With so many choices online and on the drive south, and so many experts around the water cooler, how does one choose an insurance company when traveling to Mexico? Selecting an insurance company isn’t nearly as much fun as packing the bikini and flowered shirts. You’ve got the cooler stuffed with goodies and know exactly what time and where you’re meeting up with friends, but don’t let those things distract you from that one pesky detail…your Mexican auto insurance. Well, I understand insurance isn’t sexy, but I promise you that if you need it, it can be the single most important decision of your trip.
The first thing to do is determine whether your U.S. carrier offers you Comp & Collision coverage in the area you’ll be visiting. Most don’t, of course, but there are a couple of companies that offer C & C coverage within a certain radius of the border. If yours is one of these, then you need only purchase Liability Coverage for Mexico.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Even if your US insurance company tells you they offer liability coverage in Mexico…don’t believe it! Mexican law requires all foreign drivers to carry Liability Coverage issued by a Mexican company. Plain and simple…you must have this. The repercussions can be rough if you’re found to be in violation of that law, even if you’re in an accident that was in no way your fault. This is inexpensive coverage, so don’t leave home without it.
If your carrier doesn’t offer Comp & Collision for your trip, you might want to consider buying a full- coverage policy. I guess you should consider the worst-case scenario before making your decision. If you’re willing to take the hit to your pocketbook without insurance, then it’s your call.
Many folks purchase a purchase a one-day-in and one-day-out policy for their rigs and insure their tow vehicle for the days they’re in Mexico. Keep in mind that anyone using propane is risking an accident even while the rig is parked. If the worst happened and you were found to be without liability insurance, your legal complications would be no different than if you had an accident while driving down the road.
What are those complications? Well, the vehicle can be impounded and you can be detained at the police station until injuries (if any) can be assessed, blame can be determined and compensation paid (or promised, as evidenced by the existence of insurance). Once blame is determined adjusters can be sent in and estimates secured from repair shops. This can be a long and tedious process, which is precisely when your bargain insurance purchase on the roadside or online ceases to be a bargain. Always check first to make sure the insurance company you’re buying from has agents (preferably bilingual) in the town you’ll be visiting. Remember that for the same cost you might as well have an agent who can offer you some assistance if you need it.
There isn’t much variation in price or product when it comes to buying a Liability policy, so look for service to make the difference.
If you opt for Full Coverage, ask the agent to check the commercial value of your vehicle. There’s no reason to pay for more insurance than you can expect to get back if you have a total loss. Some policies offer you the option of having payment include US labor rates.
You should keep in mind that when there is an accident, if you are found to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, your policy is not valid. Taxicabs and designated drivers are a must if going out on the town.
One final note that might be of interest to you is about policies that are commonly referred to as ‘driver’s license policies’. This ought to redeem me for making you read about a subject as dry as insurance to begin with. The DL policies are annual liability policies that are inexpensive enough to be of interest to most people traveling to Mexico. The DL policy is liability coverage that goes with you, the insured, regardless what you’re driving at any given time. So, one policy is all you need for your RV as well as the tow car. The cost for one year can be as little as $122.10 (for people who never drive buggies, carts or motorcycles) for one person and can be issued for as many as four drivers on one policy. The insured receives a laminated card to carry in his wallet as proof of insurance.
That’s it for insurance…now you can go back to picking our bikinis and flowered shirts!
ROSIE GLOVER OWNS PROALLIANCE INSURANCE IN ROCKY POINT, MEXICO. ROSIE IS HOST OF ROCKY POINT RAMBLINGS RADIO SHOW AND DIRECTOR OF TOURISM & VISITOR ASSISTANCE, OFFERING FREE BILINGUAL ASSISTANCE TO VISITORS IN ROCKY POINT. FOR MORE INFORMATION VISIT WWW.PROALLIANCE.COM.MX OR CALL 602.773.1031 FROM THE U.S.