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FAQ Insurance for Mexico

Turtle-Toad
Explorer
Explorer
There seems to be a lot of confusion about Mexican Insurance so I thought I’d take a stab at putting together this little primer. My experience is primarily in Baja but I believe that this will apply anywhere in Mexico.

NOTICE!! Change to liability requirements.



I received the following from Discover Baja on 02/08/13

Mexican Federal Law has changed regarding liability amounts for death coverage. Formerly, compensation in case of a death was calculated on 730 days of the General Minimum Wage or the Highest Professional Minimum Wage. The new law stipulates that death compensation will be based on 5,000 days of the General Minimum Wage or the Highest Professional Minimum Wage. Formerly, in general, $50,000 liability was enough. THAT IS NO LONGER THE CASE. To make matters even more complicated. each state in Mexico has a different minimum wage, so each state has a different death liability amount. To give you an idea, in Baja California (Norte) the death liability could be $143,838 per person while Baja California Sur it could be $335,223 per person.

Both of Discover Baja's insurance companies have been working with their lawyers to clarify this issue and offer new products. They have been accommodating to their customers. If you have an ACE Seguros insurance policy written before February 1, 2013, ACE will increase the liability amount to $300,000 until the end of the policy at no additional cost to you. If you have an HDI policy written before February 16, 2013, they too will increase the liability of existing policies at no additional cost.

We are writing the new liability amounts of $300,000 and $500,000 into our insurance programs. We will keep you posted of any other developments. If you have questions, be sure and give us a call.


Now back to my original post

Mexico Insurance:
Applies to Baja and mainland Mexico
(A lot of this also applies to boats and trailers).
Anytime you cross the border, while it’s not a law, you should have (or get) Mexican insurance. This applies even if it’s only a short visit of a few hours. US and Canada liability insurance is not recognized in Mexico and without liability insurance, you will end up in jail if you’re involved in any kind of accident. Traffic accidents are considered felonies in Mexico and if you don’t have insurance, they hold you and impound your vehicle until fault is determined and restitution is arranged.

It is also recommended that you get the “Legal” rider; this provides you with an on-the-spot agent to help you with the paperwork and navigating the sometimes-confusing (to gringos) legal system.

On Edit (8/7/09) Mexbungalows has provided additional information on the importance of the "Legal" rider. It is much more important than I thought. I've copied his post below, and added some more comments from qtla9111 and myself;

Estimado Amigo,

Seguros para los chofers isn´t mandatory nor is insurance mandatory for automobiles. Anyone applying for a fianza de importacion temporal at Bancercito does not need to show any kind of insurance document.

Aqui en Mexico it is assumed that all drivers have the ability to satisfy any and all claims arising out of an accident. Of course it is absurd to think that many Mexican vehicles carry liability or any other type of insurance.

Drivers that are involved in a minor accident who have no way to prove financial responsibility are detener (arrested) and brought to the commandancia (police station).
However, mexican law also protects the driver. if you were to run over someone who was crossing the road, and the transit police showed negligence on the pedestrian or cyclists part, you would not be held responsible. If you hit a person who is crossing under or within 150 meters of a pedestrian bridge, the driver is not liable.

If the accident is serious enough, drivers are arrested and must sort things out at la commandancia. If the adjudged guilty party cannot satisfy all claims against him he will spend the nexty few days in jail and then be transferred to a state prison ¿entiendes? Prison is an extreme example but not unheard of. It would probably require a death or drunk driving conviction.

Mexican coverage underwritten by anyone anywhere does not agree to satisfy claims fast enough to keep a person from going to prison. I think he meant jail, see above. Sometimes a claim can take months to sort out while the guilty party remains behind bars.

To cover this period between accident and renumeration, many Mexico Insurance based in the states offer supplemental coverage that is solely of their own origin. This coverage may go by any one of several names: Legal Fees, Lawyer, etc. It means that the alliance of surplus line brokers in the USA have established a fast-reaction fund that their agents in Mexico can access to satisfy legal claims. When the claim is settled and the broker will get his DESPOSIT GUARANTEE back once the claim is settled.

