You are having a wonderful road trip to Mexico. However, you suddenly turn around and see that someone has stolen your car. Some shards of broken glass might be the only evidence. What can you do in this situation? Does your car insurance offer any help?
The good news is, Mexican car insurance can provide help for most instances of car theft. Yet, you'll have to buy the correct coverage to ensure it does. Talk to a Sanborn's Insurance agent. We can help you better understand the ins and outs of theft insurance. At the end of the day, it is always better to carry theft coverage.
The Costs of Car Theft
If your car gets stolen, think of what you have lost. The vehicle itself is gone. That value alone will likely cost you a pretty penny to recover, repair or replace. If you are still paying for your vehicle, make sure you have added GAP to your coverage so that in case the vehicle is stolen you may receive the unpaid net balance. Factor in lost possessions, rental vehicle costs and new travel arrangements. You might start to worry about how you can recover from such a loss. If you have Mexico auto insurance, you will likely have help available.
Your Car Insurance Theft Benefits
All Americans who take their cars into Mexico must insure the vehicle with a Mexican auto policy. You cannot use an American policy in Mexico, as most will become void. Mexico does not recognize U.S. policies.
One perk for foreign drivers is that you can often make a Mexican policy active only for the duration of your trip. Your policy will often contain many familiar coverage limits, like theft insurance. These will follow Mexican law and regulations.
However, just because you buy Mexican auto insurance doesn't mean you have theft coverage. You will likely need to buy a comprehensive policy to achieve access to coverage. Simply carrying a policy that only includes liability coverage will not help you. Furthermore, ask your agent if your policy contains both total theft and partial theft insurance.
- Total theft insurance covers your vehicle if it gets totally stolen. I.e. someone drives away in it. Coverage might pay for many or all costs related to replacing the vehicle.
- Partial theft insurance pays if only certain parts of the vehicle get stolen. For example, if someone steals your battery, headlights or bumper, you can usually claim them on this coverage.
Please note, without both coverage items, you might not be able to claim all damages based on the theft you face.
Talk to your agent about the coverage limits you need for each type of protection. If your agency offers you total replacement coverage, you should take this protection. It will help you replace the vehicle with a new one at similar value. Keep in mind, you will likely have to pay deductibles on both total- and partial-theft coverage. Your policy also likely won't pay to replace possessions inside the stolen vehicle. You might need travel insurance to help you get this coverage.
If you experience any type of car theft, take action immediately.
- Call the police. You can report theft through three different offices: The District Attorney (Ministerio Publico), the Federal Police (PFP) or the Municipal Police (Seguridad Publica).
- Provide the police details about the vehicle. Include its vehicle identification number (VIN) and license plate numbers. Tell them about the color and identifying characteristics. You will likely have to provide your license number and insurance information.
- Call your Mexican insurance company immediately. Do not wait until after you get back to the States. Some insurers will deny claims if you wait too long to call them.
- If your driver's license, passport, social security information, visas, FMM or other private papers, get stolen with the vehicle, immediately contact the U.S. authorities in Mexico. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City will be your main point of contact. The U.S. consulates in various cities can also offer convenient services. The U.S. authorities will help you get the right paperwork to protect your identity and return to the States.
- Report the vehicle theft to your hometown police back in the U.S. They will need to know so that no one ever confuses a thief driving the car with you, the victim.
- Call your American auto insurer. You must notify them of the vehicle theft. Remember though, your Mexican insurer will be the party processing the theft claim.
Reporting vehicle theft in Mexico seems like a big hassle, no matter how easy the authorities try to make it. Therefore, to reduce the risk of theft, do everything you can to prevent vehicle theft in the first place.
Keep your doors locked, arm your security systems and hide important valuables you leave in the car. You can even buy extra protective items, like steering wheel bars, to protect your car even further. Never leave the vehicle alone in an unsafe area. The more precautions you take, the better you might be able to prevent vehicle theft during your trip to Mexico.
Also Read: Road Trips in Baja. Are they Safe?