Costa Rica Auto Insurance and Coverages

The hill of death?

Accidents happen …

If you have done some driving in Costa Rica, you may have felt an “urge” to get insured (lol).  Most of our clients in the PASS service end up getting voluntary coverage, often mainly for the road side assistance which is valid nationwide.   The following information is basic information on the mandatory and voluntary insurance in Costa Rica.  What they cover and some information about costs.

Insurance – Obligatory (Marchamo)
The annual property tax and obligatory insurance is paid every December. On cars being registered for the first time in Costa Rica it is paid on a prorated basis when the car is imported. If you purchase a vehicle that already has a license plate, then the Marchamo should be valid (the sticker and marchamo document) The insurances covers a minimum amount of liability (less than $13,000 in 2017) for injuries people suffer if your vehicle is in an accident, regardless of who the driver is or whether or not the driver is at fault. They may be occupants of your auto, another vehicle, or pedestrians.
The marchamo is adjusted every year, keep in mind that the actual insurance portion is only about 17%, the rest is taxes and fees.  It is charged based on the fiscal value of the vehicle.  Lower value vehicles will pay less than $150, while most SUVs would pay $250 – $400.  Super luxury vehicles and brand new ones may pay over $1000.
Voluntary Insurance – Coverages
A guideline is that you will pay around 5% of market value every 6 months for a vehicle covered by all 6 kinds of insurance. Newer cars get lower rates, so as the price of the car goes up, this doesn’t always hold true (say over $20,000 budget)
  • Coverage A * is Personal Liability – Injuries or Death paid on damages established by the courts.
  • Coverage B which is Family Passengers – medical care for driver and family up to the 3rd degree
  • Coverage C * is Property Damage – damage to property owned by others.
  • Coverage D which is Collision – damage to your vehicle
  • Coverage F which is Theft – the insured value of the vehicle is paid, or damages to car if recovered; and
  • Coverage H which is Additional Risks. (natural disasters for example)
  • Coverage N — Deduction Exemption – this converts the C, D and F coverages to zero deductible.  The only condition is that the claim must be more than 300,000 colones.

*  These are the base coverages, you must have these before you can get any others.
These coverage designations are for the INS, other companies have similar policies — in general theft and collision may be opted out of, this will reduce the rate significantly.
Roadside assistance: may be purchased fairly cheaply as an additional coverage. You get free roadside assistance anywhere in Costa Rica. This will cover your car not starting, running out of gas, a flat tire and a tow truck. You can use it 3 times a year, plus 3 tows per year.  You call a toll free number, state your name and license plate and then the representative will ask if you need assistance or a tow. The vehicle must be less than 20 years old and less than 5000 kilograms.

Sample Insurance Premium Quote — January 2016 — The following rate was quoted to one of our clients on an SUV valued at about $12,000.


Insurance Amount

Premium 6 Months

 Coverage A: Civil Liability for injury and/or death of persons outside the vehicle. Limit per Person: ¢ 100,000,000

¢ 18,035

Limit per Accident: ¢ 200,000,000
Coverage B: Family Medical — per person in vehicle ¢ 10,000,000

¢ 380

Coverage C: Civil Liability for property damage. ¢ 50,000,000

¢ 16,426

Coverage D: Collision and/or rollover. ¢ 6,500,000

¢ 143,477

Coverage F: Theft and/or assault. ¢ 6,500,000

¢ 18,519

Coverage H: Additional Risks. ¢ 6,500,000

¢ 10,686

Coverage E: Legal Fees No fixed limit on coverage, since it is a coverage on services.

¢ 6,235

Coverage M: Roadside Assistance No fixed limit on coverage, since it is a coverage on services.

¢ 5,500

Coverage N: Deducible Exemption. Applicable on coverage(s): C D F H

¢ 69,032

Semester Subtotal

¢ 288,290

Experience Factor Discount

– ¢ 235,874 (Bonus)

 The premium can be paid for up to 6 months, or monthly, or every 3 months.  If paid for shorter terms the price is slightly higher Total Including Sales Tax

– ¢ 325,718 (Bonus)


The rates vary somewhat according to the value of the vehicle being insured, but not drastically, another client in January insured a vehicle worth about $10,000 and the semester rate was 195,000 colones (prices don’t include 13% SALES TAX)


A new policy by the INS requires that clients insuring a vehicle provide proof of the source of the funds.  This is due to anti-drug trafficking and money laundering regulations from the SUGEF (which regulates financial institutions in Costa Rica).

If the vehicle is being paid with funds from a Costa Rican bank account, this isn’t necessary.  But if the purchase is a cash transaction or international transfer then one of the following is needed:

  • Account statement showing the withdrawal.
  • Withdrawal slip from your bank.
  • A printout of a screenshot from your bank log in screen that states your name.  The account balance isn’t needed. If you can also provide a screenshot of the transaction for the specific withdrawal that is good.


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4 thoughts on “Costa Rica Auto Insurance and Coverages
  1. David says:

    Is the auto insurance quote you used as an example for six months or a year? Thank you

  2. Laura says:

    What company was this quote example from?

    • Russ Martin says:

      This from INS, the state-owned company. Since most of our clients live in rural or coastal areas, I believe they will get better service from INS. The company has more branches in outlying provinces, as well as a larger network of authorized body shops around the country. Costa Rica is a small market, so even though it’s no longer a monopoly, the companies don’t compete much on price — they try to outdo each other on coverages or service.

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