May I suggest that anyone wishing to verify or query this information get in touch with the Lewis & Lewis brokerage in California. They have a website and toll free telephone number.


If your US insurance does not provide for Fire/Theft/Collision coverage on your vehicle in Mexico, (and most don’t) then it is recommended (and probably required by your lien holder) that you get a full coverage policy, not just Liability/Legal. These policies are based on the current bluebook value of your vehicle. You will have to provide this dollar value so check it on the internet ahead of time. One source for this is the online NADA Guides at NADA Guides. This site covers autos, RV’s, boats, and motorcycles.

Historically, the way the policies are priced (both full and liability/legal), if you’re going to spend more than 3 weeks in Mexico, it’s cheaper to get a full-year policy. Get quotes both ways.

If you're using the Discover Baja website, be aware of the "1 year/90 day" option. This is only offered by GE-Seguro and is normally a lot cheaper than other options. What it is, is a policy that covers you for a total of 90 days in a years time. If you're going to be crossing the border multiple times during the year, it's the only way to go. The 90 days don't have to be in a continuous block, you can use a week (or month) now and another one later. Of course, the strange thing about it is, I can't figure out how they would know how long you've been in Mexico, since they only stamp your FM-T on the first crossing, and just look at it on subsequent crossings.

If your vehicle(s) are financed, you will also need a letter from the lien-holder authorizing you to take the vehicle across the border. Most lien-holders require that they be listed on the Mexican insurance policy so you should get that letter before buying the insurance. On Edit (05/09/09). Even if your registration does not list a lien holder, remember that most financing contracts do not allow you to take the vehicle out of the country. The penalty for doing so can be quite expensive, ranging from a fine or increase in interest rate all the way up to requiring you to pay up in full or lose the vehicle. So at least read the contract very carefully; better yet, call your agent and ask!

Another thing to remember, most RV/Auto/Boat policies don’t cover theft of personal items (except for full-timers RV policies). This is normally covered by your home-owners (or renters) insurance, which in most cases also isn’t valid in Mexico. So check with your home-owner carrier and consider picking up a personal property rider from your Mexican provider or adding it to your US policy (if it applies in Mexico).

A word of warning; not all of the insurance sellers along the border are legit so, if you’re buying at the border, make sure you pick a good one. Insurance is probably the easiest item to take care of for a border crossing because you can do it in advance, either buy it through a travel club or on-line.

Most of the on-line sites allow you to get a quote, pay for the policy, and print out the policy, without getting out of your pj’s.

Two of the better known Baja travel clubs (their insurance also covers mainland Mexico) and what they offer are :

Vagabundos del Mar: FMT (visa), Insurance, Fishing License, Boat License, Travelers Aid, On-Line Forum, Med Evac Services, Caravans, Fiestas, Tours & on-line road, weather, and fishing reports. Discounts at most RV parks and many restaurants and other business’s in Baja. Club also has functions and get-togethers in the US.

Insurance is through AdaVis Insurance, Quotes and purchase on-line or by telephone.

Discover Baja: Same as above (with the exception of the U.S. get-togethers), plus Spanish lessons and Satellite Phone rentals.

Insurance is through GE Seguros & ACE Seguros. Quotes and purchase on-line.

One of the on-line sites is MexPro. They will give you quotes from 5 of the major Mexican insurance companies. They also offer their own medical evac and road service riders on all of the quotes.

For more, just Google “Mexico Travel Clubs” or check out Mexonline Travel

Mexico Insurance Agencies: Just Google “Mexico Insurance” or see Mexonline Legal for a list with links. Lewis & Lewis and Sanborns are both popular with RV’ers.

Since I’ve never been involved in a claim in Mexico I can’t speak from personal experience about the service, but I’ve used both Lewis & Lewis and ADA Vis (through the Vags’). The Vags were the lower of the two.

If I’ve erred or missed something, please let me know or add it to this thread.

