U.S./Canada Registration and Mexican Car Insurance
If you have to have Mexican Insurance when you drive in Mexico, why should you have to keep your domestic insurance? Mexico Insurance “mex-insurance” requires your vehicle to be “legal to operate” which means it has to have current registration. But your state won’t let you register without U.S. insurance! So it seems you’re forced to have duplicate insurance. Or does it?
In Canada, it’s simple. All you have to do is present to your Canadian broker the Mexican Insurance policy. He/she will refund your Canadian Auto Insurance for that term! That’s it. No duplicate insurance for Canadians.
Two Solutions to Avoid Duplicate Insurance for American tourists
Solution 1: Register Your Car in your Home State with Affidavit of Non-Operation
Most states will allow you to file an “Affidavit of Non-Operation.” If you read the fine print, it does NOT mean that you won’t drive your car. It simply states you will not operate on your state’s roads. As the California affidavit reads:
The above described vehicle is not being operated or parked on any California roadway so as to require evidence of financial responsibility. I understand that if the vehicle is operated or parked on a California roadway prior to complying with all applicable registration and financial responsibility (liability insurance) laws, I will be subject to citation.–California DMV Affidavit for Non-Use
This allows you to keep your registration current, and avoid paying duplicate insurance in the U.S. Please pay attention to the timing of these forms. Some states require 60-75 days to process. With that said, give yourself plenty of time. If the registration expires, you’re going to have to go in person to renew.
In Arizona, it’s called a “De-Insured Certificate” which notifies the Motor Vehicle Division that the car will no longer be on Arizona roads and no longer requires insurance in Arizona
New Mexico Forms
Solution 2: Find a State that Does Not Require Insurance and is Friendly to Non-Residents, ie: South Dakota
There are only two states that do not require insurance, Virginia and New Hampshire. Unfortunately, both states require local residency to register your car. In South Dakota a small county in the southern part of the State called Clay County will let you register as a non-resident without smog or insurance requirements. Apparently the State has taken down most of the information related to this process. You can call the Clay County DMV (Treasurer) here: