Insurance in Costa Rica
Back in October of 1924, the National Insurance Company (INS) was created. They operated as a monopoly until 2010 when the insurance market was opened to allow for competition.
As a result, the government created SUGESE, the entity in charge of regulating and supervising the insurance industry in Costa Rica. If you need to sue an insurance company, you may contact them as they offer free legal advice to all customers.
Most insurance companies in Costa Rica are re-insured outside our country, and they normally opt for ZURICH, MAPFRE RE and China Taiping Insurance Holdings among many others.
Some of the insurance companies authorized in Costa Rica are INS, MAPFRE, BMI, Pan American Life, Seguros Lafise, ASSA, BlueCross BlueShield, Qualitas, Oceánica, and Adisa.
They offer a very good variety of products. The difference between them are the coverage, prices, deductibles and customer service.
These are some of the most common products in the market offered by them:
Liability insurance for homes or industries
Workers compensation insurance
Health and life insurance
What is the marchamo?
The marchamo is an insurance tax on your car. The marchamo funds the SOA (which stands for Seguro Obligatorio para Vehículos Automotores or Obligatory Insurance for Motor Vehicles). The objective of the SOA is to insure people who are injured in car and motor accidents. It covers only $12,000 per person per accident.
The marchamo has to be paid by December 31st of each year. The price of the marchamo will depend of the value of the car.
That is exactly the reason why it is important to purchase additional car insurance. The additional or voluntary insurance, as we call it, covers liability, collision, theft, natural disasters and road assistance.
What is the Caja?
The Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social (Costa Rican Social Security Fund) popularly known as the Caja is the national health care system. All Costa Ricans have to pay a mandatory fee to the Caja every month which means that, contrary to popular belief, it is not free. The monthly fee covers all the medical expenses in public hospitals and is also mandatory for those applying for a Costa Rican residency. The Caja serves 5 million people in Costa Rica and covers all pre-existing conditions. The main issue with the Caja is that the waiting periods for procedures can sometimes be as long as 700 days, as in the case of knee or back surgery. These kinds of problems made room for private hospitals to appear. CIMA Hospital, Clínica Bíblica, Clínica Católica or Clínica Metropolitana are some of the private hospitals currently in the market. There you can find immediate medical attention and access to high-technology resources. Those services are not cheap at all, which is why there are private health insurance options in the market.
So, basically, the opening of the insurance market was very positive as it brought more options, different kinds of coverage, and rates. Now we can decide which company to use to protect our earnings.