In southern California, our proximity to the border makes international travel relatively common. However, sometimes, travel requires more preparation than just carrying a passport or visa. What if you plan to stay a while?
Given the popularity of cross-border travel, many Americans visit Mexico for extended stays. Some might take a months-long vacation. Others might go to take care of relatives or personal business. If you’re planning to leave for a long visit in Mexico, take care of your assets back home while you’re gone.
Before You Go: Secure Proper Insurance
Extended travel usually merits special insurance considerations. For example, your American health and auto insurance likely won’t protect you in Mexico. You might also need to protect your personal belongings from travel hazards. Various types of international insurance might help you add this protection.
- Travel Insurance: Might cover lost luggage, travel delays, certain medical emergencies, emergency evacuations, trip cancellations and other hazards that impact travel.
- International Medical Insurance: Foreign hospitals and physicians have different costs than their American counterparts. Americans in Mexico can usually find excellent medical care. However, their American insurance might not cover it. An international health plan might offer greater access to care than a U.S. policy or travel coverage. Many American insurers offer this coverage.
Mexican Auto Insurance: Mexican law does not recognize U.S. auto insurance policies. If you plan to drive in Mexico, you will need to get a Mexican auto policy from a Mexican insurer. Many American insurers work with Mexican companies to help travelers enroll in coverage. It will contain coverage specific to Mexican law.
Before embarking on a trip to Mexico, talk to your insurance agent. Tell them where you will go, how long you will stay, and what you will do while you’re there. If you plan to stay for an extended period, tell your agent that. They can help you determine if you will need travel insurance, international medical insurance, auto coverage or other types of protection. Often, agents can customize your policy to be active only for the duration of your stay.
Take Safety Precautions Here at Home
When you plan to leave for an extended period, you’re going to leave things behind at home. You must make sure you protect your belongings even when you aren’t home. You can leave knowing you’ve lessened the risk of a problem happening while you are away.
- Review your homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance and other coverage. Make sure you can continue to make payments while you’re gone. Talk to your agent to renew, reduce or augment coverage while you are gone.
- Verify that you can still make important bill payments while you’re gone. You might need to set up auto-payments, online payments or stop certain service.
- Stop mail and newspaper service at your home. You can also invest in a P.O. box or ask a trusted neighbor to collect your deliveries. Nothing will tip off thieves to an empty home more than an accumulation of papers on the lawn.
- Service your car by having the oil changed, tires rotated and other maintenance. You should do this regardless of whether you plan to take the car with you or leave it at home. Store the car in a garage, or in another area out of sight. Leave a key with your neighbor, and ask them to run the car for a few minutes every few days.
- Leave one or more lights on a timer inside and outside your home. By seeing lights on at different times, potential invaders might avoid the home. At the same time, cut off electricity to other areas of the home to help prevent problems or wasteful spending.
- Turn down or turn off your water heater. You won’t waste energy by the system having to reheat unused water.
- Shut off the water to certain appliances or to the entire home. For example, you might turn the water off to certain items like your washing machine or dishwasher, while leaving the water on in the toilets.
- Set your HVAC systems to a temperature that is close to the outside average. This can help reduce energy usage.
- Check your alarm systems like burglar alarms, videos, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure they have fresh batteries and still work. Arm them upon departure.
- See to your medical needs before you go. Talk to your doctor about any special medical hazards you might encounter abroad. Get equipment, prescriptions and other information from the right sources before you go. Talk to your doctor about how to obtain care abroad when you need it.
- Lock away important possessions and information like unused credit cards, birth certificates, tax and social security information. Obtain copies of your identification to carry with you on your trip. However, keep these important documents with you at all times.
Make sure you have all necessary visas and identification to help you move freely in Mexico. Also, leave your contact information with a trusted friend, family member or relative. In case of emergencies, that person can be your point of contact for assistance.
If you have questions about the insurance you need for Mexican travel, contact our office at 619-535-8777 or via email. We can help you enroll in coverage.
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