As of November 1, 2020 every visitor (including infants and children) must have an insurance policy guaranteeing up to $50k medical and $2k quarantine lodging coverage in case they they are diagnosed with Covid 19 while traveling in Costa Rica.
As of December 1, 2020 tourist visas have been limited to the number of days of travel insurance purchased instead of the usual 90 days (see extensions).
- Where to buy the cheapest accepted coverage
- Understanding the options
- How to generate the required “electronic heath pass” QR code
- What is “quarantine” insurance?
- What happens if the insurance doesn’t meet the requirements?
- When to buy insurance?
- Extra insurance for visa extensions
- Making a claim
- Full service travel planning
- Required testing – new for travelers from the U.S.
If you (like most travelers) are looking to spend the absolute minimum to meet the $50k/$2k requirement the best way is to eliminate all other optional coverage from the policy by customizing it.
While the Costa Rican INS and Sagicor policies are tailored to meet the minimum requirements the basic policies are expensive. International policies can be much cheaper but often include a lot of other coverage that inflates their cost.
For example, Trawicks basic policy includes trip cancellation insurance. They will refund you for hotels, airfare etc. if you have to miss your trip. When we were searching for insurance we found that changing the “trip price” from $2,000 to $0 decreased the cost of the policy from $238 to $57 for two people for ten days.
If you are having difficulty buying insurance for the prices you’re seeing others quoting on facebook try deleting and unselecting options.
A full travel insurance policy is recommended if you would like to have actual coverage that would pay if your trip were cancelled because of illness (Covid or other), pay for changes to airfare etc. if you are quarantined and other costs besides the absolute minimum required by immigration.
Sample Costs for a 9 day trip per person
|0 to 21 yrs||$16||$28|
Travelers with U.S. passports have uniformly reported receiving the lowest prices and best service from Trawick International. Some have paid less than $0.50 a day for longer visits but the average is about $2.00 per day. You can purchase policies (see tips on what coverage to select) directly from Trawick International or use second party price comparison sites like Insubuy.
Blue Cross is the company that we have seen most utilized by Canadians. Some travelers from Canada have used their existing Blue Cross health policies that include international coverage riders. Simply contact Blue Cross and request a letter detailing your coverage for Costa Rica travel. They are aware of the requirements.
Allianz Canada offers appropriate coverage at very good rates through Air Canada if you book airfare with them ($44 for 15 days quoted for a 40 yr old traveling to Costa Rica).
Tugo offers travel insurance in Canada and while we don’t have any direct confirmation that they provide acceptable coverage, a couple of facebook users have reported success.
NOTE: We have seen a number of posts on facebook and other sites from Canadians who have purchased insurance from Trawick. However, the coverage was rejected when they filled out the health pass form 48 hours before travel because the coverage available to Canadians from Trawick is NOT sufficient for entry into Costa Rica.
We contacted Trawick directly and their representative made it very clear stating “I am sorry, but we do not have any plans that meet the requirements for non-US Citizen travel to Costa Rica.” Canadians may be able to buy a policy but it will not work.
We’ve had reports that in France CCI offers a specialized policy at good rates. ADC is based in Germany and their customer service agents can assist you in customizing a policy that meets the requirements.
Other companies that have been mentioned are SevenCorners, Best and Cooperage Insurance but we have not been able to confirm anyone traveling with these policies.
We’ve helped a couple hundred travelers under the new requirements and so far their arrival processing has been smooth. Policies issued by the official Costa Rican travel insurance companies (INS or Sagicor) are automatically accepted. Policies from proven providers listed on this page are manually approved by agents of the Ministry of Health when the policy details are submitted with the Travel Electronic Health Pass form “48 hours prior to arrival.”
We recommend filling out the form and acquiring your QR code as early as possible to ensure you will be permitted to enter Costa Rica when you land.
Travelers who would like to submit insurance information to the Ministry of Health earlier than two days before travel can try sending an e-mail with their policy highlighting the source (who sold the policy) traveler(s) name(s), coverage dates and coverage amount to firstname.lastname@example.org. If there are problems with your policy they will try to tell you. If the policy seems okay they’ll tell you that too but remind you that it’s not official until you fill out the form.
There were some complications with the system when it was starting up but now everything appears to be no worries – Pura Vida!
One of the most common questions we get is how to get the required $2,000 of “quarantine” coverage. Many travel insurance policies include suitable coverage but almost none of them mention “quarantine” in the description. Most policies that pay for lodging in the case that you are “stuck” in Costa Rica call it something like “trip interruption insurance” or “travel delay coverage.”
For the insurance to meet Costa Rica’s requirements you simply have to make sure that the policy includes $2,000 in lodging expenses in the case that you are unavoidably delayed from leaving. This usually applies to things like strikes, weather, or natural disasters but a government mandated quarantine would qualify unless it is expressly excluded.
Technically according to immigration/health authorities you can wait until you land in Costa Rica and buy insurance in the airport arrival terminal. However, it’s more expensive than online and your airline may require you to provide proof of insurance before boarding.
Buy insurance last minute but not last second…
Especially if your trip is a couple of months away we recommend waiting to purchase your insurance a week or less before arrival for two reasons.
First, prices have only gone down.
Initially only the official Costa Rican policies were accepted and prices were outrageous; almost a thousand dollars for a retired couple visiting for two weeks. Later in November when international insurance policies were permitted the prices plummeted to around $10 per day. By December companies began to see that there were very few claims and the premiums charged were almost pure profit so competition heated up and now some are charging as little as $0.50 a day.
The second reason to hold off on purchasing insurance is that the rules will probably change. As vaccines become widely available by the middle of 2021 it may become more important to be inoculated than insured.
In the first months of the requirement we have not heard of a single traveler who has used the insurance so we can’t tell you how well it works.
We have heard a number of legitimate concerns like “does the insurance pay or do I have to pay and get reimbursed?” and, “will the insurance pay for my medical bills since I’m most likely to find out I’m infected on the last day the policy is in effect when I get tested to head home?” We don’t know the answers but in our experience insurance companies tend not to pay for things after a policy expires…
It is a given that the cheapest policies covering the absolute minimum requirement to obtain a QR code will pay out less benefits in fewer situations than full travel insurance policies costing 2-5 times more.
Some have suggested that the requirement was never intended to benefit travelers. When the insurance requirement was introduced and only Costa Rican companies charging outrageous premiums were authorized some cynics suggested that it was just a money making ploy. Now that there’s international competition for the policy dollars and prices have dropped tenfold those same cynics are suggesting the insurance is just a political maneuver to make it look like the travel industry is protecting the citizens.
We have over 60,000 members on our Costa Rica travel facebook group and page and eventually some of them will inevitably post personal experiences with claims from different companies and when they do we’ll update here.