Vehicle Insurance in Costa Rica

General information on taking out an insurance policy in Costa Rica, with comprehensive details on insuring a vehicle and making a claim...

In Costa Rica, it is the vehicle that is insured, not the driver. A driver without a valid driving license is not covered in the event of an accident.

The law in Costa Rica requires that the owner of every vehicle purchases a minimum level of liability insurance for the vehicle. This insurance is billed annually as part of the vehicle's registration (Marchamo). The required policy limits are very low and additional liability and other types of insurance can be purchased through the National Insurance Institute (Instituto Nacional de Seguros - INS).

It is illegal to drive a car which does not have the Marchamo: the car can be impounded and there is a substantial fine. A car must have a valid roadworthiness certificate for the owner to pay the obligatory liability insurance and car tax. All outstanding traffic fines must also be paid before the Marchamo can be paid.

  • For information on the location of branch offices see the INS website (in Spanish)
    Tel: 2287 6000
  • To calculate the amount and to pay online: Click here

When the Marchamo has been paid, the receipt should be kept in the vehicle and the sticker should be placed in the windscreen.

Complementary Insurance

There are 15 levels of additional insurance provided by the INS.

  • For information about the different coverage provided: Click here (in Spanish)

Car insurance premiums are generally paid every six months. The amount is based on the market value of the car.

Until recently the INS had a monopoly and was the sole provider of car insurance in Costa Rica. With the passing of recent legislation, private institutions have entered the market and can sell car insurance.

Making a Claim

In the event of a road traffic accident the INS provides a number to call, and will then advise on the procedure to follow.

  • Tel: 800 800 8000