It’s hard to believe in 2020 that some people think you don’t need Mexican auto insurance when driving your car, motorcycle, or RV in Mexico.
Seriously, it’s an eye-roller when a proud ignoramus proclaims that you don’t need insurance and that, in all of their travels, they never had it. First off, they probably haven’t been to Mexico since 1989. Second, they tend to have loud contrarian opinions on a whole litany of topics, from UFOs to conspiracy theories. Third, 9 times out of 10, they’ve been drinking rather heavily.
Occasionally, someone on a Mex Facebook Group will post something that reads like this. “My friend’s uncle, who lives in Mexico, says Mexico car insurance is for stupid Gringos, and you really don’t need it.” Peruse through the posts long enough, and you’ll eventually see a post that looks like this. If you’re gullible enough to believe any story that begins with “My friend’s Uncle…” or something along this line, you really shouldn’t leave your home. The only stupid Gringos are the ones who think Mexico has no laws and that they are somehow immune from obeying them. These fine MENSA candidates invariably end up in jail, broke, and sometimes dead. It’s a sad but real truth. It’s not the ‘cartels’ who seemingly risk their multi-billion dollar operation to hassle a dumb tourist. Rather it’s the visitors’ own acute stupidity that led to their misfortune.
When it comes to driving in Mexico (or anywhere, for that matter), ignorance is not bliss.
Hopefully, these people aren’t the ones you listen to about anything. Especially anything about our neighbors to the South.
Here is the reality spelled out.
If you are in a car accident South of the Border, it’s not like in the USA. First, the police show up and immediately assign fault. Then, they estimate an amount for damages and detain the ‘responsible’ party until they pay the full amount.
Now, if you have (good) insurance, you call them with their local (non-toll free) number from your US Mobile phone and report a claim. First, make sure you have Whatsapp installed on your phone. Many times you won’t know your location, but the agent on the phone will have Whatsapp. You can send your exact location using the app. Next, you wait until they or the authorities arrive. If the police arrive first, tell them, “Tengo Seguro.” It means you have insurance.
From here, you will know why you were smart and bought the good coverage instead of listening to your dumb friend’s uncle. If you bought a Mexico car insurance policy from Mexican Insurance Store .com. There are no bad policies or insurers offered for sale at Mexican Insurance Store.
Your Insurance representative that shows up will verify your policy with you. Try to have a copy on paper. They can also use your phone, or you can send it to their phone with Whatsapp. From here, 95% of all of your problems are taken care of. They will negotiate on your behalf and guarantee any damages assigned to you. Most importantly, you will not be detained or go to jail.
What happens if…
If you bought a cheap policy or were an imbecile and didn’t get insurance, start calling family and friends to get ready to wire money to you. La Policía will assign an amount in damages, and you need to pay up, right then and there. If you don’t have the money, cops will take you, under detainment, to a bank or Western Union to get the money. Can’t get the money they assign as your damages? You’ll get to sit in a Mexican jail until you do.
If you don’t agree with the amount, you will be seen by a traffic judge within 24 hours. They will most likely side with the cop and probably make you pay even more. This is because the damages will, no doubt, increase in the hours after the collision.
If there’s one thing you learn from all of this, it’s that:
- Yes! It would be best if you had Mexican auto insurance to bring your vehicle into Mexico.
- A well-backed policy from a reputable carrier will cover you completely and make sure you stay out of jail in the event of an accident.
- Cheap policies are just that. They can be nearly worthless at protecting you from the unpleasant aftermath of a collision. You might be able to use them for toilet paper in the jail cell.
- Nearly all policies purchased at the border kiosks appear cheap, but leave you quite vulnerable in a collision. Ultimately kiosks often cost you more, because significant fees are added to the total cost.
- Your dumb friend, the loud drunk guy, or the blustering fool on the Facebook group (who probably never actually went to Mexico) is an idiot. You probably shouldn’t be listening to idiots.
Here is an info-graphic we created to help you understand the process if you are involved in a collision South of the Border.