Vehicle Insurance in Colombia

General information on taking out an insurance policy in Colombia, with comprehensive details on insuring a vehicle (options from third party to all risks) and making a claim...

Third party liability vehicle insurance is compulsory in Colombia, and is called Seguro Obligatorio de Accidentes de Tránsito, more commonly known as SOAT. It is obligatory for all vehicles driving in or transiting through Colombian territory. This insurance is primarily intended for third party victims of traffic accidents - drivers, passengers and/or pedestrians.

SOAT covers the transfer of the injured person from the scene of the accident to the nearest health center and also covers the initial emergency medical costs. In the event of a death, it covers compensation to the victim’s family.

All clinics and hospitals, regardless of whether they are public or private, are obliged to provide medical care through the SOAT. The organization responsible for supervising the implementation of this service is the Superintendencia Nacional de Salud.

The cover provided by the SOAT in the event of a traffic accident is as follows:

  • Medical and surgical expenses, up to the amount of 800 minimum statutory monthly wages
  • For permanent disability, up to  $3.4 million.
  • In the event of a death, 600 minimum statutory monthly wages, plus $2.8 million in funeral expenses

The cost of this insurance depends on the make, model and year of the car

Additional Vehicle Insurance

Additional, comprehensive vehicle insurance is voluntary and covers the owner and the vehicle in the event of an accident, theft of parts and vandalism, theft of the vehicle, causing damage to third party property, and causing injury or death to a third party. Depending on the type of insurance policy taken out, the driver may also be covered for legal costs.

Each car insurance policy provides basic coverage and some additional levels of cover, these will depend on the plan chosen by the insured according to their needs, for example:

  • Civil liability (Amparo Basico)
  • Optional cover (Amparos Opcionales) - comprehensive cover in the event of an accident, and damage or destruction of the vehicle
  • Cover in the event of theft or natural disaster
  • Breakdown assistance.

Many insurance companies may also provide a replacement car if the vehicle is in a garage for repair following an accident.

Insuring a Foreign Car

If visiting or transiting through Colombia by car, SOAT insurance must be purchased. It can be obtained from one of the Previsora Seguros offices.

When importing a car it may be difficult to get car insurance if the vehicle is more than 15 years old. However, some companies may insure older vehicles that are vintage or classic cars.

Some companies will only insure cars that have been imported to the country through a dealership.

Making a Claim

In the event of an accident, the Traffic Police should be contacted. They will provide an accident report to be given to the insurance company.

Most insurance companies have a call center which the insured person can contact to declare a road traffic accident. The following documents are generally required before the company will make any payments in the event of damage to a vehicle:

  • Photocopy of the vehicle registration documents
  • Photocopy of the SOAT insurance
  • Photocopy of the ID of the driver and the insured
  • Photocopy of the driving license of the person driving the vehicle at the time of the accident
  • Photocopy of the accident report and any other relevant information (photographs, contact details of witnesses)

Depending on the situation, other documents will be required, for example the original invoice (factura) if the vehicle is completely destroyed. When declaring the accident to the call center, the insurance company will be able to advise on the exact documents that must be presented.