On edit, activated links.
Turtle & Toad, On the Road
37' Georgetown XL w/3 slides, 1 1/2 bath, & 595 watts of solar power
06 Taco TRD (for "Off the Road")
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61 REPLIES 61

Happy_to_be_rv_
Explorer
Explorer
Good info in your post. The only thing I would add is that there are two different areas in Mexico that are insured differently. One is for Baja and Mexico mainland north, and is cheaper.(But this limits you) The other is for ALL of Mexico.

craigt3365
Explorer
Explorer
I know the insurance company set him up with the repair shop in Cabo. He did ask about having the work done in the US, and they said it would be OK, but he had to get the vehicle there. Maybe it was because he had his 5th wheel with him (which was insuraed with them also), and that is why they would not cover tow/transport back to the USA. Not sure, but he tried that option and it would have cost him a bunch. I know the next time I get insurance, I will read the fine print in more detail!
2003 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom 40ED
Spartan Chassis, 400HP Cummins
Toad: 2003 Honda CR-V

Turtle-Toad
Explorer
Explorer
Some policies require that all repair work be done in the US. Mine even pays for tow/transportation back to a US repair shop. This is probably why.
Turtle & Toad, On the Road
37' Georgetown XL w/3 slides, 1 1/2 bath, & 595 watts of solar power
06 Taco TRD (for "Off the Road")
www.turtleandtoad.com
I am here
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craigt3365
Explorer
Explorer
Just a note on an accident my brother had in Baja a few months ago. He used Mexonline. He was hit by a truck going the other direction, who was trying to avoid a car in front of my brother overtaking a semi up a hill. The truck ran off the road then came back across and struck my brother at a high speed. Nobody hurt except the truck. It had to be towed to Cabo for repairs.

It was a nightmare. Took my brother at least 5+ weeks to get everything completed. And it was not repaired very well. The paint job is horrible and it does not drive very well. He is out several thousand dollars due to the deductible and all the misc. expenses he had to cover (mexican cell phone and numerous calls, hotel, flight back to US while he was waiting, rental car, etc.).

Mexonline was definitely on top of things, and did provide a lawyer...but things moved at a snails pace. Parts took forever to get delivered and it took a lot of yelling and screaming to get the repair yard to focus on his truck and get to work. They even tried to charge him for damage done to the highway!

The accident took place just before dark about 30km north of Baja. His rig was in Todos Santos. So he had to rent a car to get back an forth to Cabo to deal with the mess. Not speaking Spanish hurt him a lot.

I thought I would post this as an FYI....
2003 Winnebago Ultimate Freedom 40ED
Spartan Chassis, 400HP Cummins
Toad: 2003 Honda CR-V

Turtle-Toad
Explorer
Explorer
Sorry about the delay in answering, for some reason this forum isn't notifying my when new posts are added to this thread.

Since the policy has your start and end dates right on it, and some of them can be printed out directly from the website, you could get them a month or so in advance or wait until the last minute. I usually get my insurance a couple of weeks in advance.

If your insurance company has a Mexican branch or affiliate that issues Mexican Liability or you need a separate document for their Comp coverage, ask them how long it will take to get a hard copy. You will need it if you have an accident, and possibly when you cross.

Like I said on my website, there are signs in the Banjercito listing the documents you will need and the steps to get your FMT and TIP's. One of the documents listed is insurance; even though it's not a law and I've never been asked for proof of insurance. Always be ready for the RCNC!!!
Turtle & Toad, On the Road
37' Georgetown XL w/3 slides, 1 1/2 bath, & 595 watts of solar power
06 Taco TRD (for "Off the Road")
www.turtleandtoad.com
I am here
Only States/Provinces that I have spent at least a week in are shown

skip298
Explorer
Explorer
We are heading down to the RGV forour second winter..It is likely that we will be going into Mexico for a day trip or two..I will contact my own insurance provider to see if I can get coverage with them...If I cant or if they are just a middleman type issuer I will try one of the ones listed above...How far in advance should one start to do this?..thanks
2008 Keystone Montana Mountaineer Edition 305RLT
2004 Ford F350 Lariat,S/D,CC,SRW,6.0L PSD
Good Sam Club "Standby Sam"
Co pilot just graduated to Senior Citizen.

