Is there really a secret to buying Mexican car insurance? With so many options and vendors offering Mexican car Insurance, knowing what to get and how much coverage is necessary isn’t easy. Learn the secret from one of the nation’s largest Mexico Insurance brokers.
Secret 1 Quality Mexico insurance policies are vital. There are NO standardized car insurance policies. They’re all different.
Unlike in the USA, Canada, and the EU, insurance policy limits and the ability of insurers to pay are not heavily regulated in Mexico. High-quality insurers like CHUBB, Mapfre, and HDI are outstanding and on par with any top-rated insurer in the USA. Second and third-rate insurers that are not rated or carry an AM Best rating of B or worse can leave the policyholder with Swiss cheese coverage. (i.e., TOO many holes or exclusions) In the event of an accident, many of these low-grade insurers leave you on the hook for normal repair costs. They cover meager labor rates ($15/hr or less). They train their claims staff to offer you wholesale rather than retail or private party values for your wrecked or stolen vehicle.
High-quality policies from CHUBB and Mapfre allow you to get your vehicle repaired in the USA. They also offer USD 1000 in towing, which can get you to the border from most of Mexico. The best part is that they don’t necessarily cost you more.
Finally, high-quality Mexico car insurance policies pay claims quickly and efficiently. Often, claims are settled in weeks rather than months or years.
Secret 2 Get Full Coverage Car Insurance (unless your car is old)
By now, most drivers in the USA know that ‘Liability Only’ insurance is a bad way to go. Sure, it covers the other person. Unfortunately, you have all the responsibility of towing, repairing, medical, and a rental replacement vehicle. You may be thinking, “Well, if it’s the other person’s fault, they’ll have to pay.” That’s incredibly naive. First, if the other person doesn’t have insurance, you get nothing. Second, if the other person takes off, you get nothing. Third, if you’re found at fault, you get nothing.
The same is true in Mexico. Right or wrong, expect to be found at fault in an accident. There are exceptions. If you speak excellent Spanish and can rally witnesses, or have compelling (video) evidence in your favor, there may be a chance.
Bottom line: Unless you’re willing to walk away from any vehicle you bring into Mexico and take care of any additional liability out of your own pocket, get full coverage.
Please understand, full-coverage insurance for tourists traveling in Mexico is only available to vehicles under 20 years old.
Secret 3 When buying Mexico Insurance policies, try to match your car insurance coverage at home.
Many travelers try to pinch pennies when buying insurance. If nothing happens, you’re fine. When something does happen, be glad you have the good stuff. Alternatively, expect to be very upset if you went cheap.
If your policy is $100,000 at home, get at least that in Mexico. Own a nicer car or a pricey RV? Buy at least $300,000 coverage.
Matching your home policy removes the guesswork on how much insurance to buy in Mexico. If it’s good enough for you at home, it’s probably good enough South of the Border.
Secret 4 When quoting car insurance for Mexican vehicles be sure of your choices.
Buying a Mexican car insurance policy online is really straightforward, but you must get correct checkboxes, or it could render your policy null and void.
The second entry to make sure you get right is “Actual Cash Value.” Mexico Insurance companies use “Actual Cash Value” as a basis for valuing vehicles in the event of a total loss due to collision or theft. Overvaluing your vehicle only serves to increase your premium. Use industry benchmarks like Kelley Blue Book to determine the value of your vehicle.
Everybody thinks they have a good Mexican car insurance policy until they need to use it. Don’t guess if you have proper coverage.
Secret 5 Good Mexican insurance policies eliminate 95% of all potential problems
This is absolutely true. If you are in an accident, the first thing you must do is call your insurance company to report a claim and get an adjuster onsite. Know the non-800 number to call the insurance carrier from your mobile phone. We recommend putting it along with your policy number as a contact entry on your phone. Also, save the policy PDF files on your phone too.
A Mexican adjuster serves as your advocate and verifies to authorities that you have Mexican car insurance. From here on out, expect ‘royal’ treatment.
If you don’t have enough coverage, no problem. La Policia will hold you in jail until you make full restitution. The police officer on-site or a traffic judge within 48 hours determines the amount of damages. If you don’t have insurance or can’t make restitution, in full, you’ll be held in jail. HINT: You never want to be in a Mexican Jail.
Secret 6 Never buy Mexico car insurance policies at one of the border kiosks
Those kiosks at the border are not a good value. Count on overpriced, inferior quality policies. Moreover, many of them are liability only. Remember about liability-only policies.
In some cases, the policies at the border aren’t even worth the paper they’re printed on. Most of the time, the limits of coverage specified are meager, like USD 10,000 and often less.
Any liability limit less than $100,000 in most states is inadequate. $300,000 is needed in most states now due to recently increased fatality requirements.
Secret 7 Car insurance for Mexican vehicles is affordable. Don’t be cheap!
As with all things in life, you get what you pay for.
Yes, South of the Border is a wonderful bargain destination for food, accommodations, and leisure activity. It’s one of the reasons Mexico remains a top worldwide tourist destination.
With all of that, it’s super important not to fall into the cheap trap. Many times, inferior products and services are offered to those who are only interested in being cheap, cheap, cheap. These policies are no exception. Mexicans aren’t stupid and know the meaning of value and quality. They want to accommodate all the different personalities who visit their country.
The smart traveler understands this in ways a news-hyped tourist never will. So don’t fall into that trap of being too cheap. In the end, the joke is always on you!
The best secret to buying Mexican car insurance is to have it before you enter Mexico.