Question: Is car insurance required in Puerto Rico?
Answer: There is Seguro de Responsabilidad Obligatorio (Compulsory Liability Insurance also referred to by some as CLI) for motor vehicles in Puerto Rico.
The Puerto Rico Motor Vehicle Compulsory Liability Insurance Law is what is considered no-fault insurance in the States and requires that all motor vehicles using the Puerto Rico public highways have a liability insurance coverage of not less than $3,000.
All motor vehicles are required to have Medical Liability insurance as well, which is comparable to a no-fault state's Personal Injury Protection (PIP). This insurance in PR is known as ACAA (Agency for the Compensation of Automobile Accidents). The ACAA is a private corporation that provides compensation for the medical and disability expenses resulting from traffic accidents so the coverage is referred to as ACAA. The coverage offered by the corporation is mandatory, but private insurance companies are allowed to provide supplemental policies.
So the ACAA is a compulsory insurance program that covers personal injuries, illness, dismemberment or death resulting from an automobile accident. The CLI differs from the ACAA in that the CLI covers damages your vehicle may cause to vehicles of third parties resulting from an automobile accident, thus is like Property Damage Liability in the States.
If your vehicle is registered in Puerto Rico, the CLI premium ($99 for private passenger vehicle and $148 for commercial vehicle) will be included in your annual registration fee. All persons will comply with the law when obtaining a motor vehicle license for the first time and upon renewal of registration thereafter. It is our understanding that many insurance companies will provide a discount on the coverage premium when you inform them that you have already obtained $3,000 Liability coverage through registering your car in Puerto Rico. You must comply with the CLI even if your vehicle is not registered in Puerto Rico and retains out-of-state license plates but is used in PR.
To comply with the CLI you can obtain liability insurance coverage of at least $3,000 from your insurance company if the company is licensed to do business in Puerto Rico. A second option is to obtain your compulsory liability insurance coverage from any authorized private insurer in Puerto Rico, or from the Joint Underwriters Association (JUA).
Driving a car without the proper insurance in Puerto Rico is a misdemeanor punishable with a fine of $500. In addition, other fines may be assessed for an expired registration, no ACAA, and no inspection, if applicable. If you are in an accident and are uninsured PR law requires a court to assess the costs of damages you caused and will be personally responsible to pay for.