Auto coverage for trips to Mexico

In almost all cases, auto coverage with US insurers will not cover damage to your vehicle when you cross the border and travel to Mexico. Like the United States, Mexican law requires all vehicles to have auto coverage and insurance. Furthermore, in many cases you could be fined or put in jail if you are found guilty and without coverage. You generally have several options for purchasing coverage for the days of your stay, either through your primary insurer or with other companies.

Fortunately, it’s not hard to get temporary car insurance for a road trip to Mexico. Many well-known American auto insurance companies have partnerships with Mexican auto insurance companies. You can also get car coverage directly from a Mexican insurance provider online or even purchase coverage at the border.

What type of coverage and what do I need to obtain it?

Customer companies like Geico and other national insurers can help you get flexible policies that fit your needs. Some options include:

  • daily policies
  • 6 month policies
  • annual policies

In order to obtain an auto insurance policy in Mexico, it is useful to have the following information at hand:

  • Dates you will travel to Mexico
  • What part of Mexico will you travel to?
  • US auto insurance policy number

In the case of those people who are going to use their personal vehicle, the following information will be necessary (if it is through their current insurance they have this information):

  • Make, model, year and current market value of the vehicle
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
  • License number

Coverage in car rentals during your stay in Mexico

If you rent a car in Mexico, start by asking at the rental agency. In most cases, you can get auto insurance through them. Since most US auto insurers only insure rentals with US license plates, getting coverage through the Mexican rental agency is often the only option.

Renting a vehicle in the US and driving it to Mexico is a different story. Not all rental companies allow drivers to take their cars into Mexico. You must first check with the rental office. Some rental companies only allow travel to Mexico from certain areas. You may also be charged an additional fee or required to purchase insurance through them.

If you have a credit card issued in the United States, you may be able to get coverage through it. Companies like Visa®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover® provide car rental coverage. Before reserving your rental car, please call the number on the back of your credit card. If you book your rental with that card, your card company may offer insurance coverage.

Some companies have additional requirements or don’t offer liability insurance, so check the details with your card company.

What does Mexican auto insurance cover?

Civil liability insurance for cars in Mexico

You are required by Mexican law to have civil liability insurance. If you cause a car accident, this covers bodily injury and property damage to others. You can usually choose a policy limit (up to a certain amount). For example, Allstate and Geico sell up to $500,000 in Mexico travel liability coverage, while The General sells up to $300,000.

It’s a good idea to purchase the maximum amount of liability coverage available. That’s because Mexican civil liability insurance works differently than the US. If you cause an accident that results in a death, Mexico’s Federal Civil Liability Law says that your insurance must pay the Mexican state minimum wage multiplied for 5,000, plus funeral expenses, per person. The Mexican state can then multiply this amount by up to five times (in some states a judge will determine the limit to pay).

For example, the minimum wage in the Free Zone (Northern Border of the Country) is $260.34 Mexican pesos:

5,000 x $260.34 = $1,301,700 which is equal to $66,141 in US dollars, with an exchange rate of $19.68. For states that choose to multiply that figure, the maximum could be up to $330,705.

Other types of coverage for driving in Mexico

Liability insurance will not cover damage to your car or injuries to you and your passenger. You can fill in these coverage gaps by purchasing additional types of coverage, such as:

  • Physical Damage Coverage: This pays if your car is stolen or damaged by things like a car accident, vandalism, fire, flood, hail, and falling objects.
  • medical payments: This covers medical expenses for you and your passengers if you are injured in a car accident.
  • Legal assistance: If you are in a car accident in Mexico, this pays for legal expenses such as an attorney, court costs, and bail bonds.
  • Roadside assistance: If your car breaks down in Mexico, this pays for services like a tow truck, jump-starting a battery, a locksmith, or changing a flat tire.
  • medical evacuation: If you are injured in a car accident, this pays for emergency transportation to a hospital or treatment center.
  • How much does car insurance cost in Mexico?

    Policies generally come in packages that are priced daily, semi-annually, or annually. However, a day package can end up costing as much as a six-month package, depending on the length of your stay. However, in general, the cost of a policy is not too expensive compared to American insurance. Here we include some approximate costs for companies recommended by large insurers in the United States.

    ACE Insurance$195$370$450
    The Eagle$200$350$400
    Provincial National Group$225$375$425

    In summary

    If you drive to Mexico, make sure your vehicle is probably insured. Contact your insurance company and add Mexican coverage for the duration of your stay. In addition to insurance, you may need to seek other permits specific to your location in Mexico. Check with your insurance company for more information on the details.

    If you want to update your national insurance policy, use the auto insurance rate comparison tool.