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      Driving a vehicle in Mexico requires extra diligence on the part of the driver. Whether renting a car while visiting a Mexican resort, or driving down into Mexico from another country, being aware of Mexico's insurance requirements is an important element for a safe trip.


      It's also important for the driver to realize that the rules of the road are a bit different in Mexico. To help round out your learning curve we have enclosed some important driving tips to help make your journey as safe as possible.

      If you think you may need the services of an emergency Air Evacuation company while visiting Mexico visit the web site of SKY MED INTERNATIONAL or call them at (800) 475-9633 for additional information.

      Driving a car into Mexico can be a great way to add depth to a Mexico adventure. And being properly insured can ease the stress of driving in a foreign land.

      Unfortunately the liklihood of getting in an accident is higher in Mexico than for drivers back in their home city. The unfamiliar environment, numerous distractions, street signs in Spanish and some rather aggressive driving behaviors from the locals make it important for driving to be a "head's up" experience for out of town drivers. You can see why adding alcohol to the formula is just asking for trouble.

      Mexican law requires drivers to carry liability insurance underwritten by a Mexican company to cover any accidents that may happen to other vehicles, property or people. Insurance policies from U.S. carriers are generally not accepted by Mexican authorities.

      The minimum required liability insurance is not expensive, usually under $18 per day per vehicle, and can also be purchased annually. Annual premiums are usually competitively priced.

      Collision insurance is not required in Mexico but is available at affordable rates from Mexican and U.S. carriers. Some U.S. Insurance carriers cover damage to vehicles driving in the Tourist Zones near the border areas in their standard policies, others do not. It's usually a good idea to check with your insurance carrier before driving to Mexico.

      When obtaining collision insurance for your car when going to Mexico you will be asked by the carrier the value of your vehicle. So it is a good idea to obtain the accurate value of your vehicle before you apply for insurance. A good resource to determin the value of your vehicle is the on-line version of Kelly Blue Book at

      If you do not know the value of your vehicle when you are applying for insurance and you provide the carrier with a 'guesstimate' of your vehicles value, the actual coverage amount if you have an accident will be based soley on the actual book value of the vehicle and not on the amount that you guessed.

      When taking a new vehicle across the border into Mexico it becomes more difficult to determine the current value of the vehicle. Most Mexican insurance companies will not give you the amount you have recently paid for the vehicle when processing a claim. They usually take a 20% depreciation off of the recent purchase price to determine the value for replacement costs. This can be substantial for expensive vehicles.

      Some insurance companies provide "gap" insurance to cover the actual cost of your loss, including the depreciation. If you want to be fully covered when driving a new vehicle into Mexico be sure to inquire about this extra coverage.

      Many Mexican insurance companies are now providing "Legal Aid" as an extra service for their customers who purchase liability and/or collision insurance. Amoung other things this extra service can help keep you out of jail if you find yourself in an accident involving a worst case scenario. The cost for Legal Aid is usually minimal.

      Collision insurance coverage while driving on non-paved roads is another important issue when in Mexico. Many Mexican insurance companies do not cover any damage to your vehicle if the incident takes place off road. And since many of Mexico's roads are unpaved this issue warrants special consideration.

      There are several drive-through insurance companies just north of the border at most of the U.S. / Mexico border crossings. Most of these different companies offer similar rates and coverage. For a more aggressive rate, and for very affordable annual policies, it might be worth the time to shop around and utilize the services of the smaller insurance companies that don't have to support the large overhead of the big offices.

      Personal vehicles who's titles are held by banks and leasing companies often require the registered owner to obtain written permission from them before taking the vehicle to Mexico. If the entity holding the title does provide such a letter it is advisable to bring this letter to Mexico with the other vehicle documentation. Although this rule is not always followed, the paper trail can be helpful if you are in an accident while driving in Mexico.

      Getting a quote from more than one source will help you get a better feel for the prices and coverage available. The companies listed below have been provided to help you obtain quotes.

      Remember, when driving in Mexico, safety is no accident!





      These driving tips will go alone way towards making your driving experience a much safer one. Take a hint from Carlos Fiesta who has driven tens of thousands of miles in is no accident.

