Should I purchase Mexican auto insurance online?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Sep 15, 2016

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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.

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

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!

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