Mexican Car Insurance Guide (Tips for Cheap Mexican Insurance Rates)

Before buying Mexican car insurance, ensure you aren't already covered with travel insurance. Instead of shopping at the border, use our quote comparison tool to save money on Mexican car insurance.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State...

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UPDATED: Jun 9, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Simply having car insurance in the U.S. does not help if you get into an accident in Mexico
  • Research companies that sell Mexican auto insurance; you can also buy Mexican auto insurance from an American agent
  • All car accidents in Mexico are deemed as felonies
  • Car rental coverage is one of the crucial pieces of Mexican auto insurance policy
  • Have full coverage under your U.S. auto plan, so you can get full coverage with a Mexican auto insurance provider

While you can purchase auto insurance at border towns, it may be more responsible for you to research various providers before you decide on the most reputable Mexican auto insurance company.

Once you’ve done your research and homework on various Mexican auto insurance companies, you can choose one with confidence and feel good about your travels south of the border. Read on to learn when and why you need to purchase this type of coverage.

If you’re traveling to Mexico, start comparing car insurance quotes today!

Isn’t my U.S. car insurance policy good in Mexico?

While some U.S. policies may have an option for purchasing Mexican auto insurance, simply having car insurance in the United States does not help if you get into an accident in Mexico. Auto insurance is a widely misinterpreted item by travelers who are planning on driving into Mexico.

Visitors either don’t believe they need special insurance when traveling down south or don’t understand the risks and headaches they are potentially putting themselves through if they were to get into an accident south of the border.

If you plan on driving to or in Mexico, getting car insurance should be of paramount importance when putting together your travel itinerary.

According to the California Department of Insurance, the Mexican government does not accept California insurance as Mexican coverage. However, you should check with your current insurance provider to determine what type of territorial or travel insurance is on your policy or could be added to your policy.

Also, some insurance companies do provide limited collision and comprehensive coverage for a limited distance into Mexico.

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How do I know the company I am buying Mexican insurance from is reputable?

If you research the company you are buying Mexican insurance from, you can feel confident in your purchase. You can also buy Mexican insurance from an American agent.

Follow these steps when researching an American agent who sells Mexican insurance:

  • Research the insurance company on the Better Business Bureau’s website – Read the reviews and complaints before signing on the dotted line.
  • Enter the company’s name in your search engine with the title “complaints” or “reviews” – If there is anything bad about this company, it will appear.
  • Go to the Department of Insurance website for the state where the company is incorporated or is underwriting insurance – The Department of Insurance will also have any complaints, insolvency issues, or reinsurance facts that may help you make your decision.
  • Pull up the financial ratings for the company – Go to the websites for Standard & Poor’sA.M. Best, or Weiss Ratings. These financial companies review the stability and financial forecast of every insurance company that is incorporated within and outside of the United States.

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If the accident wasn’t my fault, do I still need Mexican auto insurance?

Like in the U.S., although a car accident may not be your fault, you need to prove you have the financial resources to cover any accident, which means having valid insurance coverage.

In Mexico, a car accident is a felony, and one is guilty until proven innocent, unlike here in the states.

If you don’t have legal counsel to help you get through this seemingly minor event, you may find yourself in a pickle for a longer stretch than you had originally anticipated.

What sort of coverage do I need if driving in Mexico?

In Mexico, the minimum required coverage is something called third party (civil) liability insurance, which, in the U.S., we simply refer to as liability. This will cover any injuries or damages caused by you to another individual or property.

Many people recommend getting a minimum of $100,000 coverage, even though that’s not required by law.

You want to make sure there is a provision for medical expenses not only for individuals outside of your vehicle but also for the driver and the other vehicle occupants.

Having medical and travel assistance is also an excellent type of coverage you want with your Mexican auto insurance plan. The reason being that visitors who require medical attention usually need to go a private facility that can be a very costly out-of-pocket expenditure.

Also, if your car needs to be towed or if you need general tourist information, this part of the policy will alleviate any concerns you have in these regards.

Car rental coverage is another crucial piece of the policy you want to make sure your car insurance company provides. As stated previously, all accidents in Mexico are deemed as felonies.

Thus, the authorities will need to take your car in to process it as evidence, and it is vital that you are able to obtain a car rental without further expense for the remainder of your time in Mexico, or until your vehicle is returned to you by the authorities.

Without a doubt, make sure you have physical damage and total theft of vehicle covered by your policy.

They are not usually a standard part of all policies, so do your research to ensure these provisions are part of your plan.

Again, whether the accident is your fault or not, you need to first prove that it isn’t. Without the provisions of legal assistance and bail bonds included in your plan, you could be having a long and difficult stay in Mexico.

Other services you’ll most likely want with your Mexican auto insurance policy are as follows:

  • Roadside assistance
  • Partial theft and vandalism
  • Coverage for uninsured motorists regarding your medical payments

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When do I need to purchase Mexican auto insurance online?

Although many cities in Mexico do not require auto insurance, any accidents or speeding violations that occur in Mexico are under Mexican law. This means that you and your car are at the Mexican government’s mercy, so you should be wise and purchase Mexican auto insurance before entering the country.

Make sure that the insurance you purchase is not only valid in one part of the country, but the entire country if your travel plans extend into multiple cities.

Look for at least $100,000 for combined single limits when purchasing insurance for driving in Mexico. Do not purchase split limits, which are often marketed by Mexican insurance companies. Split limits do not provide comprehensive coverage. Something will be left unpaid: medical bills, car repairs, towing, etc.

You can purchase insurance on a daily basis, which can be as inexpensive as $4.00 a day. However, six- or twelve-month policies with decent coverage cost around $150-$200.

