Costa Rican law requires the owner of every vehicle to have a minimum level of liability insurance. This insurance is paid annually as part of the vehicle registration (Marshamo).Driving without the Marchamo brand is illegal. In this case, the car can be confiscated and a substantial fine is imposed. The car must have a valid roadworthiness certificate in order for the owner to pay the compulsory liability insurance and car tax. Moreover, all outstanding traffic fines must also be paid before being paid to Marchamo.
INS offers a toll-free number that you can call in case of emergency 800-800-8000.
However, INS liability insurance (called marchamo) is provided by law but provides only minimal coverage. The cost of car insurance in Costa Rica is quite comparable to rates in North America, and many locals refuse to insure their cars.
INS is a monopoly in the auto insurance market. The rates depend on the type of vehicle and the driver’s experience. That being said, car insurance covers the car no matter who is driving, and the plans offer different types of coverage, from liability, theft, fire and flood coverage to full coverage.
INS’s full coverage plan includes hospital visits in the event of a car accident. This is true even if the victim does not have medical insurance and a set amount of free towing or assistance in case you locked the keys in the car.
In order to register, you must visit the INS office and take photos of your vehicle for storage. If you miss a payment through INS, your policy will be automatically canceled and you will have to update it at the office by taking new photos.