The Dominican Republic has the worst drivers in the world! There are more deaths per capita related to motor vehicles accidents than any other country in the world. That's the sad and ugly truth about the Dominican Republic. It's not a matter of IF you get into an auto accident, it's WHEN!
The Dominican Republic has the worst drivers in the world! There are more deaths per capita related to motor vehicles accidents than any other country in the world.
So, needless to say, you're going to need auto insurance if you drive here. Unfortunately, what you are used to as auto insurance, is not necessarily the same as Dominican auto insurance. You see, everything is just a little bit different here in the Dominican Republic.
First the GOOD NEW! You can get auto insurance and it's basically CHEAP! (Well compared to the prices you would be paying in North America).
What's the catch? How did I know you would be asking that?
But it's actually either better or worse than that, depending on how you look at things. The price you pay for your car insurance is determined by the value of your vehicle. It has nothing to do with your driving habits.
So is this good or is this bad? Well, if your an alcoholic, and get in 3-4 auto accidents per year, this is GREAT NEWS!
Because your insurance rates will be the same as the person who has never got in a single accident in the last 50 years!
Remember, it”s not IF you will get into an accident, it”s WHEN.
I dont care how good of a driver you are, you cannot avoid the drunk guy on the motorcycle, driving on the wrong side of the street AT NIGHT, dressed in black, with no tail lights or headlights.
So once you wreck your car, you'll probably have to get your car towed and report the incident to your auto insurance company. They will seem very sympathetic and make all sorts of promises to you.
"Oh, we are so sorry, but you're in good hands", sound familiar?
It's not as bad as it seems, we'll get this taken care of right away and you'll have your vehicle back in no time”.
Haha! Check back in a few months.
If an insurance company needs to order a part for your vehicle from the USA, Japan, or China, it's going to take even longer. I've personally had to wait 6 months for the insurance company to order the correct parts.
You see, if you order a body part from China (or even the USA for that matter), the shipping cost could vary between $400 and $50. Why would an insurance company opt to pay $400 to send they part via plane, when it's just as efficient (for them) to order it by boat? So it takes an extra week or month! Who cares?
You may be sent to the local police department to get an accident report. Hahaha! You've heard of “Protect and Serve”?
Well in the Dominican Republic the purpose of the police is to “Steal and Intimidate”! These people are worse than useless! You'd be better off finding the local drug dealer to help you out instead of the local police. Oh wait, it”s kind of the same thing.
Anyways, you're going to get the run-around. They ain't going to do nothing for you unless you pay them off! The amount you pay is determined by two factors.
And dont expect this to happen in one trip. You”ll be making multiple trips back and forth to get the cooperation from these wonderful people.
Oh, what a shock! You'll hear things like “your car will be ready next week”. Which really means “Give it 2 or 3 more months”.
Or they'll say things like “all the parts have been ordered and they'll start working on your car Monday”.
Translation “what an idiot, I haven't ordered a thing and it's my lunch time right now“.
And here”s the best one.
“Yes Mr Customer, we know it's been 4 months since your car got wrecked and you submitted your claim. I'm sorry we've done nothing, but your insurance premium is now due“!
I'm glad you asked! Unfortunately, I dont have a great answer for you. If you live here in Punta Cana, or specifically the Dominican Republic, iyou are bound by the rules and culture of the people here.
If you shop around, you can find higher priced insurance as well as lower priced insurance. The different, however, is miniscule. Generally if you pay more, the company will guarantee you a rental car for 15 days while your vehicle is being repaired. If you pay less, you might only get a rental car for 10 days.
In the end, the point is really mute. Suck it up and accept it! It”s going to take months to have your car repaired! So the different between 10 and 15 days is really pointless.
I also find it somewhat annoying that even during those 10 to 15 days that you get a rental car your insurance company will not insure it! You can expect to pay $30-$60 dollars per day EXTRA to insure your FREE RENTAL CAR!
I hope you have better luck than me. I”ve carried insurance with a few of these carriers. Each time they suck and I move on to another insurance company hoping to find something better. So far, no luck. But for your enjoyment, here is a list of local Dominican Insurance Companies.
Posted by Juan E. Jimenez, Jr.June 13, 2015
Could you tell me the name, address, mailing address, telephone and owner’s name, of the five leading and reputable auto body repair shops and auto mechanic shops in the Dominican Republic. If it’s to the shop’s best interest to deliver completed repairs AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. TO COLLECT AS FAST AS POSSIBLE, Why would COLLISION AND MECHANIC REPAIR TAKE SO LONg?
We would ship vehicles from San Jua, aboard bi-weekly ferry service, with all required parts accompanying vehicles, unless local DR availability is priorly confirmed. We will not deal at all with DR car insurance companies. Key to project success is “quick turn around” of repair work. That is why we would deal with three shops. There would penalties for delays and bonus paymnemt for quick, quality work. All work would be inspected and approved by our inspector before leaving the DR back to PR. We are talking big monthly volume. Pls respond by mail to: 40 Nouvelle Way-Unit N145; Natick, Mass. 01760
Posted by KenAugust 18, 2015
There is no mail in the Dominican Republic, thus there are no addresses. The majority of business owners do not answer email, and only occasionally answer their phone. In over 7 years here, I have never found anything remotely akin to reputable. It is not in the shop’s best interest to deliver completed repairs as fast as possible. In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Let me give you an example:
Let’s say I own a body shop. I will pay my employee’s the equivalent of about $15USD per day. They will make that money whether they do a good job or a bad job. If they are poor employees and do poor work, you would assume I would fire them. But if I fire them, the government will make me continue to pay their full salary for 1/2 the time they worked here. So they have no incentive to work better, and I am punished if I fire them.