Travel assistance is usually part of your insurance coverage, which can help you in case you need lodging, towing, or medical care. It is worth adding to your policy whenever you are traveling to a foreign country, especially to Mexico.

Other insurance options include what is known as “Guaranteed Bond & Legal Assistance.” This can be beneficial should you find yourself in a situation where legal advice is necessary or for bonding out of a Mexican jail.

Lastly, if you are towing an RV, boat, or motorcycle, be sure you have coverage on these as well. When purchasing Mexican auto insurance, the coverage does not automatically extend to whatever is attached to your vehicle.

What else do I need to know about Mexican car insurance?

  • Make sure you have coverage for all of Mexico and not just certain areas.
  • Have copies of your policy in your car, hotel, in an email, and with a friend back home.
  • Have full coverage under your U.S. auto plan, so you can get full coverage with a Mexican auto insurance provider.
  • Motorcycles and boats traveling with you will need physical damage and marine coverage, respectively.

So before you jump in your car and drive to sunny Mexico, compare the car insurance rates of quality providers by typing in your ZIP code below!

Do I have to buy car insurance to visit Mexico?

You must purchase car insurance to travel to Mexico, even if it’s just for a day. Your current provider may offer temporary travel insurance to add to your policy.

  • Even if you’re only going for a day, all foreign citizens must purchase car insurance to drive in Mexico
  • Buying Mexican car insurance at the border is a bad idea that is likely to cost you double or even triple the price of shopping online
  • You should ask your current insurance provider if they offer temporary travel insurance for Mexcio. You may be able to simply add it onto your current policy with little hassle

If you’re an American or Canadian citizen planning to drive for any length of time in Mexico, it’s a good idea for you to purchase short-term Mexican car insurance. Unlike the relationship between the U.S. and Canada, which recognizes one another’s car insurance policies, Mexico does not. In order for you to drive your car south of the U.S. border, you’ll need a separate car insurance policy recognized by the Mexican government.

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Fortunately, these types of Mexican car insurance policies are relatively easy to come by and inexpensive. In some cases, your current insurance provider may even be able to write you a separate policy that covers you while you’re in Mexico. But be sure to check before you leave home because any car insurance company that provides you with policy must be recognized by the Mexican government. To do otherwise is a violation of Mexican law.

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Penalty for Driving in Mexico Without Insurance

So what exactly is the penalty for driving without car insurance in Mexico?

Depending on your source of information, you may understand that it is illegal to drive in Mexico without proper Mexican car insurance; others may say that it’s completely unnecessary, but the truth actually lies in the middle.

Like the U.S., Mexican law simply demands that anyone driving in the country have the financial resources to pay for any damages resulting from an accident. Those financial resources could come from an insurance policy or a very large bank account.

The problem in Mexico however, is convincing the authorities you have the proper financial resources if you cannot produce proof of Mexican car insurance policy. At the very least, if you don’t purchase insurance and you’re involved in an accident, you’ll probably spend at least some time in jail.

And, by the way, simply carrying large amounts of cash probably won’t help either. Car repairs in Mexico can run into the tens of thousands of dollars just like they do here.

Purchasing Insurance at the Mexican Border

Since most people don’t realize they need a separate insurance policy before crossing into Mexico, many enterprising individuals have set up offices along the border where insurance is readily available. However, there are a few important things to be aware of:

  • First of all, you obviously will not get the best price because these car insurance carriers know that once you walk in their door, you’re stuck. For the best price on Mexican car insurance, you need to shop around in advance of your trip.
  • Secondly, the documents issued at the border are often times written in Spanish.

More than anything else, the most important reason to buy your policy well in advance is because if you are not fluent in the language, then you have no way of knowing whether you bought a legitimate car insurance policy or a worthless piece of paper.

If you’re planning just a single day across the border and are willing to take your chances, it’s still a bad idea.

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Purchasing Insurance in Advance

Purchasing your Mexican car insurance in advance is almost as easy as purchasing your regular liability policy. Mexican laws are very straightforward in regards to liability and how much coverage is required.

A simple Internet search using the appropriate terms will yield several dozen insurance providers who can write a policy for your Mexican trip. As with any type of insurance, shopping around and comparing rates is the best course of action.

When you do buy your Mexican car insurance online, just be sure you receive all the appropriate documents in English and Spanish, and in a timely manner.

An insurance provider of any quality should be able to fax or e-mail you temporary documents until the permanent ones arrive.

Always ask for this availability. Furthermore, if you plan to use an insurance carrier whose name you do not recognize, be sure to research the company before you sign up for their insurance. Just like being scammed at the border, it’s easy to be scammed online.

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Don’t Travel in Mexico Without Insurance

Even if you’re a very safe driver who has never had an accident, there’s always a first time. Making matters worse is the fact that Mexican drivers don’t necessarily follow the same rules of the road that we do here in the States.

Whenever you’re driving in a foreign environment, you’re increasing the risk of an accident. That is true for any country you may be driving in. And with jail time a real possibility, it’s not worth the risk. Mexican car insurance policies are very inexpensive and easy to come by, so there’s no real reason to drive south of the border without one.

Start your search for Mexican car insurance quotes, or a standard American policy, by entering your ZIP code in the box below!

References:

  1. https://www.esurance.com/info/international/guidelines-for-driving-in-mexico
  2. http://www.insurance.ca.gov/01-consumers/105-type/95-guides/01-auto/hadaccident.cfm
  3. http://www.bbb.org
  4. http://www.standardandpoors.com
  5. http://www.ambest.com
  6. http://www.weissratings.com

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