How To Buy Car Insurance For Mexico (2024)

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Ancient ruins, stunning beaches and heavenly cuisine are just some of the countless reasons to visit Mexico. Many Americans choose to drive to Mexico. But even if you have an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spontaneity, driving into Mexico without a little bit of planning is no bueño.

Mexican law requires all vehicles to have car insurance. Your U.S. car insurance typically won’t cover you unless you buy extra insurance, sometimes called Mexico tourist auto insurance or Mexican car insurance. And if you don’t comply with Mexican law? You could end up in jail, where the views are much less stunning and cuisine is decidedly worse.

Do I Need Mexican Auto Insurance?

You need Mexican auto insurance if you plan to drive in Mexico. Your U.S. car insurance policy alone will not be sufficient to satisfy Mexican Federal Liability Law. To satisfy this law, you must buy a separate Mexican liability insurance policy from a licensed Mexican insurance company.

Once you have Mexican liability insurance, your U.S. car insurance may have limited coverage, depending on your insurance company.

You can buy a separate Mexican auto insurance policy from a Mexican insurance company or a U.S. company that works with Mexican insurers. You can typically find a policy that fits your length of stay. For example, Allstate and Geico both can secure Mexican car insurance policies that will cover trips to Mexico lasting from one day up to one year.

You will pay a premium that is separate from your U.S. car insurance policy. Your coverage will begin and end on the dates you select. If you drive outside of your policy effective dates, you won’t have coverage, and you will be subject to the fines and penalties of Mexican law.

To buy a Mexican car insurance policy, you will need:

  • Dates you will be traveling in Mexico
  • Where you will be traveling in Mexico
  • Your U.S. car insurance policy number (you can find it on your proof of insurance or policy)
  • Driver’s license (if you are under 21, you may have to pay an additional fee)
  • Year, make and model of your car
  • Vehicle identification number
  • License plate number

What Does Mexican Car Insurance Cover?

Liability car insurance in Mexico

You are required by Mexican law to have liability insurance. If you cause a car accident, this covers bodily injuries and property damage to others. You can typically choose a policy limit (up to a certain amount). For example, Allstate and Geico can help you get up to $500,000 in liability coverage for trips into Mexico, while The General can help you get up to $300,000.

It’s a good idea to buy the maximum amount of liability coverage available. That’s because Mexican liability car insurance works differently than the U.S. If you cause an accident that results in a death, Mexico Federal Liability Law says your insurance must pay the Mexican state’s minimum wage multiplied by 5,000, plus funeral expenses, per person. The Mexican state can then multiply this amount by up to five times (in some Mexican states a judge will determine the limit to be paid).

For example, the minimum wage in Tijuana is $213.39 Mexican pesos:
5,000 x $213.39 = $1,066,950, which amounts to $53,744 in U.S. dollars, based on a $19.85 exchange rate. The state can multiply this figure by five, which amounts to $268,720 per person.

Other coverage types for Mexico driving

Liability insurance won’t cover damage to your car or injuries that you and your passenger suffer. You can fill these coverage gaps by purchasing additional coverage types, such as:

  • Physical damage coverage. This pays out if your car is stolen or damaged by problems such as a car accident, vandalism, fire, flood, hail and falling objects.
  • Medical payments. This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers if you are hurt in a car accident.
  • Legal assistance. If you get into a car accident in Mexico, this pays for legal expenses such as an attorney, court costs and bail bonds.
  • Roadside assistance. If your car breaks down in Mexico, this pays for services such as a tow truck, jump-starting a battery, a locksmith or changing a flat tire.
  • Medical evacuation. If you are hurt in a car accident, this pays for emergency transportation to a hospital or treatment facility.

Limited Mexico Coverage

Some insurance companies include limited Mexico coverage as part of a policy. For example, USAA has policies that extend coverage for trips into Mexico within 75 miles of the U.S. border. This can extend your collision and comprehensive insurance into Mexico, but you’ll still need to buy liability coverage from a licensed Mexican insurance company.

And some auto insurance companies offer a “limited Mexico coverage” endorsem*nt, which extends your existing coverage from your U.S. policy (such as your collision and comprehensive coverage) to trips to Mexico within a certain distance of the border. But for this endorsem*nt to apply, you must purchase liability insurance from a licensed Mexican insurance company.

For example, The Hartford has an endorsem*nt that limits coverage to within 25 miles of the U.S. border for trips of 10 days or fewer.

Check with your insurance agent to determine what, if any, coverage your current policy has once you cross the border.

Where Can I Buy Mexican Auto Insurance?

Here’s how to buy Mexican auto insurance:

  • Purchase a Mexican auto insurance policy. This is a separate policy from your U.S. car insurance policy. You can typically buy it from a company that works with Mexican insurers, such as Baja Bound or Geico.
  • Consider a Limited Mexico Coverage Endorsem*nt. Your U.S. auto insurance company might offer an endorsem*nt that extends coverage from your U.S. policy within a certain distance of the U.S. border. For example, if you get into an accident within 10 miles of the border, the collision insurance portion of your U.S. policy would apply.

It’s a good idea to compare Mexican car insurance quotes from a few different companies to find the best price and coverage options.

Here are some companies that can help you buy a Mexican car insurance policy:

  • AAA through Grupo Nacional Provincial S.A.
  • Allstate
  • Baja Bound
  • Geicothrough Grupo Nacional Provincial and El Aguila Compañía de Seguros
  • Progressive Insurance through MexPro
  • The General Insurance through ABA Seguros, SA de C.V, ACE Seguros, S.A. de C.V and Grupo Nacional Provincial
  • Liberty Mutual Insurance through MexPro
  • MexInsurance
  • MexPro

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Tips for Driving in Mexico

Here are some tips if you’re taking a road trip into Mexico:

  • Keep your insurance documentation handy. It’s a good idea to have at least two copies of your Mexican car insurance documents, including your policy, claims instructions and roadside assistance instructions. Keep one copy in your car and another copy in a secure place, such as a hotel safe.
  • Get a Mexican tourist card (FMM). Visitors to Mexico are required to obtain an FMM, which you should be able to get at the border or online (and printed out). If you get it online, you’ll need to have it stamped at the border or an immigration office to be valid. A passport or passport card is required to get an FMM.
  • Get a Temporary Vehicle Import Permit (TIP). The Mexico Free or Border Zone is an area along Mexico’s northern and southern borders, including a large portion of Sonora, the entire Baja peninsula, and areas between 12 to 16 miles from the border in all other Mexican border states. Any travel beyond the Border Zone requires a TIP. If you travel outside the Border Zone without a TIP, your car could be confiscated and you could go to jail.
  • Get Mexican car rental insurance. Mexican Federal Liability Law also applies to rental cars. If you rent a car in Mexico, you can buy auto insurance at the rental counter agency. If you plan to rent a car in the U.S. and drive into Mexico, check with your rental agency first. Not all rental agencies will allow you to drive to Mexico or may restrict travel to certain areas. Certain types of vehicles such as exotic, cargo vans and large passenger vehicles may not be allowed to travel across the border, depending on your U.S. rental agency.
  • Check travel advisories before your trip. The U.S. Department of State provides up-to-date travel advisories that include certain risks, such as Covid-19 and security alerts. It also provides information on U.S. Embassy locations, local laws, vaccination requirements, currency entry/exit restrictions and visa requirements.
  • Sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP is a free service for U.S. citizens and nationals provided by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs. STEP sends you safety alerts, helps the U.S. Embassy contact you for emergencies like civil unrest and natural disasters, and helps friends and family contact you in case of an emergency.

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How To Buy Car Insurance For Mexico (2024)
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