If you’re going to drive to Mexico, you’re going to face many of the same hazards you would encounter in the states. Should an accident occur, you should treat it with the concern than you would a domestic accident.
Mexican accident reporting usually is somewhat different than most Americans have seen before. Nevertheless, auto insurance will play an important role in this process. Therefore, you need to carry appropriate coverage when you travel south of the border. Still, stay aware of the hazards you might encounter on the road. You might just avoid an accident in the first place.
Understanding Mexican Driving Risks
Mexican and American driving laws are very similar. Still, there are key differences of which Americans need to be aware. Some of these might include:
- Spanish language and metric system road signs. Mexico uses the metric system to set speed and distance limits. It also will print most of its road signs in Spanish. If Americans don’t understand road notifications, they could make risky mistakes.
- Different driving habits. Small differences in driving practices might cause Americans to make mistakes. For example, Mexican drivers might change lanes or pass through intersections using different practices than Americans. All foreign drivers should exercise scrutiny and caution when driving.
American drivers should always assume responsibility for their own safety. You shouldn't expect local drivers to recognize that a foreigner is present. Comprehensively research Mexican driving practices and risks before leaving the U.S.
Insuring Yourself Against these Risks
Mexico requires all drivers to carry auto insurance, and this includes American drivers. Failing to carry auto insurance could result in penalties. The catch here is that Mexican law does not recognize U.S. car insurance policies. American drivers will need to enroll in a Mexican auto policy to drive in the country.
Americans can get these policies through licensed Mexican insurance companies like Mexbound.com. Many Mexican insurers partner with American agents to issue their policies to tourists. These policies are often affordable, and agents can often tailor them to only be active during your stay in Mexico. If you need to file a claim, we will assist you.
In many ways, Mexican auto insurance will look similar to American policies. It might contain:
- Liability coverage in case your actions cause injury or property damage to others.
- Theft and Collision protection to help drivers repair or replace cars. Often, the policies can contain options to repair the vehicle in the U.S. or Mexico.
- Uninsured motorist coverage for if you collide with an at-fault driver who doesn’t have insurance.
- Medical expenses coverage to help drivers pay for their own medical bills
- Roadside assistance protection
- Legal assistance coverage in case you have to contact a foreign or U.S. attorney
And various other forms of coverage. Drivers should talk to their agent about where they plan to travel, how long they will stay and the specific risks associated with their driving. A reputable insurer can help drivers find the protection they need.
What to do if you are involved in an Accident while in Mexico?
You don’t want anything to happen during your travel in Mexico. However, if a wreck occurs, you will have to address it. Usually, you will need to follow a specific reporting process.
- Keep your passport, driver’s license, visas and proof of insurance with you while you drive. You might need these items following an accident.
- Your first priority should be your own safety and the safety of your passengers. Always make sure everyone is safe before exiting the vehicle. Try to move the vehicle out of the way of oncoming traffic only if it is safe to do so.
- Immediately contact your Mexican insurance company’s claims line at 01-800-019-6000 (from Mexico) or 1-888-212-7642 (from US phone). Do this as soon as you get out of the car. Even if an accident is small, you should report it before leaving the scene of an accident.
- Mexican insurers will typically dispatch a claims adjuster to the scene immediately. The adjuster likely will handle the claim documentation at the scene. If you need a tow, the insurance company can usually arrange it.
- Most insurers will immediately send emergency services. If you can call an emergency line, do so. Then, ask the insurer to send emergency services as well.
In Mexico, the authorities sometimes arrest the parties involved in accidents until they can determine fault and compensation agreements. If this happens to you, do not panic. Ask to contact the American embassy or consulate in your area. The State Department can help you access legal services and a bilingual lawyer as needed. Your Mexican insurance might cover your legal assistance, bail bond or other costs.
Always be careful when driving in Mexico. You have to understand that you are driving in a foreign country, and your risks will be different. In the event of an accident, a strong Mexican auto insurance policy will come in handy.
Also read: Common Roadside Hazards When Driving in Mexico