Can I Drive Someone Else’s Car into Mexico?
In some cases, you may not want to drive your personal car into Mexico. So can you travel to Mexico even if you’re not driving your personal vehicle?
The short answer is yes, it is technically possible for you to drive someone else’s vehicle in Mexico. This doesn’t mean that you should, however. No matter whose vehicle you are driving, there are serious considerations to take into account before crossing the border.
Driving the vehicle itself takes no special documentation. You will generally need a TIP (temporary vehicle importation permit) as you would with your own personal vehicle, and you may need to prove that you have permission to operate the vehicle, a notarized letter stating the owner’s permission for the dates you will be traveling should be sufficient, if possible you could write the letter of permission in both English and Spanish.
What Happens if You Crash Someone Else’s Vehicle in Mexico?
Crashing another person’s car in Mexico can land you in a world of trouble, especially if you cannot prove that you were given permission to operate the vehicle. Depending on the severity of the crash, you could face a range of charges and consequences from fines to even jailtime. You may need to get in contact with the vehicle’s owner (whether they are in Mexico or not) to prove that you were given permission to drive the vehicle.
Also keep in mind that any documentation you would normally bring for your personal vehicle should be brought with another person’s vehicle, including the registration, your U.S. driver’s license, etc.
Can You Insure Someone Else’s Car to travel to Mexico?
All vehicles on Mexico roadways must carry Mexico auto insurance. It is generally recommended that you purchase this car insurance before crossing the border into Mexico. The owner of the vehicle may have to sign the Mexico auto insurance policy to validate it. If they fail to do so, you could be looking at driving without proper insurance, which is illegal in Mexico.
Also keep in mind that the amount of Mexico car insurance you can purchase depends on the amount of American insurance already on the vehicle. If your friend’s vehicle only has minimum liability, for example, the vehicle can only be insured for liability insurance in Mexico. For complete protection, make sure whichever car you are borrowing has full coverage auto insurance. This can translate to Mexico auto insurance to include:
• Physical Damage Coverage: Physical damage coverage on a Mexico auto insurance policy is similar to comprehensive and collision coverage on an American auto insurance policy. This insurance may cover damages to the vehicle caused by fire, wind, hail, lightning, falling objects, theft, vandalism, collisions with another vehicle or object, and more.
• Liability: Liability insurance covers bodily injury and property damage you may cause someone else while operating the insured vehicle. This insurance is required in Mexico.
• Medical Payments: Medical payments coverage helps with you and your passengers’ medical bills after an accident, no matter who caused the accident.
• Roadside Assistance: Roadside assistance helps with trip interruption expenses such as a blown tire, running out of gas and towing.
Can You Drive a Rental to Mexico?
Say that you want to rent a vehicle instead of borrowing one. While it may be possible to drive a rented vehicle into Mexico, it can be difficult to find an American rental service that will allow this. If they do, they may place a limit on how far into Mexico you can travel with the vehicle. You can rent a vehicle in Mexico, however. These rentals generally come with Mexico auto insurance already factored into the cost, and it is recommended that you carry sufficient third party liability as well as coverage for the damage to the rental vehicle.
If you do want to drive your own vehicle into Mexico, you will need to buy a Mexico auto insurance policy and a temporary import permit (TIP).
When driving your own vehicle, make sure to have important documents ready. This include the vehicle’s registration, your TIP, American driver’s license, passport, rental agreement (if applicable) and proof of insurance.