Are you planning a trip to Mexico? You’re in for a lovely experience. America’s neighbor offers beautiful scenery, points of historical interest and warm hospitality. To soak in the sights of this special land, you might figure that a road trip south of the border is right for you.
However, before you hit the road, think about what you’re about to undertake. Road trips, especially in a foreign country, might pose considerable risks to you and your car. If something were to happen, what would you do to get help? In many cases, you’d want to turn to your car insurance. But, there’s a catch. If you don’t have Mexican auto insurance, you might be out of luck.
So, when you decide to drive in Mexico, get this important coverage. It’s often your only protection against accidents, liability claims or other damage.
Why do I need Mexican Auto Insurance?
You might assume that if you have car insurance at home, it will cover you wherever you go. Usually, when you drive from state to state in the U.S. that is the case. But, driving into a different country might mean that your insurance will not work. Such is the case for most American drivers in Mexico.
Mexican auto insurance law does not recognize U.S. car insurance policies. The structure of the Mexican auto insurance market is different from America’s. Your American policy will likely become void upon crossing the border. In some limited cases, U.S. insurers offer endorsements on their policies to cover you in Mexico. Still, these policies often do not provide full coverage under Mexican law.
Therefore, talk to an insurance agent who can specifically sell Mexican insurance. Make sure you tell them where you plan to go and how long you plan to stay. It’s usually best to enroll in a full Mexican insurance policy for the duration of your travelers. Multiple American agencies work directly with reputable Mexican insurance companies to issue policies. Your insurer can usually issue a policy that explicitly addresses your needs on the road.
The Coverage You Need
When enrolling in Mexican insurance, you will likely see many similarities between it and your American coverage. However, your policy will address specific coverage limits required by Mexican law. Furthermore, these policies will also address your legal liabilities in Mexico. Remember, entering Mexico places you under a different lawful jurisdiction. As a foreigner, you might need special protection to offer your legal help in the event of accidents.
Talk to your insurance agent about the various forms of coverage you might need. These could include
- Liability protection: Like in the U.S., if you cause an accident that harms someone else or their property, you might owe them money. Liability insurance serves as your proof of financial responsibility for at-fault incidents.
- Collision coverage: You might need to pay for repairs to your vehicle following an accident. Often, Mexican policies will allow you to receive covered repairs in either the U.S. or Mexico.
- Theft protection: Some policies might cover some or all of the costs related to vandalism or total theft.
- Legal assistance: Given differences in Mexican law, you might need counsel to settle accident damages. This coverage can provide for these costs.
- Medical payments coverage: Helps supplement your and your passengers’ medical bills, if needed.
- Roadside assistance: Can help you pay for the costs of towing. Ask your agent if this coverage can also cover medical evacuation or the cost of plane tickets to get you back to the U.S. You might find those extra features helpful.
- Towing services: Can ensure you receive transport to a reputable repair service.
Ask your agent to explain to you how each element of coverage works. Remember, because the law is different, each type of coverage might not apply in the same way that it does in the U.S. When you get your policy, read over it for any exclusions or technicalities you might need to take note of. You need to have a good grasp on how your coverage will work in case you decide to file a claim.
If You Need to File a Claim
Should you have an accident while in Mexico, it might seem like a scary situation. However, with the right care, you can avoid panic.
First, make sure everyone involved is okay and try to move out of the way of danger. Then call the police and ask for medical assistance as needed. Make sure you get a report from the responding authorities. Then, before you leave the scene, call your Mexican insurer directly. Do not call your American agent. The insurer who handles your claim will help you understand how to document the claim.
Work closely with your Mexican insurer throughout the claims process. They can help make sure that you get back home safely and manage any legal hurdles with ease.