BAJA AUTO INSURANCE INFORMATION
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 www.kbb.com.
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 Mexico...safety is no accident.
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: