Costa Rica Auto Insurance and Coverages

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)

Accidents happen …

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 2020) 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

For budgeting, the insurance premiums generally come in at between $90 and $140 per month. Most of our clients pay every six months, you may pay quarterly or monthly — but the INS charges a small fee for each additional payment you schedule. While the value of the vehicle is a factor, newer cars get lower rates. So often the rates are similar even though there is a big difference in the value of the vehicle. There are special rates for new cars and you can pay a full year, but the deductibles are very high — so it’s a good idea to compare.

A good example of Coverage H — additional risks
  • 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 2020 — 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 ¢ 21,642
Limit per Accident: ¢ 200,000,000
Coverage P: Family Medical — per person in vehicle¢ 10,000,000 ¢ 20,675
Coverage C: Civil Liability for property damage.¢ 50,000,000 ¢ 19,711
Coverage D: Collision and/or rollover.¢ 6,000,000 ¢ 124,398
Coverage F: Theft and/or assault.¢ 6,000,000 ¢ 16,227
Coverage H: Additional Risks.¢ 6,000,000 ¢ 9,265
Coverage E: Legal Fees¢ 20,000,000 ¢ 6,235
Coverage J: Personal Items ¢ 150,000¢ 5,257
Coverage K: Alternate Transport (15 days for car rental while your car is in the body shop) No fixed limit on coverage, since it is a coverage on services.¢ 26,455
Coverage M: Roadside AssistanceNo fixed limit on coverage, since it is a coverage on services. ¢ 5,500
Coverage N: Deducible Exemption.Applicable on coverage: C ¢ 9,356
 Semester Subtotal ¢ 264,721
 Discount for no claims history Experience Factor Discount – ¢ 235,874
 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 higherTotal Including 13% VAT (Value Added Tax)

¢ 296,860


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.

If you are looking to purchase a used or new car in Costa Rica, can help you with our PASS service. Click here, used car buying assistance in Costa Rica for details. Click here, New Cars in Costa Rica for information on the peculiar process.

If you would like to see information about other vehicle types and models, click here — Vehicle Makes and Models in Costa Rica — for a list of articles on our site.

Click here, General Information, for answers to the most common questions on a variety of topics regarding vehicles in Costa Rica.

Published by Russ Martin

Helping expats locate reliable used vehicles since 2006. I have lived in Costa Rica since 1994.

4 thoughts on “Costa Rica Auto Insurance and Coverages

    1. 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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