besides the mandatory worker’s compensation, car, home theft and fire insurances, INS also offers many optional insurances.

Accident Insurance

The accident policy covers job related accidents and leisure time accidents all around the world. Accidental death, temporal and permanent incapacity due to accidents and medical expenses due to accidents are all covered. In order to be eligible for this insurance you have to be between 15 and 60 years of age, children may be insured from age 12 to 21. You can be insured up to 70 years for an extra premium.

Student Accident Insurance (Seguro Estudiantil)

This insurance covers school children and students against any accident within Costa Rica. Accidental death, permanent incapacity and accidental medical expenses are covered. The only requisite is that the child or student is registered at an educational institution recognised by the Costa Rican Ministry of Education (MEP), National Board of Superior Education (CONESUP) or at daycares centres registered with the Ministry of Health.

Household Insurance (Seguro de Hogar)

INS offers two different household insurances, Seguro de Hogar Comprensivo and Seguro de Hogar 2000. Hogar Comprensivo offers a package of policies which initially covers your housing but which can be upgraded with insurance to covering accidents and risks of employees, personal accidents and risks and civil liability. Houses that are build of concrete and in a good state are eligible for the Hogar Comprensivo insurance policy. Seguro de Hogar 2000 covers all risks affecting your property, such as fire, earthquakes, natural disasters, airplane crashes, falling trees, loss of rent, window breaking etc. Seguro de Hogar 2000 works with levels of insurance, ranging from the basic level of insurance (A) up to the highest level of insurance (I).

Theft Insurance (Seguro contra Robo)

This insurance covers theft and burglary in your residence or business. Both your possessions and the damages are covered. In order to obtain this policy you need to provide a detailed list of your belongings and a copy of your residence card. The premises insured will be inspected by a risk evaluation team of the insurance company.

Theft of Cell Phones (Seguro contra Robo de Celulares)

This policy cover lost or theft of cell phones. The premium of the insurance is 7.25% of the value of the cell phone. That policy is only available for new GSM phones. This insurance can only be renewed once. You can insure you cell phone when you buy it or within 30 days at your nearest insurance agent. You will have to bring your proof of purchase.

Life Insurance (Seguro de Vida)

Currently INS offers six different life insurance programs. Besides death, insurance for total or partial incapacity is also offered under life insurances. The different life insurance programs are:

  • Vida Colectivo. This is a collective insurance for groups of at least 20 persons. Individuals will have to be between 15 and 65 years of age and work legally for the company or institution that buys for the insurance. If an individual is not included on the list when the insurance is issued, he/she can only be added at the annual renovation.
  • Vida Global en colones and Vida Global en dólares. This insurance also makes use of a savings account over which interest can be received. Additional options are available such as accidents, terminal illness and incapacity. As you can see, you can get it in colones or dollars. 
  • Vida Temporal en colones and Vida Temporal en dólares. It can be paid in colones or in dollars. This insurance offers the choice between coverage of 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. Minimum age is 15 years and maximum age ranges from 45 to 60 according to the length of the insurance coverage.

Car Insurance

Insurance is obtained once you purchase your license plates, but additional insurance is recommended. If your car is insured anyone with a driving license can drive it. INS offers additional car insurance. This additional car insurance is called  Seguro Voluntario de Automóviles. This insurance cover both damages caused to third parties as own damages and works with degrees of being insured, levels A and C being the basic levels of civil insurance (B is only for specific situations such as rental cars), and level H (additional risks) being the highest level of insurance.

The basic insurances cover civil damages. You need the basic coverage first to take insurances against accidents and collisions. In order to get insured against theft or additional risks you need basic and other lower levels of insurance first. INS also offers road assistance. This service is free if you are insured up till level D (collision and accidents); drive a private car of less than 3,500 kg and less than 15 years. Extras added to the car that were not placed by the manufacturer can be insured separately.

Payments for the insurance can be made on a monthly, trimester, semi-annually basis. If you decide to pay semi-annually you are allowed to pay up till ten days late after expiration. If you pay per trimester you are allowed to be 5 days late with the payment of your premium. If you pay on a monthly basis you are not allowed to be late with payments. In order to insure your car you need to show an inspection report and 4 recent photographs of the vehicle.

Credit and Debit Card Insurance (Tarjeta Segura)

The Tarjeta Segura insurance exists of a debit card insurance program and a credit card program. Both the credit card and the debit card insurance cover 90% of the expenses made with the card in case of theft and fraud for the first 3 days before the theft has been reported to the financial institution.

Travel Insurance (Seguros de Viaje)

INS offers a series of different travel insurances:

  • Viajero en Colones covers travellers travelling for a minimum of 1 week and maximum of 26 weeks inside and outside of Costa Rica. People up to 70 years of age are eligible for this insurance. People between 70 and 80 years of age have to pay an additional fee. This insurance is available for individuals and on a collective base. Issues covered are permanent incapacity, death, repatriation of the body, medical expenses. The premium is paid in Colones.
  • Viajero en Dólares covers travellers travelling for a minimum of 1 week and maximum of 26 weeks inside and outside of Costa Rica. There are six different insurance options ranging from US$ 25,000 to US$ 200,000. Additional members of the family receive a 5% discount on the premium. Own participation is 10% of all medical expenses with a minimum of US$ 50 per accident. People up to 70 years of age are eligible for this insurance.
  • Viajero con Asistencia covers travellers travelling internationally for a minimum of 1 week and maximum of 26 weeks. This insurance is available for individuals and on a collective base. It covers personal accidents such as death, partial or complete incapacity; medical expenses such as hospitalisation, ambulances and repatriation; and additional expenses such as repatriation of the body in case of death, repatriation expenses and funerals.

Further reading

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