There is still a lot of confusion about what is required legally in Mexico when driving across the border (southbound). Mexican Car Insurance law on the books in Mexico regarding tourists. Here are the highlights:
In 2019 All Cars are Required to Have Mexican Insurance in Mexico
Under Mexican Federal Law – as of 2019 all cars must carry at least Liability Insurance from a Mexican domiciled insurance carrier.
Mexican Car Insurance Liability Law
According to the Mexican Federal “Ley de Caminos, Puentes y Autotransportes Federal” and in particular, Section 63 bis and 63 ter the law requires that anyone operating on Mexican roads carry a minimum of MXN 100,000 pesos for third party liability plus MXN 50,000 in property damage for a total combined limit of MXN 150,000 pesos. As of 2021, that equates to about US $7,500.
Law requires that when you drive into Mexico with a foreign vehicle (License Plates in the United States or Canada) that you carry at minimum 3rd party liability insurance. If you do not have insurance, you can be fined. If you do not have Mexican Car Insurance and have an accident, you can be detained. Yes, that means time in a Mexican Jail, until the justice system in Mexico clears you. This clearance in Mexico means arrange on your own payments or reparations to a third party.
Why do we sell a minimum of $150,000 when the law only requires $7,500?
Mexican Insurance and the Labor Law
Since the labor law went into effect in 2012, the 3rd party liability limit increased from about $20,000US to more than $100,000US (in today’s dollars) for a death benefit. In other words, if you cause an accident in Mexico as a tourist, which results in the death of a Mexican citizen you are liable for AT LEAST $110,000 to the victim’s family. The law does not require you to carry this much, but we want you to be protected. As an American citizen, you make approximately 20x as much as a Mexican citizen does, even at minimum wage.
Fine for Ignoring the Law
The fine for ignoring the law (without an accident) is about $150US. You might mistake this for a bribe, but in this case, if you do not have insurance, they can and likely will ticket you for this amount.
Here is the news report from 2014 which explains
Mexinsurance.com offers Liability Only car insurance policies on a Daily Basis (or Annual/Semi-Annual term). The minimum liability available is $150,000, however up to $1,000,000 is available. Fewer and fewer US car insurance companies are extending coverage in Mexico. We also recommend quickly quoting the difference between Liability and Complete coverage because the simplicity of a claim with only one company handling the process is much smoother and faster. Purchase Mexican Car Insurance, aka “MexInsurance” online now at www.mexinsurance.com.