Why to Get Travel Insurance When Visiting Costa Rica

Many people are unsure why they need travel insurance for their trip to Costa Rica. In this post, we’ll explain why travel insurance is a good idea both to protect your investment and for medical coverage. To give you some context, we’ll share the experience of a friend of ours who needed medical attention on his trip. We’ll also give a couple of options for travel insurance companies.

Disclaimer: We are not experts in travel insurance so be sure to do your own research and read the full policy details before making a purchase to decide if a particular plan is right for you.

Travel Insurance Costa Rica Vacation

Why Should You Get Travel Insurance?

Reimbursement for Non-refundable Trip Costs

When you plan a trip to Costa Rica, you will have made reservations for flights and hotels/Airbnbs in advance and most likely for transportation and activities too.

Many of these expenses will be non-refundable after a certain date. So, if you needed to cancel your trip because of sickness, injury, etc., you would lose that money. Travel insurance helps cover these kinds of non-refundable expenses. It also kicks in if you need to end your trip early.

Medical Coverage

The other very important part of travel insurance is medical coverage.

Many people do not realize this, but once you leave your home country, usually your insurance doesn’t cover you abroad.

This means that if you got hurt or sick during your visit to Costa Rica, you would need to pay for medical treatment out of pocket. Most hospitals in Costa Rica require you to put a credit card down in advance to guarantee payment before they will even treat you (for anything major).

Although medical care in Costa Rica is a lot more affordable than in some countries like the United States, it can still add up.

Clinic Playas del Coco
A private clinic in Playas del Coco

Our Friend’s Experience Getting Hurt and Needing Medical Care

We have always recommended travel insurance to people we help book tours and transportation for, but it was only recently that we were inspired to write this article after one of our friends got hurt on a trip.

Our friends from the United States (a family) visited the Jaco area recently. Everything was going great until one of them (one of the adults) fell during a hike. He fell from quite high up and ended up rupturing his lung because of the impact of the fall. Keep in mind that this was not a difficult hike, just a fluke accident.

He went to a small private medical clinic in Jaco, where they did an X-ray and provided immediate care. They determined that he needed to be transferred to San Jose right away to a facility that could perform a specialized surgery. He went by ambulance and stayed at a private hospital in San Jose for three days.

Ambulance Jaco

Although he was feeling much better by the time he was discharged, he couldn’t fly yet because of his lung. It needed more time to heal. Normally this would mean staying somewhere short term, like an Airbnb or hotel, which would have additional costs, but luckily, he could stay with us.

Doctors continued to monitor his lung with more follow-up X-rays leading up to his scheduled flight. He had to change his flight once more since his lung still wasn’t ready. Finally, he was able to leave about 10 days after his original flight date.

All in all, the accident ended up costing him about $15,000 (USD). The ambulance ride alone was $1,500!

He is back in the United States now and recovering well. But unfortunately, they didn’t get travel insurance, so it was quite costly.

Travel Insurance Options

There are a lot of options for travel insurance. Usually it’s very affordable, and totally worth the peace of mind in our opinion.

Here are a couple of companies that we recommend and some key information about their plans.

You can get quotes using the links below. The premium price is based on your trip cost, age, and some other factors as well.

*Note: If you purchase an insurance policy through the links below, we earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. We would recommend getting travel insurance even if we didn’t earn a commission. Thank you for supporting our site!

Travelex

Overview

Travelex Insurance Services is a major insurance company in the United States. Their Travel Select plan for Costa Rica is underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway, who we have used ourselves in the past.

The Travel Select plan covers US residents only.

It covers trips up to $50,000 in value.

To give an idea of the cost, we entered our family’s information (2 adults, 2 children under 10 years old) to get a quote. The premium was $330 for an 8-day trip in 2023. Trip value of $10,000.

Coverage

The Travelex Travel Select plan covers:

  • Trip cancellation before you leave for medical or other specified unforeseen reasons – 100% of trip cost up to $50,000 total
  • Trip interruption, like if you have to leave suddenly during your trip because of injury, sickness, etc. – up to 150% of trip cost (up to a maximum of $75,000 total)
  • Trip delays of at least 5 hours – up to $2,000 per person
  • Missed connections – up to $750 per person
  • Lost, damaged, or stolen bags – up to $1,000 per person
  • Medical expenses, including doctors’ fees, hospital charges, X-rays, and ambulance services – up to $50,000 per person
  • Emergency evacuation expenses – up to $500,000 per person

This is just a summary. Be sure to read the full coverage details before purchasing. These are available when you get a quote.

Travel Insurance form

Trawick

Overview

Trawick International is another good option. Their Safe Travels Voyager plan is a little more robust if you’re looking for more coverage. They cover trips up to $100,000 in value. Medical coverage is up to $250,000 per person and medical evacuation is up to $1,000,000 per person.

Their plans are usually more expensive. Using the same parameters for our family that we used when getting a quote for Travelex, the Trawick plan was $593 for an 8-day trip valued at $10,000. Still, a fraction of what our friend had to pay without any insurance.

Coverage

Trawick’s Safe Travels Voyager plan covers:

  • Trip cancellation for medical or other specified unforeseen reasons – 100% of trip cost up to $100,000 total
  • Trip interruption, like if you have to leave suddenly during your trip because of injury, sickness, etc. – up to 150% of the trip cost up to $150,000 total
  • Trip delays of at least 6 hours – up to $3,000 ($250 per day)
  • Missed connections – up to $1,000 per person
  • Lost, damaged, or stolen bags – up to $2,500 per person
  • Medical expenses – up to $250,000 per person
  • Emergency medical evacuation – up to $1,000,000 per person

With the Trawick plan, you can add additional medical coverage as well. You also can pay extra to cancel for any reason.

For non-US residents, Trawick has the Safe Travels International and Safe Travels International Cost Saver plans. 

Conclusion

Although travel insurance adds some expense to your trip to Costa Rica, the benefits far outweigh the cost in our opinion. If you had to cancel your trip, you would no doubt be out at least a few thousand dollars. And if you unexpectedly needed medical care, it could be very costly and stressful if you didn’t have any coverage.

Have a question about travel insurance for Costa Rica? Ask us below.

Looking for more information to plan your trip? Check out these posts:

Packing for Costa Rica: The Essentials – Learn what to pack for where you will be visiting and some key items you’ll definitely want to have.

Using ATMs and Credit Cards in Costa Rica: Do most businesses in Costa Rica accept credit cards? How easy is it to find ATMs? This post answers these questions and more.

Getting a SIM Card for Travel to Costa Rica: If you’d like to get a local SIM card for your phone, check out this post.

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