A car wreck is something none of us wants to experience. Having one in a place with which we are unfamiliar is even worse. Whether traveling down the street, or even to a foreign country like Mexico, you don’t want to have accidents. However, there are times when harmful incidents are unavoidable. Wrecks, vehicle theft or other vehicle damage might impact your car wherever you go.
If you experience a car wreck or other hazard while traveling in Mexico, you might not know what to do first. Here’s a hint. You’ll need to turn to the police and your insurance policy. However, doing so will involve somewhat of a different process than you might experience in the U.S. Mexican law is different from that of the states. Therefore, its car insurance industry and wreck response process differ as well.
Before Going to Mexico, Get the Right Car Insurance
You might think that your American car insurance will cover you wherever you go. Think again. Most American policies become void in Mexico. Therefore, if you plan to drive in Mexico, get a Mexican insurance policy, specifically. Many American insurance agencies can issue policies from reputable Mexican insurers. Often, your agent can set up your policy only to remain active during your period of travel in Mexico.
Mexican policies will usually contain similar coverage elements to U.S. policies. These might include:
- Liability insurance in case you are the at-fault party in a wreck. It can help you pay for the damage you might cause others. Coverage might include injury or property damage liability insurance.
- Collision coverage to help you pay for damage to your vehicle.
- Various elements similar to comprehensive protection. This might include things like fire, theft or glass breakage coverage.
- Uninsured/underinsured insurance for situations where you collide with another driver who does not have appropriate insurance.
- Legal and bail coverage in case you have to contact an attorney or get taken to jail by Mexican authorities.
You can also find a lot of other helpful options on your policy like roadside help or medical payments. The policy might also give you the option to choose whether to have repairs made in the U.S. or Mexico. Work with your insurance agent to determine which policy will benefit you in the best ways.
If an Accident Occurs
In many ways, Mexican roadways are similar to American roads. However, subtle differences, like the Spanish language or unique driving practices, might exist. These problems might make you more likely to experience accidents. If one occurs, you will likely experience a degree of fear and shock.
- The first thing, of course, is to remain calm. If you find yourself unhurt by the accident, do what you can to move your car to the side of the road. Try to clear the roadway if at all possible. Check on the welfare of your passengers. Under no circumstances should you flee the scene of the accident.
- Locate your Mexican car insurance cards. Most of these will contain contact numbers for a claims representative. When the time comes to contact the insurer, use this number. Remember, you will likely need to ask for an English-language claims representative.
- Often, a claims representative can come directly to you at the scene. In many cases, they can act as interpreters to help you file any necessary reports. They will likely take photos or collect other evidence of the wreck.
- You will need to contact the police, who will come to the scene of the accident. In some cases, they will determine fault at the scene and you can go on your way.
- In other cases, to determine fault in the crash, the police might take you to the local police station. If they place you in a holding cell, you shouldn’t panic. In many cases, this is simply standard practice in the Mexican insurance world. What you should do, however, is contact your insurer and ask for legal counsel. They can usually dispatch a lawyer to your assistance.
- Should you face detention, don’t try to use bribery or other illegal means to get out of the situation. In most cases, the police will determine fault with minimal hassle to those involved. Your insurance policy will likely come to your assistance.
- If you can still drive your car, your insurance adjuster might let you go on your way. After you return home, you can likely provide the insurer with repairs estimates to get the money to fix the car.
- If you can no longer drive your car, your insurer can often help you find a place to get the vehicle fixed. In some cases, they might also pay for rental cars, or even plane tickets to ensure you return to the U.S. safely.
When accidents occur, your insurer can be your lifeline. Therefore, make sure you choose a Mexican insurance company that satisfies your needs. They’ll be ready and waiting to help in case the worst strikes.
Additional Resources: Click for More Information on Insurance Claims in Mexico