Published November 2001
To drive in Mexico, the minimum required insurance coverage is Civil Liability Insurance. This coverage protects you in the event you cause bodily injury or property damage to third parties.
Beware of mexican insurance companies who use split limits as a way to provide less cover, i.e. 40/80/40. The split limits approach limits the amount payable for each of the main liability exposure groupings: 1) per person, 2) per occurrence for bodily injury and 3) physical damage. Ultimately this split limit approach can lead to a gap in coverage (in other words being partially uninsured). As a result, one overall limit for liability is much safer and is called a Combined Single Limit.
Some Mexican Insurers offer lower limits but it is wise to buy at least US$100,000 Liability Insurance. The increased cost for this amount of coverage is very small. Additional Liability insurance is available through the better Mexican Insurers, also at very reasonable rates.
The minimum cost for daily insurance in Mexico is about $4.00 for Civil Liability only, $100,000 limit Combined Single Limit (CSL). Depending on your US insurance, some Americans do not need to buy Mexican physical damage cover because it is covered by your American auto insurance policy but every American traveling to Mexico should check with their insurer because not all do. Canadians on the other hand do not have this luxury. Virtually no Canadian insurer provides any cover for Mexico.
If traveling for more than 25 days or of if an individual wants the flexibility of not setting the exact dates of entry or exit, they should consider the 6 month or 12 month polices. Six months policies can be purchased for around $150 including premium tax & policy fees ($100,000 Civil Liability & no physical damage cover) and 12 month polices cost about $180 including premium tax & policy fees.
For individuals who live near the Mexican border or who want a little more flexibility, 12 month policies are a good option, they are typically only 20-25% more expensive than 6 month polices.
On top of the liability, most if not all, Mexican insurance programs offer physical damage cover. In all cases premiums increase in relation to the Actual Cash Value (ACV) or the used retail value of the vehicle. A vehicle worth $15,000 would cost approximately $265 to insure for six months (including $100,000 Civil Liability) and approximately $324 for 12 months.
A few other insurance policy features to look for include:
Some insurance companies offer limited territory covers, which as a result, offer dominiums savings. Im not in favour of these limited territory polices as they limit customer flexibility. It is like buying an auto cover for one state in the US only. It does not happen in the US, as it would be a major inconvenience for insurance policy holders. Why accept a policy like that for Mexico?
Guaranteed Bond & Legal Assistance: Provides you with assistance in the event you need to deal with Authorities following a covered loss.
Beware of mexican insurance companies who do not include this coverage in their policies.
Travel Assistance: This includes certain types of travel assistance, including Medical Assistance, tourist information, vehicle towing, etc.
Beware of mexican insurance companies who do not offer this service.
If towing a boat into Mexico make sure you are covered when it is detached from the vehicle that towed it into Mexico. A marine policy is required to insure the boat against physical damage and a liability policy is required to cover your responsibility to other.
If taking a motorcycle into Mexico, make sure you have both liability insurance and physical damage. Check carefully as most Mexican insurers do not offer physical damage cover for Motor Cycles.