I just revived this question about buying Mexican car insurance:
I am wanting to travel in Mexico by car. I see the Mexican insurers on the side of the road right before I cross, but it is unclear if Mexican Insurance will really help. Do I need this insurance when crossing into Mexico?
Santa Barbara, CA
Thanks for the question Teri,
Let me clarify what happens in Mexico when you get into an auto accident. When you are at fault in any kind of accident that has caused another party loss, you are required to make this person whole to damaged party’s satisfaction or the satisfaction of the highest ranking official on the scene, right on the spot. If you are unable to do so, you will go to jail till someone else can bring the money to pay for you. Mexican law says: Any party that has been damaged by another has the right to be made whole again. And that happens right at the site of the accident.
That being said – What does Mexican Insurance provide me?
Well for one thing it can keep you from going to jail, that seems important, but it really isn’t. If you have Mexican car insurance it is best to let them handle it. They will show up and settle your damages and you will be free to go. This is what you are paying for. If your car is disabled and unable to cross the border, this is a real problem. Mexican Insurance companies are not the quickest to settle and will almost always want to repair your car. Filing a police report in Mexico can be very challenging and is really filing a criminal complaint against the other driver. Hopefully, these are issues that you’ll never have to endure, being a victim in a car accident in Mexico.
So what happens if I am without Mexican car insurance?
Let me give you some tips!
#1. Never try to speak Spanish to them if you don’t know Spanish. Even if you know “some” Spanish it is best to keep your mouth shut, if they want to communicate something to you, trust me, someone with some English will show up.
#2. Work with what you got on you – Don’t worry, I think you would be surprised how far a few bucks will get you. If you feel like you are in real trouble, I think people forget, all else fails, give them the car. Tell the bank someone in Mexico stole the car, how are they going to know. If you feel like you are being hustled or apart of some con, remain calm and do your best to remove your self and contact the US consulate office. These people are for the most part harmless, they just want your money. The funny part about that is when, your car shows up in Arizona after some Mexicans kidnapped someone and it’s got 3 dead bodies in the trunk. lol! Bank calls you, “We got your car back!”
I once had stitches in my arm from surfing. In the US, this would have cost 600-1300 in the emergency room. In Mexico it was $30 dollars. My point is, even if you kill someone, few hundred should clear things right up! lol I was joking of course.
#3. This might just be the only reason you should have border insurance, If you have a balance on your car and you are not prepared to pay it off. Keep in mind that there will be a gap between what the border insurance offers you and what the car is worth. If you don’t have an extra 2-4k sitting around to pay off your finance company, buy the gap insurance at the border.
#4 It is best not to be to flashy, a lower profile is recommended. Leave the jewels at home.
If you do buy Mexican Car Insurance, make sure the company is listed in good standing at the California Insurance Commission. Every border insurance company has to have an agent listed with the California Insurance Commission – if you have problems with your insurance coverage while in Mexico, a call to the California agent can help the process along.