Full Coverage Vs. Liability Car Insurance for Mexico

If you're driving to Mexico, you may want to envision pristine coastlines, epic Mayan ruins or lush rain forests along the way. What you shouldn't have to do is worry about your car insurance coverage.

To protect yourself financially and legally, get some answers and make some decisions before heading south. Specifically, what car insurance is needed for Mexico? What's liability coverage? What is comprehensive car insurance? And which policy would work best for you?

What Car Insurance Is Needed for Mexico?

If you're driving on a federal Mexican highway or bridge, you need, at a minimum, a civil liability insurance policy. That's the law. Moreover, your existing American or Canadian policy won't suffice.

If a law enforcement officer were to stop you and discover that you lack proof of liability insurance — even if you weren't involved in an accident — you could face a fine.


Liability insurance takes care of costs stemming from injuries to third parties due to an at-fault auto accident. A third party includes pedestrians, other motorists and their passengers. Liability insurance excludes coverage to the at-fault vehicle, driver and passengers.

Property belonging to the third party, damaged as a result of the accident, is also covered under a liability policy.

In addition, the death of a pedestrian, another motorist or a third-party passenger is covered. Be aware that, in 2013, Mexico's laws were updated to hold drivers responsible for up to $300,000 in damages for fatal accidents. For that reason, a minimum insurance limit of $300,000 is advisable. And a limit of $500,000 would provide even more security.

What Is Full Coverage Insurance?

A second option is full coverage auto insurance, which provides liability coverage, physical damage, and other coverage normally considered comprehensive (or other than collision) in the U.S.

Physical damage coverage pays for damages done to your car caused by an accident. And, it covers other kinds of vehicular problems outside of collisions, including:

Furthermore, if you choose to have your vehicle repaired in the United States, your full coverage policy should cover any increased labor rates up to a specified amount per hour, depending on your insurer.

Pros and Cons


Because it offers so much less, liability insurance is cheaper than full coverage insurance.


On the other hand, full coverage supplies peace of mind, in knowing you, your passengers and your vehicle are taken care of in the event of an accident. What if you broke down on a lonely road? What if a troublemaker spray-painted your car as you slept? What if an uninsured person sideswiped you? What if your vehicle suffered any number of other unfortunate events? Thanks to full coverage, you wouldn't lose money.

To compare both full and liability insurance coverage side-by-side, view our insurance comparisons page.

However remote the odds, a serious accident in Mexico could be financially devastating. Get the right coverage so you can enjoy your Mexican road trip, siestas and fiestas all the more.