Posted on 5/1/2018

Travel Insurance for Costa Rica: Do You Need It?

No credits, no refunds, no substitutions. That's the standard line in travel – and one that, unfortunately, mostly applies to Costa Rica. As with airfare, event tickets, prepaid hotel reservations, and other travel-related expenses, most, if not all of your Costa Rica vacation reservations are non-refundable. So, in a word – yes, you should absolutely purchase travel insurance for Costa Rica.

What Is Travel Insurance for Costa Rica?

Travel insurance, sometimes called trip insurance, is a simple-but-comprehensive insurance policy that provides financial protection before, during and after your vacation. (Note: Don't confuse travel insurance with travel health insurance; they're two very different things!) Knock wood, but if something were to happen – illness, travel delays, inclement weather, etc. – to interrupt, disrupt, or influence your trip, your travel insurance covers your losses. Standard benefits extend to recouping trip expenses and covering medical emergencies, lost luggage, and other unexpected events. So, why do we recommend travel insurance for Costa Rica trips? Well, back to that bit about nonrefundable prepayments...

Remember: Reservations are Prepaid

Most, perhaps all of your reservations – your Tamarindo vacation rental, activities, equipment rentals, airport transportation, rental car, etc. – will be fully prepaid, before you arrive. And that means, if you miss your flight, or get sick, or fill-in-the-blank, you won't receive refunds for missed reservations: unslept nights at your vacation rental, airport shuttles not caught, surfboards not surfed, ziplines not zipped – all those much-awaited activities and fun, missed due to snow that grounds your flight, or a last-minute bout of strep throat, or a missed connection at the airport. And, lest Costa Rica's general non-refundable policy strike you as greedy, consider this: If you don't show for your one-on-one surf lesson, or your unique oceanfront vacation home, or your private airport chauffeur, chances are the provider won't be able to fill your spot at the last minute; they would be out their time and investment, too. And that's where travel insurance comes into play.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

The answer to this question will always come down to the specific travel insurance policy that you purchase. That said, travel insurance typically protects you against:
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption due to Illness: If you need to cancel your trip due to unforeseen circumstances, such as sickness or the death of a loved one, travel insurance typically reimburses the entire prepaid cost of your trip, including airfare. This may also apply to illness in your travel companions.
  • Trip Cancellation/Interruption due to Other Circumstances: Most travel insurance will cover other circumstances that cancel or delay your trip, for example, home burglary within a certain timeframe of your vacation.
  • Service Non-Delivery: If a service provider is unable to deliver a prepaid service – for example, if a snorkeling tour is canceled due to boat malfunction – and, due to bankruptcy or other circumstances, does not refund your payment, then trip insurance will cover it. (Note: If you booked through us, our concierge Cris will work to secure refunds and/or rebookings for you. You shouldn't need this piece of travel insurance, but it's good that it's there!)
  • Lost or Delayed Baggage: This is no fun but at least you'll know, if you need to grab new supplies due to lost luggage, you're covered!
  • Lost or Stolen Goods: If the worst happens and, for example, you lose your newly acquired DSLR during your travels, insurance will reimburse you.
  • Expenses due to Illness: Depending on your travel insurance, it may cover emergency evacuation, trip cancellation due to illness (while on your trip), and other health-related factors.
In other words, stuff happens. Life happens. Travel insurance offers a comparatively low-cost way to hedge your bets. Yes, low-cost. Travel insurance typically costs anywhere from 0.25% to 1% of your total trip cost. (So, for example, $100-$400 on a $4,000 trip.) The long and the short of it: If you're planning a trip, we recommend you purchase travel insurance for Costa Rica. The provider is up to you. Coverage is up to you. Weigh the cost vs. coverage, and choose the policy that's best for you and your vacation.
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