Safety, Security, Police in Chile
Chile National Emergency Numbers
From any phone in Chile, dial:
Ambulances in Chile can be either public or private.
The national emergency number for an ambulance in Chile is 131
Chile bomberos (firemen) are all volunteers. Equipment is provided by the government, but bomberos are not paid by the government. In Chile you will frequently see them doing donation drives on the streets. Please dig deep in to your pocket.
The national emergency number for bomberos in Chile is 132
Police in Chile
Two major corps of police are established in Chile. Both are instrumentalities of the national government. No significant local police forces exist.
The more visible national police force, the uniformed police officers seen on the streets every day, are the Carabineros de Chile. Carabineros of Chile pride themselves on being honest and helpful. Unlike the rest of Latin America and South America, never make the mistake of attempting to bribe a Carabinero.
The second body of police is "plain clothes", the Policia de Investigaciones de Chile; in their training and operations, dealing with the investigation of serious crimes, the men and women of the Investigaciones resemble agents of the FBI in the United States or "Scotland Yard" in the United Kingdom.
The national emergency number for the police is 133 .
Related Links: All Southern Chile Article: Is Chile Safe?
Chile has some of the lowest crime rates in Latin America, and (at least as regards crimes againt persons, rather than against property) possibly even in the Western Hemisphere. Nevertheless, basic precautions should be taken to protect from crimes of opportunity such as petty theft. In major cities such as Santiago all precautions should be taken as with any major city in the World.
Insurance in Chile
General Insurance, especially contents insurance, is relatively uncommon in Chile and is a drawn out process to undertake. I am no longer in Antofagasta, but having lived in 3 different houses in Chile and arrange insurance for each of them (for the contents), I have a few tips.
The process is USUALLY:
1. contact a broker or an insurance company directly (by phone, or online).
2. ask for a quote (you need to give the value of your contents, usually in UF, tell them what the house is made of, and if you have security in your home).
3. they send a quote via email.
4. you contact them to accept the quote.
5. they send an inspector to take photos of your house, particularly of the fencing, alarm, gate/front door.
YOU ARE INSURED FROM THE MOMENT THE PHOTOS ARE TAKEN
6. they prepare the policy and payment details, and send it/deliver it to you.
7. make the payments.
This process can take weeks and weeks, so this time, we managed to get the whole thing done in one day after a week of waiting for companies to send me the quotes.
Here is what I recommend:
1. Go directly (in person) to the insurance office, ask to speak to someone about general insurance.
2. Have them do the quote immediately and make sure they include insurance for ROBBERY (robo), as that is not standard in Chile - contents insurance is generally only for fires and earthquakes.
3. Accept the quote on the spot if possible.
4. The inspector will likely be available to come to your house THAT DAY or the next, to take the photos.
And now you are insured... just remember to pay the bill!!
The reason I recommend going directly to the office of the insurer rather than a broker (besides the fact that it is quicker), is that it is easier to make payment. If you go through the insurance company direct, you can usually pay online. That said, we always ask to pay the annual cost in one payment, as having to pay every month when there is no automated payment system is a pain in the neck.
Insurance here is not cheap, but contents is comparable to what we paid in Australia - around CLP400.000 to CLP500.000 for contents (valued at around 3000 UF), and about the same for the car, which is definitely more than we would have paid in Aus.
We have been insured with three different companies and none are easily transferable if you do move from one city to another in Chile (made even harder if you use a broker as they are generally local).
Some websites - find your local branch (sucursal)
- www.pentasecurity.cl (i have not used this company)
- www.libertyseguros.cl - we used liberty in Anto, through a broker.
- http://www.libertyseguros.cl/liberty_seguros/liberty_sucursales.php (a list of their branches)
- www.chilena.cl (our latest insurer, underwritten by Zurich, exceptionally easy to deal with in Iquique)
- http://www.chilena.cl/newsite/Conozca/sucursales.html (a list of their branches)
Insurance offered by ADT, in addition to your security services, is meant to be a complement to your general insurance policy - to pay for things like broken locks and direct issues in the event of robbery - as many people in chile do not take out robbery insurance (including your landlord). ADT's policy maxes out at 750 UF (about $30,000 US), which I imagine doesn't cover the cost of most people's living room contents, let alone the whole house...