I am about to share with you my experience of what happened when I purchased insurance from Mexican Insurance provider Qualitas; one of these Mexican Insurance places that you see on the side of the freeway in San Ysidro just before crossing over into Tijuana Mexico.
The following info in this blog post is based on what I had to go though after my car was stolen in Playas Tijuana, hopefully this post will give you helpful advice you can use while you are dealing with the same-thing.
I purchased insurance from a broker Baja 4 Less; from these road side huts you see near the US Mexican boarder in San Ysidro. Address: 120 Willow Rd, San Ysidro, CA 92173, United States – Phone:+1 619-428-4406
Not really knowing the ins and outs of border insurance I ended up with Qualitas; Qualitas is a well known insurance provider from what I read online has a very bad reputation of what americans refer as the “Mexican run around.”
This blog post was written in real time, I started writing this blog post the day after my car was stolen in Tijuana. And will update the blog post as the story unfolds.
The experience is what I am after, the money is clearly gone. From what I have read online about the Mexican insurer Qualitas I more than likely have little or no chance recovering money and with cars value (not a large amount of money) The amount being so small even complicates this matter further.
None of Qualitas support numbers posted on their website or on the flier work 24 hours 01800 800 28 80
*that Qualitas have posted are 24 hours, this is false. No one picked up the phone, it took over 16 hours for someone to arrive and when they did arrive the agent seem drunk.
I found the most help from these numbers:
REAL PEOPLE PICK UP THE PHONE AND HELP!!! After calling American Citizen Services things really started to change, they have a team that works these issues and offers real help for Americans trapped in Tijuana Mexico.
American Citizen Services
Paseo de las Culturas s/n
Mesa de Otay
Delegación Centenario C.P. 22425
Tijuana, Baja California
Telephone: (664) 977-2000 from 7:30am to 4:00pm Monday through Friday (Dialing from the U.S. 011-52 + phone number)
Emergencies only: nights, weekends, and holidays, from the U.S. dial: (619) 692-2154 (From Mexico dial 001-619-692-2154)
The other REAL help came from another insurance provider completely. Lewis and Lewis their staff contacted Qualitas office in Tijuana on my behalf.
First off from my observation the reason car theft is so successful in Tijuana is because the system in Mexico is broken, the reporting, the police, the agents… this really helps the Insurance providers. It is completely broken system. This is the main reason cars from the US are targeted, cars stolen from US travelers goes unreported in most cases im sure. Why?
1. Because you are not able to file a report. In this case my car was stolen with everything, the US insurance cards, the vehicle registration, my wallet, everything. And Mexico would not take the report without the car registration, witch is very stupid, but again this really this favors the Mexican insurance provider that you will abandon the claim and be denied because of this runaround, frankly the feeling from the Mexican police didnt even want to take the report. Once I went to download a copy of the registration Nevada; then excuse was I had no driver license. I don’t think this would have any effect on the outcome in the US, as long as you contacted Qualitas agent. This is not a bases for denial of any claim.
Learning in this experience that you can report the Car Stolen in San Diego and Highway Patrol will share this info with the Mexican Authorities.
Most of what was told to me from the Qualitas Agent and the Ministerid Publico Copia turned out to be a total lie, all you need is the Vin of the car. If you find yourself in this situation call American Citizen Services help line above they will call the district attorney office while you are at the location and talk with the high ranking official over the desk agents head. It was successful.
Wanna tip you are not going to read on any of Qualitas websites? Take photo copies of all the documents in your car, again this is another silly thing these companies don’t tell you, they really forget you are buying travelers insurance. Meaning, you are likely to only have your car, or suitcase.. no safe place or separate place to keep this stuff.
I know Qualitas already knows this, and Qualitas requires you to file a report in Tijuana Mexico, because the Mexican runaround just wears you-out then you go home and forget about the whole thing.
One thing when reading this you should keep in mind, it is hard to know exactly what information is correct and what is false, most of the info I received from Qualitas agent has been false. Again the best information I received was from American Services number above, and they are responsible for all the success.
You want to avoid pursing the claim in Mexico, you are American! This is travel insurance, purchased in the USA, once you file the report *066 and contact the Qualitas agent, if the Mexican authorities refuse to take a report, you may just return to the US and start with legal action. File a claim with against bond held for the company selling insurance in the US, you can also contact the insurance commission. You purchased travel insurance from a US company, meaning you have all the legal power in the USA against this business in the US, Qualitas denying your claim meaning nothing, there is laws to protect you and this is what judges are for.
I am working now with this California Insurance Commission to get the contact details on Qualitas in San Diego.
So how did my car get stolen? Not much of a story… I went for a walk on the beach and when I came back 30-45 mins later and my car was gone about 6:30 in the afternoon.
Still daylight, there is areas in Playas Tijuana that car theifs watch, and if they dont know you they will steal your car. Someone will follow you and the the other will just take it. This is a great crime, you never get caught… they are never looking for the car. Every 3rd car on the road has US expired plates. When the cops pull you over you give them few bucks and they dont give a shit. even my girls car was from the US, it’s a full on enterprise.
So if you have your car stolen, your next step after calling the Insurance agent will be to make a report at the District Attoney’s office or Ministerid Publico Copia in Tijuana. Then the real fun begins.
Tijuana , BCN
The Qualitas agent Jose Maria Velasco showed up about 18 hours later, he gave me a questionnaire in Spanish, he was worthlesss. No information, told the policy was not valid because the car was over 15 years and never took any more calls, just blown off.
Monday morning! I have been waiting all weekend. But it really ended with more questions than answers. More run around from the Baja 4 Less. It was mind blowing, I actually contacted US based insurance place, and the rep “ruth” tells me they don’t sell policy’s from Qualitas. Seriously, its nearly laughable.
Also, I find out from the Nevada DMV that I need a notarized affidavit that the plates are stolen or this pieces of shit are going to want 250! So if you feel sorry for me for getting my car jacked in Mexico, you shouldn’t… feel sorry for me that I’m getting robed from the Americans. They are much better and enforcing, bullshit laws.
And you want to know the even more unsetting part of this story? Here I have been coming in Mexico for over a year, and then returning to the US dealing with the Nevada money grab of junkfees for nothing, even AFTER I lost everything in mexico it seem more appealing to me than living in the shit hole of the USA and being fucked out of my money.
What is my plan? Basically I am resin to my fate, I know I have little chance of really being paid at this point. You can see the hoops they are playing. I figure to do my best to write about what happen so people can read about this and I am going to file my claim against the agent I purchased in the USA. I will prolly need to file a small claims court case for my damages where the company will have to face real legal action and most likely will have the most success.
More coming soon!