If you drive a vehicle in the Dominican Republic, by law the vehicle should be insured. Whether this insurance really does any good or not remains to be seen. When you rent a car from an agency the car is usually insured, the policy is a minimum policy that only covers the other person and the car, not your injuries.
Another car insurance policy you might consider is a policy to protect you from being killed by the family if someone dies in an accident (No Kidding!).
If you are on a “staycation” of a “holistay” in the DR and plan on buying a vehicle for your time here, you will want to purchase insurance in order to stay legal. This is pretty important because you car or motorcycle could be impounded if you don’t have the proper papers. More likely though if you are pulled over you will need to give the police officer a hundred pesos or so whether your papers (drivers license, vehicle license, and insurance) are completely in order or not.
Insurance covers the vehicle not the driver. That means that just because you have purchased insurance for your own vehicle, that does not mean that you are covered when using someone else’s vehicle. It’s best to make sure that if you are driving someone else’s vehicle, it is covered with the proper car insurance or motorcycle insurance policy. While most people seem to purchase car insurance, not near as many purchase motorcycle insurance in the DR.
Motorcycle insurance policies are cheap and easy to come by. I bought mine at a local insurance company that sells Seguros Pepin insurance. I can’t endorse this company, I have no Idea of their reputation, it was just the company I found locally. The insurance is a basic liability insurance policy only. My motorcycle is not covered for damages and neither am I. It only covers medical for the other person, after that you are on your own. The price is pretty good though, I paid $899.00 pesos for the year (that’s about $20 USD).
Accident Death Insurance
This is an interesting policy that I have only heard of here. If you get in an accident where someone dies you automatically get taken by the police and put in jail regardless of who appeared to be at fault. The reason for this is your own protection. If a person dies the family is likely to come seeking revenge and the police are at this point protecting you until it gets straightened out and you can leave the country.
So, there is an insurance policy where if this happens you are taken by armed escort to a hotel (which is hopefully better than the jail cell) and protected by armed guards until it gets worked out. The scary part is that this insurance exists and is frequently used. This is a strong testimony that well. “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore”.
Vehicle Check Points
In the Dominican Republic you will often see Vehicle check points. Often this is 2-4 guys with military rifles on the side of the road randomly flagging people down. Usually this is just outside a populated area, often right in front of a Police Station. This can be a little unnerving the first time. Usually they are wearing some sort of military style fatigues or something sort of resembling a uniform, or at least one or two in the group will.
Often they will ask if you are carrying firearms, something that does require a license here and is occasionally checked. Often they will come up with something that is wrong although so far I have passed through without a problem in my 4-5 times being flagged down.
One time I was told I was speeding (I was on one of the few smooth, well paved freeways doing about 55-60 mph), there were no speed limit signs to indicate a lower speed and the few other cars on the road were doing about the same speed. In this case, he was very professional, checked my license and international license, wrote down the numbers and told me the correct speed. He told me that it was recorded and the next time I would get a ticket. No, problems and no indication he was looking for a few pesos and we were on our way (at a little slower rate) in about 10 minutes.
Bottom line, if you are planning on owning a vehicle in the Dominican Republic, it is good to buy car insurance or motorcycle insurance, if nothing else it insures you are completely covered at the vehicle check points and who knows, may even help if you get in an accident.