Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • Purchasing car insurance in the United States does not mean your coverage will extend into Mexico
  • Car insurance policies from the U.S. are often considered invalid in Mexico
  • Your insurance provider may offer policies that provide minimal coverage near the border
  • Your current insurance provider may have suggestions on reputable insurance carriers that you can work within Mexico
  • Before taking your vehicle into Mexico, make sure you fully understand what your policies provide coverage for

When you drive your vehicle into Mexico, your car insurance from the U.S. will often be inadequate to protect you from the risks you’ll face.

Car insurance requirements are different in Mexico, which means you will need to purchase coverage designed to work in Mexico and issued by a Mexico-based insurance provider.

It’s important to do your research and purchase coverage before crossing into Mexico; waiting until an incident occurs may be too late.

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Car Insurance for Your Time in Mexico

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Driving in Mexico means that there are coverage options you need to purchase and carry during your travels regardless of who owns or operates the vehicle.

Liability insurance is a type of coverage that’s applicable in most situations, and it is legally required under Mexico’s insurance requirements.

Remember that carrying liability coverage in different parts of Mexico may not be required, but this can leave you without the ability to cover a loss you have caused.

Liability coverage protects you from losses you cause or are responsible for which protects you from facing lawsuits or jail time on your own.

The car insurance you choose to purchase for your time in Mexico may include other coverage options, such as the following:

  • Legal assistance coverage
  • Medical expense coverage
  • Towing expense coverage

Similar to coverage options in the U.S., you can choose to carry different limits of coverage as well as physical damage coverage for your car.

Make sure that any insurance policy you purchase for use in Mexico is underwritten by a licensed and reputable provider; this means a provider that is legally allowed to issue coverage in Mexico.

Purchasing coverage from a U.S.-based provider may not meet the requirements of Mexican insurance laws.

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Buying Car Insurance for Use in Mexico

Purchasing coverage for your time in Mexico means working with an insurance provider that can write and issue policies for use in Mexico.

While your current provider may offer policy supplements for your time in Mexico, you may need to purchase coverage from a Mexican insurance provider depending on your needs.

If you are the owner of your vehicle, it’s important to take the following information to the insurance provider:

  • Vehicle registration
  • Travel details
  • Vehicle specification
  • Vehicle operators
  • Where you’ll be lodging during your trip

They will need this information to write your policy.

If you’re renting a vehicle, you’ll also need to bring in a letter from the owner that shows you have authority to take the vehicle into Mexico. This letter must be notarized.

While the rental agency may offer you some coverage for your trip, you should purchase more coverage to meet your needs.

Things to Remember While Driving in Mexico

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As in the United States, auto accidents are handled as civil or criminal actions, and this means that the incident may need to be investigated.

While there have been misconceptions about how auto incidents are handled in Mexico, Mexican law has advanced, and drivers are often treated as innocent until proven guilty, similar to U.S. law.

If an auto accident involves injuries, death, or property loss, the local law enforcement may conduct an investigation into the event.

Although the concept may be similar to how the U.S. handles auto accidents, there are different things to consider since you are not in your home country.

If you need assistance answering questions about the accident, you may request the American Consulate be contacted on your behalf.

While you may be arrested after an accident, you can request bail as long as you provide an amount necessary to cover the fines and damages that have occurred.

Your insurance policy purchased for use in Mexico can help verify and guarantee this bail, allowing you to be released.

Covering Your Bases

Traveling into Mexico via car means you need to take extra precautions to keep yourself safe, and this includes purchasing car insurance designed for use in Mexico. If you have car insurance in the U.S., your insurance policy often does not provide any protection in Mexico.

Before making your trip to Mexico, there are resources to check that the U.S. Department of State puts in place for travelers.

There is an entire section online devoted to potential threats and perils in Mexico, allowing you to plan ahead for any situations that may arise.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of State also issues travel warnings, which are notices about potentially hazardous situations occurring in specific locations in Mexico.

Make sure to stay current with these notifications before and during your trip so you can make adjustments to your plans as needed.

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