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Most insurance in Costa Rica must be bought from the state owned insurance company, Instituto Nacional de Seguros (INS). INS handles most types of insurance.


When automotive license plates are purchased a small amount of compulsory personal third party liability insurance is provided. This is paid when the plates are purchased or renewed.  It is too low to be considered effective. Supplementary insurance is highly recommended. Collision, fire, theft, personal liability and property damage coverage can be purchased from INS. 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 it. For the year 2004 approximate annual full coverage would be $1000 for a vehicle with a value of up to $10,000 and $2,000 for a vehicle with a value of up to $20,000.


This insurance covers Forcible Entry only. The annual premium is about 1¾% of the sum value of the items insured but 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 jewelry which cannot be insured. You cannot select to insure only the high-risk items.


The INS (Instituto Nacional de Seguros), a government agency, offers the following medical insurance:

  • It takes INS about three weeks to study applications for insurance.  An applicant may not pay until accepted.
  • The premium period is based annually on the calendar year.  If the first year is not a calendar year the premium will be for the remainder of the year that the insurance is in effect.
  • The ARCR policy has a maximum limit of ¢8,000,000 per year. (About $15,700 at May 1, 2007)
  • Dental work, eyeglasses and cosmetic surgery are only paid if they are needed as the result of an accident.
  • The plan does not cover pre-existing conditions, AIDS, VD, non-prescribed expenses, medical expenses resulting from cataclysmic events, injuries from fighting (except in self defense), injuries from tournament sports, martial arts, other dangerous activities or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, mental or nervous disorders, allergies, stress, and plastic surgery.
  • There is a 12-month moratorium on ailments such as glaucoma, cataracts, ENT, women’s reproductive organs, breasts, asthma, hernias, pregnancy, prostates, stones and osteoporosis.
  • Claims are based on a table rating types of treatment administered.
  • Costs vary with age and sex. The policy is available up to age 100. Applicants over the age of 69 must undergo an examination by an INS doctor.
  • 10% of the insured amount can be paid for outpatient services each year. The other 90% is for hospitalization, surgery, private room, ambulances, home care, therapy, prescriptions, etc.
  • In case of death, 50% of the insured amount is paid to the named beneficiary.
  • The plan pays 75% of prescription drugs, examinations, doctor visits, hospitalization and surgeons’ fees. If generic medicine is available it pays 70% of the patient’s medicine costs.
  • The patient is free to choose their doctor.
  • The patient must pay the bill and then fill out a claim form with their main doctor’s signature on it. In case of hospitalization only the 25% deductible needs be paid in advance provided preauthorization is received from the INS a week before the hospitalization.  If not the full amount must be paid and a claim submitted.
  • Sample annual premiums in colones for the year 2005 are:
Minors to 18 years
19 - 25
30 - 34
45 - 49
55 - 59
60 - 64
70 - 75


This is the government medical plan that most Costa Ricans have. Payment for every employee 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 out by the plan.
  • A doctor and clinic is assigned to the patient.
  • The cost through the ARCR is very reasonable - $37.00 per month for a family where the principal insured person is over 55 years of age and $58.00 per month where the principal insured is under the age of 55. For those under 55, there is a compulsory pension fund payment in the premium. Family includes spouse and dependents under the age of 18 years. Quoted prices are for the year 2004.


In Costa Rica it is advisable to be insured for earthquake as well as fire, water damage, and natural disasters. It is possible to insure the house, the house and contents, or the contents alone. The cost for a complete package in 2004 is 0.2753% of the value of the building per year.

There are four classes of coverage:

  • "A" covers fire and lightning.
  • "B" covers damage from riots, disturbances, hurricane, wind, explosion, smoke, falling objects, vehicles and 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. For example, full coverage for a $100,000 home would cost $275.30 per year.


Estimated annual premium for an average household would be $200 to $300 per year. As Costa Rica is not a litigious country, this coverage is not so important for the common householder.


This rate is up to 5% of the value of the items insured. 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.  Because payment is based on straight-line depreciation over five years, the policy is good for only newer items.


Previously life insurance was available only in colones and the devaluation factor made it impractical.  INS now has a program of life insurance in dollars. The policy is part insurance, part savings and double indemnity for accidental death. The savings portion is guaranteed to pay 4.5% interest.

All information is subject to change without notice and should be independently verified. is wholly owned and operated by MiZona Costa Rica, S.A., a Costa Rican corporation.  All Rights Reserved

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