If I Drive into Mexico, Does My Insurance Cover Me?

Last Updated on November 12, 2020

There’s so much to love about Mexico – vibrant culture, great food, and beautiful weather. If you live in a border state like Texas, California, or Arizona, it’s fairly easy to drive into Mexico if you want to visit. However, it’s important to make sure you have appropriate insurance coverage before you drive into Mexico. Here’s what you need to know about car insurance south of the border.

If I Drive into Mexico, Will My Insurance Cover Me?

What Does My American Insurance Cover?

Unfortunately, American car insurance companies can’t provide much coverage for their customers when they drive into Mexico. Most companies will cover you in Mexico as long as you don’t drive too far from the border – typically your coverage will extend a 50-mile radius into Mexico. It’s important to check with your insurance company and confirm this with them before your trip, as every company offers slightly different coverage. However, you’re still going to need to purchase additional Mexican liability coverage.

What Kind of Mexican Liability Coverage Do I Need?

American car insurance policies do not meet Mexico’s liability coverage requirements. Throughout Mexico, drivers are required to have a basic liability policy covering 50,000 pesos worth of damage. However, this only converts to about $3800, which isn’t enough to cover most accidents. It’s prudent to purchase a more extensive liability policy to make sure you are covered in the event of a more serious accident. Mexican law states that if you are the responsible party in an auto accident that results in death, you will need to pay around 483,000 pesos or $25,000. Ideally, you should invest in a liability policy that covers at least that amount.

You may also want to invest in further coverage for your travels in Mexico. In addition to liability coverage, it can also be helpful to invest in a policy that covers damages to your own vehicle and personal medical payments. This will ensure that you’re financially covered even if the other party in a crash doesn’t have liability coverage. It can also be helpful to purchase a policy that includes roadside assistance, which can help if you break down while traveling in Mexico. Legal assistance is another good add-on, as the Mexican legal system is different from the American legal system.

How Can I Purchase a Temporary Mexican Insurance Policy?

It’s fairly easy to purchase a temporary insurance policy for traveling into Mexico. First, you should talk to your American insurance agent – since they are familiar with the industry, they can recommend companies for you to look into, and they can also help you decide how much coverage you need. Then, you can easily purchase a temporary Mexican insurance policy online. Be sure to get quotes from a few different companies before making your purchase, just as you would with American insurance. Luckily, these policies are quite affordable – just a few hundred dollars can cover you for six months. This will enable you to travel back and forth to Mexico multiple times if you desire.

What Information Do You Need to Buy Mexican Insurance

The requirements for an auto insurance policy in Mexico aren’t much different than the requirements in the United States. When purchasing a policy for your trip south of the border, the insurance agent will usually ask for:

  • What kind of car you drive (make, model, year)
  • How much your vehicle is worth
  • If you are towing anything behind your vehicle
  • What part of Mexico you’ll be driving to
  • How long you plan on staying in Mexico
  • Who will be driving the car (your spouse, kids, friends, etc.) and their ages

What Happens If I Don’t Purchase Mexican Insurance?

It can be tempting to risk driving into Mexico without insurance, but you shouldn’t. If you get caught driving without insurance by the Mexican police, you could end up paying a hefty fine or even serving jail time. Even worse, if you get into an accident without coverage in Mexico, you could end up owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay for vehicle repairs and medical bills. Even if the risk of getting in an accident is relatively low, it’s still worthwhile to spend a few hundred dollars on protection to avoid crippling financial responsibility later on.

What Documents Do I Need to Travel to Mexico?

Before traveling into Mexico, it’s important to make sure you have all the necessary documents. Getting across the border into Mexico typically doesn’t take too long, but getting back into the United States after your trip is an extensive process. Travelers are highly scrutinized, so make sure you have all the documents you need to avoid getting stuck. To get into Mexico, you will need your American driver’s license and passport, as well as proof of Mexican car insurance. You can request this from your new insurance company when you purchase your policy. Make sure to purchase your policy well in advance of your trip to ensure you will have proof of insurance. If you’re going more than 12 miles south of the United States border, you’re also going to have to fill out a Mexican vehicle import permit for your car and pay a security deposit. This will all be handled at the Mexican border station before you head into the country.

What Should I Do If I’m Moving to Mexico?

If you’re going to be moving to Mexico for an extended period of time, you’ll want to purchase a more extensive car insurance policy. Luckily, it’s very easy to purchase these policies online, and you can get fairly good rates for your time in Mexico.

Companies like GNP, ABA, Ace, El Aguila, and GE Seguros make it easy for Americans to purchase auto insurance in Mexico. These companies all offer policies that look and read just like American auto insurance policies. They include liability coverage, property/bodily injury coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and everything else you would expect to see in an American policy. Additionally, all policy terms are available in English, so you will not have any problem understanding them.

If you are planning on a long-term move to Mexico, you may want to cancel your American insurance policy, or at least pause it, as you won’t want to pay for additional coverage you’re not using.

Final Word on Car Insurance in Mexico

Whether you’re visiting family, going on a work trip, or relaxing on vacation, Mexico has so much to offer. Make sure you get appropriate car insurance coverage before driving into Mexico to avoid being stranded without coverage in the event of an accident. If you live in a border-state such as Texas or California, you should be able to easily find an auto insurance company to cover your entire stay in Mexico.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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