When you plan to drive from the U.S. into Mexico, you are going to have to buy a Mexican car insurance policy. Mexico does not recognize U.S. policies because they come from a separate legal jurisdiction. Therefore, the terms of an Mexican policy are different from the terms of a policy stateside. One of the less familiar portions of a Mexican policy might be its legal assistance. Why do you need this coverage?
Understanding Mexican Legal Requirements
All drivers, including foreign drivers, have to carry car insurance in Mexico. The law applies throughout the country. Americans drivers must have coverage throughout the duration of their stay in Mexico.
Like in most U.S. states, Mexico requires drivers to carry liability insurance. This is sometimes called at-fault insurance. It applies when the insured driver causes an accident that harms someone else. If you hit another car from behind, then your liability policy might pay the other driver for their injuries or vehicle damage. Because you hit this person from behind, you might be at-fault. Therefore, you will have to pay up.
However, determining fault in car wrecks often involves evaluation by the authorities. When it comes to the respective legal techniques, the U.S. and Mexico differ.
What Happens in At-Fault Cases in Mexico
Legal assistance coverage comes into play when drivers are at-fault for wrecks. Mexican at-fault laws are different than America’s, so the need for this coverage is higher.
In the U.S., drivers cannot face a fault charge until the authorities gather evidence. It usually takes a while for insurers to determine the at-fault party. Only after the parties determine fault can a claim occur on the at-fault party’s policy. Often, people don’t even know who was at fault when they leave the accident scene.
However, in Mexico, the process is a bit different. Until the authorities can prove you were not at fault, they might presume you responsible. For this reason, they might arrest or detain you while the investigation is ongoing. In these cases, it is not uncommon for at-fault suspects to go to jail or the police station. Arrest can be a scary experience, especially for foreign tourists.
Still, even if you get detained, then you are not considered automatically guilty. Due process and the right to fair legal evaluation still apply. The legal system just system a bit differently. Your Mexican auto policy will often offer you legal assistance in these cases.
How Legal Assistance Coverage Works
If the police detain you because you are a suspect in an at-fault wreck, then turn to your Mexican auto insurance. There are various benefits that your coverage might provide. They can usually help you with bail bond (if necessary) and the costs of an attorney. You will have assistance available if you go before a judge to determine final fault and guilt in the wreck.
Often, the authorities will want to know if you have the means to pay for the damage you do to others. That is why you need to have active auto liability insurance. As long as you do, your coverage will show proof of financial responsibility. This can make the process of determining fault in a wreck much easier. Therefore, your risk of a long-term detainment might drop significantly.
Always carry proof of insurance in your vehicle during your trip to Mexico. In case of an accident, immediately call your insurer. Most insurers can offer English-speaking claims representatives. Always cooperate with the authorities and answer their questions honestly. If you don't understand a question, then tell them so. If necessary, your insurer can tell you about the legal assistance your policy will provide. Should you face detainment, they can provide you with the necessary resources.