While Mexico’s auto insurance coverage laws won’t be changing much as a result of new legislation, federal highways are a different story. As a matter of fact, all Mexican federal roads, which include toll roads and bridges, will now require valid auto insurance. So, if your plans are to drive on them, whether you’re a citizen of Mexico or simply motoring across the border for business or pleasure, be aware that insurance coverage will be mandatory when you use any of these roads.
As in the U.S., through the introduction of new amendments to existing laws, Mexican legislators have implemented the changes after determining the necessity of auto insurance for their country’s motorists. Although a substantial amount of uninsured drivers continue to take to Mexico’s roads, those intent on getting behind the wheel on federal highways and bridges will be required to have auto insurance. This comes on the heels of Mexico’s House of Representatives’ approval of the new amendments with regard to the country’s Law on Roads, Bridges and Federal Motor Carrier.
In simple terms, it means that any vehicle taking to these specified federal roads will now need to have third-party liability coverage. Ironically, in some Mexican states, prior to the new legislation, auto insurance had not been mandatory and was rarely regulated. Case in point, residents in the state of Yucatan have for years been able to drive their cars without possessing any form of auto insurance. However, things will apparently be different from here on out…and, the new law will be strictly regulated on these roads, including in the Yucatan.
Penalties for failing to carry the required coverage can be quite harsh for residents. If caught using federal roads without proper insurance, fines can range from 20 to 40 days of minimum wage. In order to avoid the added expense of the penalties, drivers are required, by law, to purchase auto insurance that will cover the cost of all injuries sustained by third parties who are involved in an accident.
On the other hand, should the driver get auto insurance with the required coverage within 45 days from the day of being stopped and cited for driving on federal roads without an active policy, the fines may be waived at the court’s discretion. Though not fool-proof, the Federal Police intend to make every attempt to stop and fine uninsured motorists by conducting regular inspections. By doing so, they hope to determine whether drivers using the roads are covered or not.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Public Security may also require that proof of insurance be provided to Federal Police when requested, either during road inspections or when pulled over for another traffic violation.
Bottom line is – when traveling to Mexico by car, it is always a good idea to plan ahead. Map out your destination, avoid areas known to be risky, and be sure to carry the proper auto insurance coverage before starting out. For this reason, you should probably purchase a separate Mexican auto insurance policy, as most U.S. insurers will not cover you or your vehicle once you cross the border.
Do you have the proper insurance coverage when traveling through Mexico by car? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.