A road trip to Mexico is a great way to get away quickly and easily, without the stress and cost of a big international trip. But despite the romance of tossing some clothes in a bag and hitting the road, there are some important things to consider before your trip, and perhaps the most important is if you have the right car insurance. Mexican Insurance Store, a Mexican auto insurance provider, has provided some key details to be aware of before your trip.
Does My Current Coverage Carry Over into Mexico?
For the most part, no. Mexico does not recognize any American or Canadian car insurance. While your current plan may offer limited coverage in Mexico, this is often only collision and comprehensive coverage, and usually only valid through a limited distance from the border and for a limited amount of days, so make sure you look closely at the terms. Even with this limited coverage, you will need to have liability insurance from a Mexican company. Different plans will offer different types of coverage, and it is up to you to decide what you need, but having Mexican liability insurance is an absolute must for your trip.
Is It Illegal to Go Without Liability Insurance?
A new law makes it illegal to travel on all federal roads and bridges in Mexico without liability insurance. Even if you somehow manage to avoid highways, according to USA Today, Mexico’s laws still require “proof of financial responsibility” on all roads. In the event of an accident where you may be at fault, you could be detained until you prove that you can pay damages or until you are cleared of charges through the Mexican legal system. Spending time in a Mexican prison awaiting trial is definitely something you should take steps to avoid, especially considering that under Mexican law, you are guilty until proven innocent. Getting liability insurance can truly prevent a nightmare scenario.
Where Can I Get Insurance for Mexico?
An easy, safe option is to contact your current insurance provider. Many car insurance providers have companies in Mexico that they work with to provide Mexican insurance to their customers, and going directly through Geico, AAA, Progressive, or any other provider will ensure you are in good hands. You can do this online or go in person to their offices. If you are renting a car in Mexico, you can get your coverage through the rental agency.
Although getting insurance in advance is preferable, before crossing the border you will find many insurance providers you can sign up with on the spot. You may end up paying more, and it may be time consuming, but you will still get all the required coverage.
What Should I Expect to Pay?
You shouldn’t have to burn a hole into your trip’s budget with your coverage plan. $20-$30 per day is a reasonable amount to pay for most plans. If you feel you are being overcharged, look for another agent. Long-term policies are much cheaper per day than daily ones, so if you are planning multiple trips to Mexico within the next six months or year, consider going for a longer term one.
What Do I Do If I Need to Make a Claim?
Making a claim is straightforward, just call the insurance provider’s hotline. However, according to Mexexperience, you must make the claim while you are still in Mexico, otherwise there is a very slim chance of having your claim processed. Make sure you make the claim as soon as you can and do not wait until you are home.
Is There Anything Else I Need to Know?
Depending on where you are going in Mexico, you may need to register your car. Many popular tourist destinations are in the Free Zone where you don’t need any registration, but going beyond that will require you to register your vehicle. You can do this at the border or on the official website, and if you go through an insurance agent you can ask them to do this for you. Keep in mind that even in the Free Zone, you need to have liability insurance.
Also, if you make frequent trips to Mexico, consider getting a SENTRI pass. This puts you into a fast lane when reentering the United States, where the lines can be hours long. While it wouldn’t be worth the effort if you aren’t making the trip often, it would definitely be time saving if you go multiple times a year.
Just make sure you remember that even though your current plan offers limited Mexico coverage, that is no reason to get careless and not buy any extra insurance. Not having Mexican liability insurance can cost you dearly, and don’t even consider going without it. So get a policy, toss some clothes in a bag, and have a great trip!