Will My U.S. Auto Insurance Cover Me If I Cross into Mexico?

Auto insurance and coverage driving to Mexico

A frequently asked question by novices planning a driving trip into Mexico is if their U.S. auto insurance will cover them while visiting. Residing in Arizona and its close proximity to Mexico makes heading south of the border for pleasure or business fairly straightforward. But, when it comes to auto insurance coverage…it’s a different story.

While a number of U.S. auto insurance companies do offer coverage for any physical damage your car might sustain when driving relatively short distances in Mexico – typically, only in the 25 to 50 mile range – U.S.-based insurers are not permitted to offer liability insurance in Mexico. And, by law, you are required to have a Mexican liability policy, which must be purchased separately from a Mexican auto insurance carrier.

As for what’s needed – be aware that, when driving in Mexico, it is mandatory that you purchase a liability policy that will provide coverage for damage to other cars, people or property. The recommended amount, which just happens to be the sum designated by Mexican federal law in the event of injury or death resulting from an auto accident, is $25,000. Whether the injured or deceased party is a passenger, bystander or someone in the other vehicle, the responsible party must be able to pay this minimum amount. That said, it might make considerable sense to carry coverage somewhat higher than the minimum.

Under Mexican law, drivers venturing south of the border must demonstrate proof of financial responsibility upon request, in the event of being involved in an auto accident. According to the Arizona Department of Insurance, if you fail to purchase proper Mexican-issued insurance, you could face the misfortune of spending several unpleasant hours in a Mexican jail or be hit with a substantial fine.

Before starting out on your trip, you may want to consider purchasing a temporary Mexican auto insurance policy for your vehicle ahead of time. The policy should include the following:

• Civil liability coverage
• Medical expense coverage
• Legal assistance (just in case)
• Towing assistance
These policies are relatively affordable and can be purchased online prior to your trip. As with all auto insurance coverage…compare costs to get the best deal possible for your travels.
Keep in mind that – in addition to your proof of Mexican auto insurance – when entering into Mexico, be sure to bring your U.S. driver’s license, vehicle registration, and your passport. And, if you’re planning to travel considerably farther than the Border Zone, approximately 12 miles beyond the U.S. border, you may need to provide a temporary import permit along with a security deposit for your vehicle. Should you want more information about this, you can obtain it at the Mexican Consulate website.
Furthermore, you might want to give your insurance agent a courtesy call to advise him of your plans to drive into Mexico. He can let you know what to look out for and inform you of any specific details of importance regarding your coverage.
So, plan ahead. Do your research to learn everything you’ll need to make your driving trip into Mexico not only an enjoyable one, but a safe one as well.
It’s also a good idea to check your U.S. insurance policy to make sure you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Have you ever purchased Mexican auto insurance for your travel into Mexico? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.