      • BE INSURED

        Unlike the United States, if you are in an automobile accident in Mexico you might be considered guilty until proven innocent. Having current liability insurance is relatively inexpensive, and will buy you plenty of peace of mind (and keep you out of jail) in case things go sideways. Even though your U.S. insurance policy states that you are covered when driving out of the U.S., Mexican authorities will not accept the liability coverage of an insurance company unless they are underwritten by a Mexican carrier.

        Collision insurance is a different story and many U.S. carriers will cover damage to the vehicle if an accident happens close to the border in a tourist area. When driving to Mexico it's always a good idea to check with your current insurance carrier to see what is covered and what is not.



        Aside from some of the four lane roads near Mexico's larger cities, most of the roads in Mexico are two lane and somewhat narrow. The width often runs from 12 to 14 feet on each side, which does not allow a heck of a lot of room for error. Throw in a few moderately-sized pot holes, somebody riding a bike on the road and a few feisty cows and the road can become a bit intimidating. Driving at high speeds is definitely risky business. Keep an eye on the road shoulders as they sometimes get very steep or disappear all together.

        Most of Mexico's toll roads are in good condition and usually worth the price of admission. They often lack the charm of the normal Mexican roads that wind through the town but if you want to cover a lot of ground quickly they are very efficient. Toll both operators will usually accept U.S. dollars or Mexican pesos, but not a combination of both.



        You name it...cows, burros, goats, dogs...they are all out there on the highway waiting to play a little game of 'fender-tag' with your car. Keeping a sharp eye ahead of you can save you lots of aggravation. Once ol' Bessy's big brown eyes are looking at you from the hood of your car it's too late.

        Avoiding a one-on-one with livestock is pretty easy if you are going slow. But high-speed drivers often find it difficult to slow down in time after coming around a curve with a herd of cattle standing still mid-highway. Not only will you damage your car but there is a good chance you will injure the animal. Hot tip? Drive slow!



        Expect them and appreciate the reasons for them, you are not in Kansas anymore. Mexico is trying to show good faith in the drug transportation war, and the inconvenience of these infrequent drug inspection stations is a small price to pay for a big problem. It's best to leave your political opinions on this issue at home and just go with the flow. These kids are just doing their job and the more you cooperate the faster they will pass you through the system.

        You are usually delayed no more than a few minutes. They may or may not search your car. Southbound vehicles are not always checked but northbound vehicles almost always are. Assuming you have no drugs, guns, or ammo, you'll be on your way in a jiffy. Giving these young uniformed kids a cold soda or candy is always appreciated.



        The only thing less safe than driving Mexico roads too fast is driving too fast at night. Because of the limited visibility, reaction time to stuff on a dark road (debris, livestock, parked cars, etc.) is slowed and the likelihood of getting in trouble on the road increases significantly after dark.

        A conservative view is not to drive at night in Mexico. A more realistic view is not to drive faster than you can see ahead, be aware of your surroundings and don't drive when tired or drunk.



        An understanding of a couple of driving tips will help your Mexico drive more enjoyable and safe!

        (1) When driving on Mexico's main roads, if you are stuck behind a slow local vehicle, most Mexican drivers will try to help with the process of having you pass them. When the coast is clear for passing, the driver of the slower vehicle will often turn on his left turn signal, to inform you that it is okay to pass. It is important to note two issues with regards to this Mexico courtesy. First, remember that you (the driver of the vehicle that wishes to pass) are ultimately responsible for whatever may happen during this passing process (such as an unseen oncoming vehicle!). It is also important to be sure that the driver you are trying to pass is not preparing to turn left! On the open highway, this is not likely, but always a possibility.

        (2) Another hot tip when driving the Mexico's roads is road hazards. A person standing on the road lowering his hand towards the pavement repeatedly is trying to tell drivers to slow down for some particular road issue ahead. It could be a parked vehicle ahead or a road crew doing maintenance. Keep an eye.

        (3) Pemex is the main gasoline company in Mexico. Pemex stations accept payment in Mexican pesos and U.S. dollars. Credit cards are usually not accepted at Pemex stations. If you want to break a (U.S.) 100 dollar bill this is the place to do it. The workers at these stations carry lots of cash!



      Mexico is a large and diverse country and it's usually a good idea to check out a map of the area you are visiting before heading south. We have broken the map section of Mexico Expo into 3 different categories:




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