What To Do If You Have an Emergency While Traveling in Mexico
Are you traveling to Mexico soon? We hope so! It's a beautiful country with lots of things to see and enjoy. But it can be tricky if you don't know what to do in the event of an emergency, especially since many people have never been outside their home country before. We want to help you make sure you're prepared by giving you some tips on what to do if you have an emergency in Mexico.
First and foremost, it's important to know where to go for help. You should head to the nearest hospital or clinic if you experience a medical emergency. If you're in a rural area, go to the closest town and find the local police station or hospital.
If you can, try to have the following information on hand before you need it: the address and phone number of the hospital or clinic near your trip destination, the address and phone number of the police station, and the contact information for your embassy or consulate. That way, you'll be able to get help faster if something happens.
It is helpful to have a working cell phone if you have an emergency in Mexico. Many U.S. cell phone plans offer services in Mexico. If your phone use will be limited, this may be the way to go.
If your cell phone provider doesn't offer international service, you can purchase a Mexican SIM card. If your cell phone is unlocked, you can replace the SIM card from your country of origin and use your phone in Mexico for much less money. Be sure you do not lose your non-Mexico SIM card so you can use it when you return to your home country.
Buying a SIM card in Mexico is very easy. There are mobile internet shops everywhere, especially in the tourist areas. Look for Telcel, AT&T, and Movistar shops. You will also find these stores in malls and airports. Learn more about using your cell phone in Mexico.
Next, download an emergency app like Travel Smart, which can help you find hospitals, police stations, and other emergency services in Mexico. Finally, have the contact information for your health insurance company and your consulate or embassy in Mexico handy.
If all else fails, there are payphones in most areas of Mexico. At last count, there are over 600,000 pay phones throughout the country. You will need to buy a phone card to use the pay phone; these are found at newsstands and pharmacies.
Emergency Phone Number
There's a lot of misinformation out there about emergency phone numbers in Mexico. Many people think 911 is not an emergency number in Mexico because their emergency services differ from ours. In 2016, Mexico moved to using 911 as their emergency number to be consistent with the U.S. and Canada. If you dial "911" while in Mexico, you will be connected with emergency services in your area.
What if I Don't Speak Spanish?
Don't worry, you can call The Green Angels (see below) at “078”. They have operators who speak in English and can help you.
Driving on toll roads, or "Cuota" in Spanish, is an excellent way to stay safe and have peace of mind. You can generally drive faster on toll roads because they are wider, smoother, have less obstacles, and less large truck traffic. Another advantage is the Green Angels, who provide roadside assistance.
The Green Angels
The Green Angels patrol all federal and toll highways in Mexico, helping drivers with anything from changing a tire to getting medical help. They can usually be found driving green SUVs with emergency lights. The Green Angels are funded by Mexico's Secretary of Tourism.
Dial "078" to reach the Green Angels if you require roadside assistance while on Mexican federal highways.
Mexican Auto Insurance
If you're driving to Mexico, you should know that Mexican law requires that you pay for any damages you cause to another vehicle and/or person before you may leave the scene of the accident. So, it's crucial to have liability coverage from a reliable Mexican insurance company. In addition, many people also choose to buy travel insurance in case of an emergency.
There are several reputable Mexican insurance companies, and it's important to compare rates and policies before you buy. Most companies offer liability only and comprehensive coverage. Price, deductibles, coverage options, and price can vary among insurers. Make sure the company you use is licensed to do business in Mexico and is A-Rated by A.M. Best.
If you are involved in an accident, you'll need to contact your Mexican insurance company immediately, and while you are in Mexico. With a policy from Mexpro, you will reach a bilingual agent who can assist you in making a claim and send a bilingual adjuster and legal assistant to the scene, if needed. Your insurer and/or your travel assistance coverage (MexVisit®, provided on all Mexpro policies) can either help you in continuing your trip or assist you in getting home.
Itinerary and Passport
Leave a copy of your itinerary, insurance information, and passports with a family member or friend in your home country. If any of these items are stolen, you'll have an easy way to get that lost information. In addition, always keep your passport and other important documents on your person. If you lose them or they're stolen, it can be time-consuming and expensive to replace them. By being prepared, you can help ensure a safe and worry-free trip to Mexico.
Register with the U.S. Embassy
Register with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) online before you go to Mexico. The embassy can offer you quick assistance if there is an emergency while you're in Mexico. Find U.S. Consulate information and services at on their services page.
It is important to be prepared for emergency situations in foreign countries, as they can happen anywhere and anytime. Avoid difficulties in a stressful situation by following these tips before you begin your travels.
If you are traveling with the intention of driving in Mexico, we recommend getting Mexican insurance coverage from Mexpro before your travels.
For more information on emergency preparedness while traveling, please visit the U.S. Department of State website or contact your local embassy.