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Car Insurance in Mexico
If you’re planning to take a trip abroad, you need to understand how your car insurance works during foreign travel.
In Mexico, U.S. car insurance policies are not valid. If you plan to drive while traveling, you will need to purchase international car insurance from an authorized Mexican auto insurance company.
Buying Temporary Mexican Car Insurance
When setting your sights on a Mexican vacation, one of the first things you’ll need to do is obtain the right car insurance for driving in Mexico. You can purchase auto insurance that will allow you to drive legally in Mexico or in cities on either side of the border.
Your current car insurance provider may be able to assist you with finding a company authorized to sell insurance in Mexico. They may even have a relationship with a Mexican auto insurance carrier, which can make getting your policy relatively easy.
When attempting to buy international car insurance:
You’ll need a photocopy of the current registration of any vehicle you plan to insure.
The following information is typically requested:
The year, make, and model of your car.
Your license plate number.
Your driver’s license number.
Your VIN number.
Your coverage details (e.g., if you have comprehensive and collision coverage).
Your leasing information (if applicable).
Whether you’ll be towing anything (e.g., a car or boat) and, if so, what you’ll be towing.
The dates you’ll be staying in Mexico and the reason for your visit.
Whether any drivers under 21 years old will be driving the vehicle.
Where you’ll be staying and traveling in Mexico.
NOTE: If you want to drive a financed, leased, or borrowed vehicle into Mexico, you will need a notarized document from the lien holder, owner of the borrowed vehicle, or leasing company authorizing you to enter Mexico with that vehicle.
What Type of Coverage Will I Need?
At the very minimum, you’ll need to purchase liability coverage to avoid breaking Mexican insurance laws.
If you cause an accident, your liability coverage will pay for:
Damages you cause to other party’s property.
Injuries to the other party and his passengers.
Temporary car insurance in Mexico may also include coverage for:
Legal and bond assistance.
NOTE: Car insurance in Mexico encompasses the same general categories they do in the U.S., so you can purchase more than liability if you feel it is necessary. For example, you can add comprehensive and collision coverage for more protection.
Rental Car Insurance in Mexico
Driving a rental car in Mexico requires the vehicle be insured either by:
The rental agency.
Through another licensed provider.
While your insurance coverage can typically be secured at the rental counter, some Mexican car rental companies may not provide liability coverage, so you’ll need to find a licensed provider to secure the necessary coverage.
If you plan on renting a car while abroad, speak with your car insurance agent before traveling to ensure the smoothest rental experience possible.
Some credit cards offer the option to purchase international car insurance when renting a vehicle in Mexico. Read your credit card agreement or call to find out if your card company provides this service.
Consequences of Driving Uninsured Abroad
If you are involved in an accident in Mexico, the Mexican police can arrest you,impound your vehicle, and detain you until authorities make a decision about who is at fault for causing the accident.
If you are found to be at fault, you can be kept in custody until authorities have confirmed you can cover the damages to the to the other party. This means that if you don’t have current insurance, you can be held for an extended period of time.
Remember, because you could be taken into custody after an accident, you may consider purchasing an insurance policy that also covers bail costs.
Alert! Driving Under the Influence in Mexico
Anyone caught driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in Mexico isautomatically considered uninsured, regardless of whether they have valid insurance at the time.
Tips for Driving in Mexico
You will need to carry your Canadian or U.S. driver's license with you, along with your International Driving Permit (if you have one – see below), when you drive in Mexico.
Dangers of driving in Mexico include:
Roaming livestock in the road.
Absence of construction area warning signs.
Vehicles without brake lights or headlights.
Topes (speed bumps that often have no warning signs).
Very large potholes.
To avoid danger, consider driving in the daylight hours only to ensure you can better see some of the potential hazards.
In the event of a roadside emergency, you can try calling "066", which is comparable to "911" in the U.S. You should understand, however, that the U.S. State Department warns that this number may not be answered in a timely manner.
International Driving Permits
Mexico does recognize U.S. driver's licenses; however, you need an International Driving Permit if you drive 300 miles or more into Mexico. Even if you are not going this far into the country, obtaining an IDP has its benefits:
It is a recognized form of identification abroad.
It is translated into multiple languages, including Spanish, so it can be useful when communicating with Mexican officials.
It may be required to rent a car in Mexico.
To learn more, visit our International Driver Permit page.
Emergency Roadside Assistance
If your vehicle breaks down or you need roadside assistance, you can call the Green Angels, or “Angeles Verdes,” for help. These truck drivers are bilingual and can offer help in an emergency, including supplies, first aid, and assistance with car problems.
You can reach the Green Angels by calling 078.