In Mexico, getting into an accident with an uninsured driver is a real possibility. 70% of Mexican vehicles are uninsured and 14% of Mexican drivers flee the scene of an accident according to INEGI. American tourists driving south of the border should buy a Mexican insurance policy that offers full coverage and understand how to file for an uninsured motorist claim in Mexico to be safe.
Mexico is a NO-Fault Country
Many insurance companies will try to sell you their policies using unscrupulous methods. The truth is, “uninsured motorist” coverage doesn’t exist in Mexico. By default, your insurance will cover you and your vehicle subject to the terms and conditions regardless of fault. Of course, the insurance company will try to make the responsible party (or their insurance company) pay for damages. But the reality is, if someone is selling you uninsured motorist coverage, look somewhere else.
Speed is key when filing your claim
If you get into a traffic accident in Mexico, you should always presume that the other driver is uninsured. If possible, photograph the other car and its license plate, and call the insurance company as soon as you can. They will send an adjuster to the scene to register the claim and try to arrange medical, towing and legal assistance. It’s very important you reject any on-site attempt to settle the issue without the insurance company present.
How the uninsured motorist claim process works
The company’s adjuster will submit your case file to a public attorney. As the injured party, you’ll provide fingerprints, statements, and give proof of ownership (the original certificate) of your vehicle. In some states, like Jalisco, you might have to come back to the public attorney’s office once the claim is settled to submit your signature. The insurance company will help you through the entire process.
Your insurer’s lawyer and the Ministerio Publico will handle your claim
If you have legal assistance coverage, the company will provide you with a lawyer to handle your case. Your company’s lawyer will work with the Ministerio to get your case resolved. This might take some time but you won’t be needed in the case and are free to go home. Assuming the Ministerio Publico succeeds, they do in most cases, they’ll pay your insurers who will then refund your deductibles.
Watch out for bad faith from your insurers
Any insurance company will investigate your medical bills and the nature of your injuries to ensure they’re not being scammed. However, sometimes these investigations may turn overly adversarial. If this happens to you it is your right to file a bad faith claim against your insurers.
The high rates of uninsured drivers in Mexico is a secret to most American tourists south of the border. This could represent a major headache if you get into an accident while vacationing in the south. However, buying a Mexican auto insurance policy will help keep you out of trouble.
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