The need for insurance is something most ticos don´t think of. There is rarely an insurance culture in the Pura Vida land. Health care is provided by the State and it is an obligation for all employers to register their employees with the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social. Car insurance is optional, and the “marchamo” (vehicle ownership and circulation tax) includes a small basic insurance on it. So, if you ask a tico about insurance, they will probably tell you it is not necessary.
However, we know insurance is a big thing for most foreigners, especially those that come from the U.S. Insurance was a government business in Costa Rica, only INS was allowed to sell insurance in the country up until 2010 when the country was forced to open up the insurance market to other companies, mostly as a result of the CAFTA negotiations. However, any insurance company that wants to do business in Costa Rica, has to be registered and approved by SUGESE, which is a government entity that oversees and regulates everything related with insurance.
In 2016 there are insurance options in Costa Rica with other companies besides INS, for example we now have Best Doctors, MAPFRE and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Yes, Blue Cross Blue Shield is now in Costa Rica, and we know what that means for most U.S. citizens living in Costa Rica.
In our research to find out more information about the different insurance options in Costa Rica, we came across El Hombre del Seguro, contact information is available at the bottom of the article. Oscar, comes from Venezuela and has over 20 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has been in Costa Rica since the insurance market opened up in 2010. El Hombre del Seguro (the Insurance Guy) sells insurance for MAPFRE, and Blue Cross Blue Shield in Costa Rica.
He mentioned that MAPFRE offers insurance for real estate, businesses, vehicles and travel/tourism insurance. On the other hand, Blue Cross Blue Shield came to the country with health insurance and life insurance. Something interesting about the Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance is that, if you are traveling from the U.S., probably your local insurance won´t cover you overseas. However, if you sign up from an insurance policy with Blue Cross Blue Shield Costa Rica, you will have international coverage for the full amount of your insured policy. Yes, you can transfer your Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance from the U.S. to Costa Rica and El Hombre del Seguro can help you with the process.
On future articles we will talk about the different insurance options available through this companies. It is great to know there are many insurance options in Costa Rica especially if you are planning on relocating in this piece of paradise.