INS insurance in Costa Rica: Evidence is not enough

There are things Costa Rica gets really right. As an example, I often mention the compromise between its public and private health care systems.

But it also gets some things really wrong. One of those is what must happen after a traffic accident.

In Costa Rica; if you have an accident on a busy highway; you are not expected to move out of the way. The law requires you to block traffic, and for all vehicles to stay put where they are, until the police and the insurance inspector arrive. It is regular for Costa Rican highways to be backed up for miles - and at the front of it, two cars waiting for police and insurance, blocking a whole lane due to some broken plastic.

This year, I came to taste this wonderful system - or what happens if you ignore it. Check out this video:





The Volvo was under full coverage ($1,350 per year) from INS, the Costa Rican insurance monopoly. The damage was cosmetic, and would have cost around $700 to fix according to dealer. Despite the video and printed stills, INS refused to honor insurance because we did not stay put and wait for an inspector.

In this case, waiting for an agent would have required us to block the only entry and exit of a garage belonging to a busy 18 story building. But it's a good enough excuse for the insurance to not pay.

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