Turtle-Toad
Explorer
Explorer
Luckily, I haven't had to use any of my policies so I can't speak from experience. A few first hand experiences (good and bad) from others would be greatly appreciated.

Linda, that Spanish language copy is a good idea, and I wish the other insurance companies would follow suit. I'll be checking out Mexpro before my next trip (Feb). Could you post a link to their site?
Turtle & Toad, On the Road
37' Georgetown XL w/3 slides, 1 1/2 bath, & 595 watts of solar power
06 Taco TRD (for "Off the Road")
www.turtleandtoad.com
I am here
Only States/Provinces that I have spent at least a week in are shown

Linda_from_Cana
Explorer
Explorer
Just thought I would add: We use Mexpro. Easy to deal with, seems to cover everything, reasonable prices. We haven't had a claim, but have spoken to a few folks that have- no problems. Also, when you print your policy, you get a Spanish copy- could be useful.

ridgeback8520
Explorer
Explorer
I have heard it said that you find out how good your insurance is when you have a claim!

How about telling about your claims experiences?

I will be posting mine after I have finalized the claim and cashed the check!

Turtle-Toad
Explorer
Explorer
Since the Sticky FAQ idea hasn't materialized, I haven't been keeping this thread up to date. Instead, I've started a "Border FAQ" on my website (Turtle and Toad). Please see it for the latest info on insurance, visa's, Temporary Import Permits, fishing and boat licenses, and much more.

On Edit: Well, actions have overtaken the above. So I'll update the stickies soon.
Turtle & Toad, On the Road
37' Georgetown XL w/3 slides, 1 1/2 bath, & 595 watts of solar power
06 Taco TRD (for "Off the Road")
www.turtleandtoad.com
I am here
Only States/Provinces that I have spent at least a week in are shown

harvestmoon
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks, T&T; I'm in Mazatlan and need to get insurance for my husband who is coming in through Nogales in the next few days; this has been a real help even though we've had insurance on our trailer and van for 2 years.
- Kathy

2002 Ford Econoline E350 PSD 7.3L TV.
2005 Ameri-Camp T315QBS.

Our Travel Journal

Turtle-Toad
Explorer
Explorer
Thanks,

I'm writing one on car permits (or lack thereof), visa's and ID that will be for Baja only.
Turtle & Toad, On the Road
37' Georgetown XL w/3 slides, 1 1/2 bath, & 595 watts of solar power
06 Taco TRD (for "Off the Road")
www.turtleandtoad.com
I am here
Only States/Provinces that I have spent at least a week in are shown

pulsar
Explorer
Explorer
qtla9111 wrote:
Now this thread is a good candidate for keeping at the top of the forum. If we could add this, and others for campgrounds, roads and road construction, etc. it would make this forum that much more valuable. Thanks Turtle Toad.


I agree. The FAQ will happen

Tom
2015 Meridian 36M
2006 CR-V toad
3 golden retrievers (Breeze, Jinks, Razz)
1 border collie (Boogie)

qtla9111
Traveler
Traveler
Now this thread is a good candidate for keeping at the top of the forum. If we could add this, and others for campgrounds, roads and road construction, etc. it would make this forum that much more valuable. Thanks Turtle Toad.
2005 Dodge Durango Hemi
2008 Funfinder 230DS
Living and Boondocking Mexico Blog

jdtrotter
Explorer
Explorer
Great information!

We use the Baja Discover Club because we also get our tourist visas from them---(still have to have them stamped at the border, but it saves one more step)

Also, we buy the one year insurance (90 days of entry) for Baja, and Northern Mexico. Then if we decide to go further south, they will change the policy and charge a pro-rated amount.

Again, good information well stated.

Diane