Thursday, 19 May 2011 00:00

This policy (INS’s “HogarSeguro 2000”) can only be used for single family dwellings: it can’t be used for commercial or industrial buildings, apartments, duplexes, etc., which must be insured with another type of policy.  The HFND policy can be used for stand-alone houses, semi-detached, or adjacent.  It can also be used for residential condos, but only condos of the type where there is a large tract of land with several houses within – not the type of condos where you have apartments stacked like pancakes.

Monday, 15 November 2010 00:00

Dear Client:

Thanks for your message. I understand your reluctance to provide, for the insurance company,  copies of your bank statements. I assure you that you are not alone with your apprehension! But I would like to explain why you are being asked to do this.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010 00:00

The first challenge to INS’s 85 year monopoly of insurance in Costa Rica came from Mapfre Costa Rica, a subsidiary of a powerful Spanish insurer with a large international presence and many years of experience.

In June 2010 Mapfre obtained authorization to sell its auto insurance policy, called “POLIZA LIDER”, which is surprisingly similar to INS’s familiar Auto policy, which we all love to hate. However, there are some differences which I will summarize here.

Monday, 16 August 2010 00:00

As my readers may remember, one of the provisions of the CAFTA agreement was that INS´s monopoly in the insurance market (since 1924) had to be broken. In July 2008 laws were changed to allow this, and in August 2008 the insurance superintendent´s office, SUGESE, was formed to oversee the entire industry. Shortly thereafter SUGESE enacted a series of regulations which establish (1) the conditions  whereby new actors in the market can become licensed, and (2) conditions for the operation of the entire insurance industry.

Monday, 22 March 2010 00:00


The old saying that “a watched kettle never boils,” certainly seems true! Following the dictates of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, the law which only allowed INS to sell insurance in Costa Rica was changed in July 2008, and since then those involved in the insurance industry have anxiously been watching the “kettle” and wondering when there is going to be competition to INS.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009 00:00

Since 2005, INS has offered an additional benefit for holders of “Hogar Seguro 2000” policies, known in English as Home Fire & Natural Disaster policies: free emergency repairs. The system was flawed, so it was not widely publicized, but it was recently revamped and we have heard several favourable reports, so now is the moment to tell my kind readers about it.

Thursday, 21 August 2008 00:00

For most types of insurance,  - Auto, Fire & Natural Disasters, etc. - the insurance Agent must eyeball whatever is being insured. This so-called inspection is a requirement for the Agent to certify that the vehicle, property or items are in good shape. It is not to appraise. INS forbids Agents to appraise anything.  And the insurance company, INS, does not appraise anything, ever, until there is a claim.

Monday, 12 May 2008 00:00
Tuesday, 23 October 2007 00:00

Theft & Vandalism. Sometimes I have had calls from clients to report that “vandals have broken into my home and stolen a bunch of stuff.”

Whoa! Thieves are thieves and vandals are vandals – the terms are not synonymous! Out comes my jolly old Webster´s Dictionary. Quote:

“THIEF: One that steals, especially secretly.”

“VANDAL: One who willfully or ignorantly mars or destroys property belonging to another or to the public.”

Monday, 13 August 2007 00:00

Unfortunately, it looks as though the World economy is going to go through some hard times, due to various factors – petroleum prices, food prices, global warming - and perhaps recession in the USA.

Friday, 13 July 2007 00:00

The medical care provided by Costa Rican Social Security (“La Caja”)is controversial: some people swear by it, other people swear about it! Following is a broad comparison of the medical protection afforded by INS and by the Caja.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007 00:00

We’ve all heard of “legal speak” and “doctors’ jargon”  - which nobody understands.  The main insurance company here, INS, has invented its own “insurance speak” and interprets common terms in a particular way, so I thought I would provide a translation of some into plain English.

Monday, 12 March 2007 00:00

In Costa Rica, most  automobile insurance policies reflect the individuality of INS, the main local (Government-owned) insurance companyy, whose policy is different from Auto policies in other parts of this planet. The thrust of this article is to highlight the differences and inform of the available types of coverage.

Monday, 12 March 2007 00:00

There seem to be more and more condo apartments springing up all over the place, particularly in the Pacific beach areas. How should they be insured?  There are three policies available, Theft, Liability, and Fire & Natural Disasters.

Tuesday, 13 June 2006 00:00

In this country most vehicles do not have insurance, but if they do, most are insured by INS, the insurer which from 1924 until 2009 had the monpoly of insurance . INS Auto insurance is different from Auto policies in other parts of this planet. The thrust of this article is to highlight those differences and to outline the  INS Auto policy.

Wednesday, 05 April 2006 00:00

Everyone has heard of “Obligatory Auto Insurance”  known by its Spanish initials, SOA.  It is not sold directly by INS or its Agents: the premium for SOA is painlessly tacked onto the Road Tax payment you make every December in order to get your windshield sticker (“marchamo”) for the following year. The SOA which is underwritten by INS, covers personal liability – in other words, it pays if you hurt, kill, or maim a third party with your car. The amount of coverage  is grossly insufficient., so I recommend you look upon SOA as another tax. And you can’t evade taxes – at least, without running the gauntlet of traffic cops who make sure that all cars have the “marchamo” on their windshields.

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The opinions and viewpoints expressed are those of the writer.For more information, please contact David Garrett at 2233 9520 or Our purpose is to give the reader a better understanding of insurance in Costa Rica.

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