So you’ve decided to travel to Mexico for a nice family vacation or a romantic honeymoon on the beach.
Whatever your purpose for travel, the odds are very likely that your current United States or Canadian (much less likely) auto insurance policy is not valid in Mexico.
That said, it’ll probably be necessary to purchase “Mexican auto insurance” coverage if you intend to drive a car while in Mexico, even if just for a day.
In some instances, you may have very limited insurance coverage while driving within 25 miles of the Mexican border, or for a certain number of days. Again, this is highly unlikely, especially if you don’t live on or near the border with Mexico.
There are a few important things you should know and some things to avoid when making your decision to buy Mexican auto insurance.
First, the equivalent of mandatory minimum car insurance in the United States is referred to as “Civil Liability” in Mexico. The big difference between the two is that in Mexico you can be thrown in jail for not carrying this type of insurance.
You don’t need to cause a serious accident to end up behind bars – a minor fender bender may do the trick.
Now that I’ve got your attention, let’s look at Mexican auto insurance options:
– Buy at least $100,000 per person liability limits – learn more about liability limits.
– Purchase at least a six-month policy if you will be there for more than one month. You don’t want to have a lapse in coverage while in Mexico (see above regarding Mexican jail).
– Contact your independent agent or insurer to determine if you have coverage in place. Remember, you most likely do not.
– Buy a policy that does not cover you in all territories in Mexico. You never know where you may end up while traveling abroad. You do not want to end up with no coverage in any situation.
– Buy a policy that does not offer you some sort of legal assistance. This is similar to pre-paid legal services in the U.S. You will probably not be prepared to defend yourself in a courtroom situation.
– Buy a policy that doesn’t include towing or roadside assistance coverage. It’s probably not wise to negotiate your tow and flat tire on the roadside with a driver who doesn’t work on behalf of the insurance companies.
– Buy a policy that doesn’t offer some sort of bond coverage. This coverage is included in almost ever auto policy issued in the U.S. You should expect the same in Mexico.
Keep in mind that your current U.S. auto insurance policy may cover the cost to repair your car if you have physical damage coverage, but remember you will have to get back home to get that taken care of.
In the event you suffer a great deal of damage, you may have to weigh the cost of repairing it in Mexico or having it shipped back to the U.S.
Renting a Car in Mexico
If you choose to rent a car while in Mexico, it is recommended that you purchase full coverage auto insurance. This includes “Civil Liability” and physical damage coverage for the vehicle. It’s pricier, but the downside to not having it can be costly as well as time consuming.
Many credit card companies will offer you coverage if you use their card to secure the vehicle. Just make sure to check with your card company before you leave to get the full details.
Of course, it’s still recommended that you purchase Mexican auto insurance coverage in this event, as the time spent dealing with the processing of an international car insurance claim is always more trouble than ponying up the additional expense.
Remember, the point of a vacation is to relax and have fun, and insurance is a great way to ensure you enjoy your trip. The last thing you want is to end up in a Mexican jail because you didn’t do your homework.
Where Can I Buy Mexican Auto Insurance?
There are various companies that sell Mexican auto insurance, and the price will vary based on the coverage amount, number of days, type of vehicle, and so on. You can contact your independent agent or search online for a Mexican auto insurance policy before embarking on your trip.