Vacationing in Mexico can be a lot of fun, and having your car with you can be even better. With your car, you can explore the wonders and beauty of Mexico to its full extent.
South of the Border
But before you drive south of the border, you need to arm yourself with the facts. Driving in Mexico can be confusing and downright frightening if you do not know what you are doing. So take a step back, learn the rules of the road and find out what you need to know about insurance coverage in Mexico.
First of all, know that your U.S-based auto insurance policy will not cover you once you leave the country. If you want to protect yourself from legal liability and property damage in Mexico, you need to purchase a special policy that covers you while you are in the country.
You can purchase these policies ahead of time, or at the border, but there are plenty of reasons to plan ahead. If you know you will be driving into Mexico, buying your policy now will give you one less thing to worry about.
You should know the excluded things from a different Mexican auto insurance policy. Some things that are routinely covered by U.S. insurers are add-ons in Mexico, so always ask before you buy.
For instance, you will find your coverage is null and void if you are found to be under the influence. If you plan to enjoy some adult beverages, leave your car where it is and take a taxi instead.
Also of note, off-roading is not covered and specifically excluded from the Mexican insurance. The specific language in the Terms and Conditions states “Coverage will apply while covered vehicle is operating on roads intended for passenger autos”. There is a specific exclusion identifying coverage not applicable while operating on roads “not intended for passenger vehicles”. So, drive on the beach or in the dunes at your own risk!
You will also find that the items inside your vehicle are not covered by your Mexican auto insurance policy. You are typically covered if your vehicle is stolen, but not if someone steals the luggage or packages inside. If you want to protect your valuables while in Mexico, check with your insurance agent at home – many homeowners and renter’s policies cover personal property stolen out of vehicles, even when the individual is out of the country.
Even if you are properly insured, you should use caution when driving south of the border. Traffic can get pretty crazy here, and many of the rural roads are in bad shape. If your vehicle suffers damage to the undercarriage due to rough roads, your policy will not cover you. So slow down, drive defensively, pack plenty of patience and enjoy your trip. Traveling in Mexico can be a lot of fun, but a bit of protection will go a long way.