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Tourists can now choose their Travel Insurance Provider

Costa Rica
Two important changes for foreign visitors traveling to Costa Rica, will result in lower costs for the new mandatory travel insurance coverage.

Several flights arrived last week from Europe, carrying the first foreign tourists since the shutdown back in March of this year. The government of Costa Rica made it mandatory to have insurance with the following stipulations, in case the tourist should require medical attention due to covid-19. Part of the treatment would require mandatory quarantine and the insurance would cover the cost of treatment and accommodations for that person.

Initially the government required that the insurance be purchased solely through the National Insurance Institute or INS. The costs of the insurance were outrageous, adding signifcantly to the costs of travel for any tourist contemplating a Costa Rican vacation this year.

Last week after receiving numerous requests to allow people to obtain insurance coverage from a broker of their choice, the government agreed to accept foreign travel insurance policies, provided they meet a specified set of requirements.

Now tourists must have certification from the policy issuer confirming:

  • The policy is valid during the visit to Costa Rica.
  • It must cover medical expenses up to $50,000 USD for cases of COVID-19 in Costa Rica
  • It includes a minimum coverage of $2,000 for expenses of extended lodging due to the pandemic.
The Costa Rica Tourism Board (ICT) is now responsible for verifying any foreign policies presented by tourists comply with the requirements. ICT staff conduct this verification step upon arrival at the airport in Costa Rica, until such time that the process can be done digitally.

Following news that foreign policies would now be accepted, the INS was able to find a way to reduce the cost of their policy to be more competitive.

Premiums vary, but a 45-year-old visiting for two weeks can expect to pay $9.40 per day (about $132 USD total) whereas the original cost was approximately $299 USD, going up to over $965 for someone over 70 years of age. INS now offers a 5% discount for families. Amazing how a little competition can bring down the costs so dramatically, in less than a week.

While tourists are still faced with increased costs due to the mandatory travel insurance, at least the costs have come down and hopefully will continue to do so, as the risks of covid-19 subsides.