Americans driving into Mexico will need auto insurance. More specifically, they will need Mexican auto coverage. This is not the same thing as their American policies. It will contain a few familiar elements of coverage. However, it will also offer some unique protection. Among these might be options for American repairs, travel expenses coverage and legal assistance. As a foreigner in Mexico, you’ll likely find this protection crucial to add to your coverage. Why do you need it?
Don’t let yourself become stranded in Mexico because you lack the resources to get home. Don’t get put in a hard position because you can’t repair your car to your satisfaction. Instead, ask your agent about these additional coverage elements.
The Differences in Mexican Auto Insurance
Mexico and the United States are different legal institutions. Once you cross the border, you and your vehicle will come under the jurisdiction of Mexican law. If you encounter a problem involving auto insurance, you’ll have to follow local rules. That means turning to a Mexican auto policy to cover your needs.
You might simply think you can drive in Mexico using your American auto insurance. You’d be wrong. Mexican insurance law differs from the U.S.’s. Therefore, your American policy will void upon crossing the border. Even so, you can’t just keep driving.
Mexican law requires all drivers, including Americans, to carry car insurance. You’ll have to obtain a Mexican policy before your trip. Your coverage will often contain:
- Liability insurance for damage you cause others
- Property damage insurance for damage to your own vehicle
- Medical payments coverage
- Theft and vandalism protection
- Roadside assistance supplements
- Travel expense coverage
- Legal counsel protection
- U.S. repair options
Many aspects of these policies will likely look very familiar to you. However, each of them will conform to the rules of the Mexican insurance market.
Let’s take a closer look at three of these options. To Americans, travel expenses, legal protection and U.S. repair options might seem confusing. Still, they might prove critical to your security if you have a wreck.
Travel Expense Coverage
Let’s say you have a wreck in Mexico. Your car might sustain damage that is beyond repair. Or, you might simply be unable to drive it until you have it fixed. That’s likely to put a hitch in your travel plans. It might mean you need to return home to pick up the pieces.
But, going home might prove hard. You might need to book a last-minute flight, hotel or use a rental car for your return. Flights booked close to departure often prove very expensive. Rental cars will also probably run a pretty penny, particularly if you need a larger vehicle. These are extra expenses you likely didn’t plan for on your trip. Therefore, see if your policy provides return travel coverage. You’ll be able to better manage these costs and might even pay nothing in extra fees.
Legal Counsel Protection
If you are at-fault in a wreck in Mexico, you’ll probably have to use your auto liability insurance. It'll help you compensate parties harmed by your mistakes. Nevertheless, Mexican insurance law differs from U.S. law. The process for determining fault might prove unfamiliar to U.S. drivers.
You will have to demonstrate to the authorities that you have active coverage. Sometimes, you can do this at the scene of the accident. Still, you might face arrest or detainment until you can verify coverage and settle. This is a frequent occurrence in Mexico, though U.S. drivers often don’t realize it.
The legal coverage portion of your Mexican car insurance can often help you in cases like these. Your insurance company might help you pay bond to get out of jail. They might also assist you with finding a lawyer to represent you. While detainment might seem scary, don't panic. You generally will receive ample protection from your insurance.
U.S. Repairs Options
Most people want to use a repair service with which they are familiar. In America, your car insurer often will allow you to choose the mechanic to handle damage repairs. The same goes in Mexico.
However, Mexican insurers usually realize that American drivers have special cases. They’ll often include an option on your coverage to have repairs made in the U.S. However, this will mean crossing an international border to get home and get repairs.
Many Mexican insurers will therefore include the U.S. repair option. Rather than forcing you to have repairs made in Mexico, you can instead take your car to a mechanic you trust at home. The insurer will work with you and the mechanic to ensure everyone receives the appropriate settlement.
To many American drivers, these added elements of protection often prove very beneficial. They exist because you might encounter unique challenges after a wreck or other problem in Mexico. Therefore, ask one of our agents at 800-222-0158 to include these types of protection on your policy.
Also Read: Seeking Vehicle Repairs in Mexico