In this country you pay for everything upfront. If you want your car repaired, you pay for it FIRST, then hope they do a good job. It is very rare, than anyone in any industry will do any type of work without first being paid. The logic is that they know the work they are performing is sub-standard. So if they dont get the money upfront, they may never see it. Since they are being paid first, there is no incentive to do good work.
The majority of vehicles being repaired are being paid by the insurance company. So they work for the insurance companies best interest and not yours. It’s in the best interest of the insurance company to save the most money. So they get the worst service, and worst labor possible. They cut corners, never order OEM parts, and as a consumer you have no recourse. There is no consumer rights advocates or consumer related laws here.
Posted by MattFebruary 18, 2017
I had to laugh when I read this. Having spent much time in the D.R can totally vouch for the ridiculous practices in the Country. I will likely be relinquishing my interests there because I see very little hope for improvement. My question to you is why do you bother? There are many spectacular tropical environments on earth with much lees difficulty.
Posted by Mark FoxMarch 14, 2017
I am considering moving to Punta Cana to begin my retirement. In doing some research on various aspects of what to expect if I should decide to move here on a more perminent basis, I came across your site. I have a strong feling that you are a font of information. I also respect the fact that you tell it like it is so to speak. My email is listed above as required. Please send me an email so that I can contact you directly. I would like to meet and discuss some things with you. I would be willing to pay you a consultant fee for your time. That seems only fair. I am here unil May 15 and am renting a beachfront 2/2 currently. I’m from Chicago and have lived in the cold and snow my whole life. I’m serious about this and would greatly appreciate a responce.
In the meantime, have a great day,
Posted by JoeyMay 5, 2017
Whydo you live in the DR??? Get outta my country and criticize your own… you dont get to be here and we dont have to take anything from foreigners… Please go to your own country
Posted by Fuck YouFebruary 5, 2018
Go fuck yourself and your country. Fucking piece of shit, without us with brains and money your shithole country would be even more shittier.
Posted by Christopher CianiculloNovember 24, 2018
Your country is full of corruption,from police to whores to the local store,they victimize everyone including there own family’s,how can you tell foreigners who build your economy through tourism you don’t need them,your a typical Dominican.
Posted by CarloJune 16, 2017
So out to lunch. Very little facts and so much emotion. Find someone who clearly can manage the DR better to help you out.
Posted by KevinNovember 23, 2018
Obviously things are tough in the Punta Cana area. I’m on the north coast, and when a motorcyclist tried to park in my back seat, I had my vehicle repaired, using OEM parts, in a shop that would compete well anywhere in Canada or the US for workmanship (the owner is a rather demanding German) in less than the 20 days covered by my insurance.
You are right about the rental car insurance, but other than that, and the stupidity that I had to fix my own vehicle, it was no different than a similar repair would have been at home (and there I used to sell to body shops and knew the owners)
I suspect you generally struggle with many issues here in the DR from the tone of your email. Some people learn how to function within the culture and do fine, some people don’t. I used to fight and want people to respond like they did at home. Didn’t work so well. Then I learned this country is different, adjusted, and I have few problems. Dominicans will punish you if you do it wrong!
Posted by TonyMarch 21, 2018
Thank you. I needed to know this. I’m familiar with the Dominican Republic and no surprises here. Based on my experience, particularly in the country side, apparently the law requires that in order to operate a vehicle after dark you must be drunk.
Posted by CAugust 15, 2018
Because I am not Sherlock Holmes and do not know much about cars I could not buy a decent and recent used one but only a small cherry red Kia brand new for a price that left me with 200% backup money to get it replaced if something happens. I only took liability insurance. To deal with insurance claims in DR…thank you. exactly one week it took before a big truck trashed it while I was parked at the road side. That truck did not even stop…! He took about half of that Kia with him and parts leaving over a distance of 100 meters or so. At the time I could arrange a pickup of the wreck a lot of the car was gone already as well…. Now Friday I am ready for round two… a white one this time. Things are going different indeed here.
Posted by Ron Sr.April 2, 2019
This is absolutely been a hilarious and educational read for me. All of which is true. The people there are exactly as described. Its there culture and we have to accept the way they are. That is not to say its all bad, once you adjust your expectations you will be fine. I will be going back for my 5th visit in May and considering buying a rental property there and retiring there in the next 5 years. Yes, it is very frustrating dealing with the people at times, speaking of time; theirs your time and then theirs Dominican time. Expect everything to get done on Dominican Time. Always double or triple the time when they say they will arrive and you will not stress as much. LOL. I have learned if you can’t beat them, join them. This is especially true in regards to driving there. If you don’t drive like them your car will not move. (Well, they may push you out of the way…lol) This doesn’t mean you have to be a sell out to there life style, just means you have to make some adjustment…..lol. But the people are wonderful in a lot of ways, and remember most of those people don’t have a lot of money and live a minimalist life style. So they are not use to having a lot and when they have an opportunity to get money, they always seem to over charge. They do not understand the concept of a return customer. They just want to get the money. Because for them all foreigners are rich, and thats true in a lot of way. Most of them can’t afford to travel to another country. Any, learn as much as you can about the culture, respect the culture, be careful, and of course be safe. P.S. If you can help it, don’t ever drive in Santo Domingo. I’m still having nightmares….LOL
Ken HarringtonPunta Cana, Dominican Republic
When I'm not traveling or hanging out of the beach, I'm a Consultant for Tour Operators in the Dominican Republic. I also dig Linux and FOSS, loath TV, enjoy cooking, and I'm an adrenaline seeking adventure junkie. I try not to take life too seriously if I can avoid it. Oh yeah, and I’m the guy that sort of keeps this site from falling apart.