Cost related to car owning and driving

Hello,
I think I have an idea of how much used cars cost but I have no idea how much is to own and drive one.
How much is the minimum mandatory insurance for driving a car? What does that cover? Do you pay per driver or per vehicle? Do you pay more for an additional (spouse) driver? Do you pay the same for a second car? Do you pay a road tax and tolls? Can you buy a car, drive and get an insurance before getting a resident status (while being on tourist visa)?
Thank you.

RichardHol :

Hello,
I think I have an idea of how much used cars cost but I have no idea how much is to own and drive one.
How much is the minimum mandatory insurance for driving a car? What does that cover?

I can answer some of your questions. The minimum mandatory insurance is covered with your car registration each year which is called "marchamo".

My "marchamo" registration including the min. insurance runs around $150 a year for an old car (98). I believe like in the USA it runs more for newer cars but not sure how the costs are figured.

The marchamo insurance is nowhere near "full coverage" and in my opinion it's crazy not to have something close to full coverage, because I am told car theft is not uncommon and the way some people drive here, I think it's best to have your investment covered should you get in a wreck. Especially given the outrageous cost of automobiles here which run about double what they cost in the USA because of exorbitant import taxes.

My more or less full coverage for my car (in addition to marchamo which you have to pay even if you have your own private insurance which covers more) runs me about $55 a month.

I'm not 100% sure what marchamo covers, someone else will answer that hopefully.

My private insurance for $55 a month covers my car being stolen and replacement for a wreck and like the US you can choose your deductible. I think mine is around $500. This also includes a towing service should you need it.

One thing about private insurance: i hear the payment for reimbursement on theft or collision is super slow.

One example: I have a friend who had his truck stolen and it's now 8 months that he's trying to get  the reimbursement. He went in to INS the insurance office and raised holy hell about it the other day. Does no good to do so I don't think but he'd had it and had to blow off some steam and at least TRY to light a fire under them. I've heard some say it takes a year.

MORAL OF THE STORY: DRIVE DEFENSIVELY AND DO NOT GET IN A WRECK!

Oh, and forget rental car coverage unless you're rich. It's super expensive here as are renting cars, especially 4 wheel drives. So if you get in a wreck and don't get your car back for months, and have no other car, count on using a bus and/or taxi for a long time because renting a 4x4 costs like $500 a week with full coverage. It's not the car rental itself that is expensive, it's the insurance for the car rental.

RichardHol :

Do you pay per driver or per vehicle? Do you pay more for an additional (spouse) driver? Do you pay the same for a second car?

With private (additional to marchamo) insurance mine covers whoever is driving the car. I would ASSUME therefore I would not have to pay extra for my spouse to drive it. If so that would make no sense. But then again...?  (check to be sure)

Not sure about a 2nd car, I don't have one.

RichardHol :

Do you pay a road tax and tolls? Can you buy a car, drive and get an insurance before getting a resident status (while being on tourist visa)?
Thank you.

Yes there are tolls, not sure what road tax is. If there is one I guess it's included in registration or gas purchase? Someone else can answer that hopefully.

Tolls are cheap around where I live west of San Jose: about 150 colones or 30 cents for one, I think the other is a little more.

Yes you can buy a car, drive and get car insurance while not yet being a legal resident. You will have to leave every 3 months to get your ability to drive on a  foreign license "renewed" even if you are applying for residency. STUPID but true. Once you are a resident you can get a Costa Rica license.

samramon :

I'm not 100% sure what marchamo covers, someone else will answer that hopefully.

I just got rear-ended for the second time in a year.   When the INS agent arrived, I asked what the Marchamo covered and he indicated that it covered medical only.   I'm not sure what that means since most people here would have CAJA.  It's basically worthless from what I gathered.

I also pay the extra insurance of about $70 a month from INS (on a 2012 SUV) since I assume that there's a good chance that anybody who hits me will not have insurance.  Driving here is dangerous, on both a financial and life-threatening perspective.

https://www.costaricantimes.com/tag/wha … hamo-cover

https://www.costaricantimes.com/why-you … rica/46081

Google can be a wonderful tool.

SAMRAMON:
Thanks for long description.
...renting a 4x4 costs like $500 a week... it's the insurance for the car rental...
Yeah, that is what raised my worries.
BTW https://www.dollarcostarica.com is cca $600 per month for a tiny car with minimum insurance ($9 rent, $13 insurance per day). I'll go for it for the first month.

San Ramon,

Who are you using for your car insurance?  That's really inexpensive for full coverage.

- Expat Dave

CAJA will not automatically treat vehicle accidents so often the patient will be sent to a INS facility. Likewise, CAJA  does not treat a 'work related incident', so the patient will be directed to attend the nearest...which could be a long distance away...facility.

ExpatDave :

San Ramon,

Who are you using for your car insurance?  That's really inexpensive for full coverage.

- Expat Dave

Answered via private message as I do not want to recommend my insurance agent, as I have never filed a claim...

kohlerias :

CAJA will not automatically treat vehicle accidents so often the patient will be sent to a INS facility. Likewise, CAJA  does not treat a 'work related incident', so the patient will be directed to attend the nearest...which could be a long distance away...facility.

Can you expand on this?
You mean if I get in an accident near my home, I will not be sent to the local hospital and treated via my CAJA account but instead will be sent to ... where? San Jose? ... even if I'm bleeding to death? And even if I also have private car insurance that covers medical?

I've never heard anyone say this before. I believe you but can you direct me to any article with more details? Where did you get this info?

This sounds a bit crazy... but ...?

You may be first treated/stabilized at CAJA  then transferred to INS (Hospital del Trauma), if further treatment is required. Our worker was involved in a bad accident, and after the initial treatment she was required to go to INS, in San Jose.

CAJA specifies that unless in a 'dire emergency' or arrive by ambulance, you are only treated at your local facility...or if you have been referred by a specialist to another facility.
Having private coverage, one may be taken to Clínica Bíblica.

Hopefully someone else can elaborate on this.

Article this morning regarding the high cost that CAJA incurs due to traffic related accidents.

kohlerias :

Article this morning regarding the high cost that CAJA incurs due to traffic related accidents.

Thanks for the link re private medical treatment. I now realize I need to talk to my insurance guy to see if I have that or if I can get it (at what cost), and go over my policy with him to make sure I am getting the coverage I think I am.

It's no surprise to me that traffic accidents are so high here. Too many people drive poorly. It's like they truly don't know or don't care to follow any "rules of the road". I've posted about this before so won't go over it again, but truly it is dangerous to drive a lot here. if you just make local trips, not too bad, especially because you get used to the roads, know where the holes and bumps and road damage is. But when we had to drive long distances for visa/ license renewals, man, that was stressful, due to road conditions and stupid drivers.

The BIGGEST "COST  related to car owning and driving " in Costa Rica is the stress and danger and risk of getting in an accident, due to bad drivers and bad road and driving conditions, including fog and rain.

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