American drivers who plan to take their cars into Mexico must have Mexican car insurance. While you might hope you don’t have to use this coverage, you cannot prevent every accident. Therefore, when damage occurs, you’ll want to get it fixed. Will your Mexican car insurance pay? Where do you go to have the repairs?
The good news is that Mexican car insurance often does pay for damage to your vehicle if it happens because of a hazard the policy covers. As long as you buy the appropriate coverage, your insurer can help you arrange for repairs.
Mexican Car Insurance Rules
By law, all American drivers entering Mexico must have car insurance. However, Mexico does not recognize American car insurance because of differences in the two insurance markets. Foreign drivers will need to buy Mexican auto insurance to be able to bring their car into the country.
Most American drivers (along with Mexican nationals) have to buy liability coverage. It pays for damage to another person’s vehicle or property if the policyholder is at fault for the wreck. This is one type of coverage that might help drivers pay for damage following wrecks.
However, since liability coverage will only pay in certain circumstances, it won’t pay for damage to the insured person’s own car. You will need to include physical damage coverage to help you pay for your own vehicle losses.
Paying for Damage to Your Car
Suppose that you have a car wreck in Mexico. For example, one of your tires might blow, causing you to lose control and hit a fence. Your physical damage insurance is the portion of your auto policy to use to pay for the repairs.
Physical damage coverage often pays not only for the damage your car sustains in a collision, but also for damage from non-accident hazards like fire, weather, vandalism and theft. Make sure to ask your agent to include this coverage on your policy, as it can save you a lot of money on repair costs. Your policy will include a deductible, which you will have to pay towards damage costs.
What if the Accident Was Not Your Fault?
Mexico assigns fault to drivers who cause accidents. As a result, the at-fault driver will have to pay for both their own damage costs and the damage they do to others. So, if another driver hits your vehicle, then it is their liability insurance that will pay for your property damage. Likewise, if you are at-fault, you will pay for their losses on your liability policy.
Keep in mind, however, that not all drivers carry liability insurance, even though the law requires it. If an at-fault driver has no insurance, then your own Mexican car insurance might include uninsured motorist coverage. This policy will pay for your damage costs in place of the missing liability coverage. Many policies do not apply deductibles to uninsured motorist coverage claims.
Where to Have Repairs Made
To make a claim for vehicle damage, you will contact your insurer. They will then start the claim and document the damage. They might even be able to dispatch emergency services to your location as needed. You can then arrange to transport the vehicle to an appropriate repair facility.
Your insurer will often direct you towards the right place to repair the vehicle. One benefit to Mexican auto insurance policies is that American drivers can often add a perk to their policy called a U.S. repair option. This coverage will allow you to move the vehicle back to the U.S. to have it repaired in a location you know. The coverage might also provide you with the necessary expenses to travel back to the states.