Is U.S. Car Insurance Valid in Mexico?

Police Officer using walkie talking at the scene of an accident in Mexico, damage to car front grill shownNothing compares to crossing the border and heading south into Mexico, cruising the highway as it winds through the countryside. However, that tranquility could come to an abrupt halt if your vehicle is not properly insured for accidents. If you think you have full coverage under your Canadian or American policy, think again--the laws concerning car insurance for Mexico are trickier than you might imagine.

Proof of Financial Responsibility Is Mandatory

In Mexico, the only "insurance" drivers are absolutely required to have is proof of financial responsibility. For your own sake, however, it's a bad idea to depend on that alone. Even if you have enough money in your bank account to provide such evidence, you could end up parting with a lot of that cash if you get into an accident while you're uninsured.

Even worse, if you are found to be at fault, you can be detained by local police (and your vehicle impounded) until it's been determined that you can cover the costs of any repairs and/or medical fees to the injured parties.

And, sometimes, when it's not immediately clear who caused an accident, Mexican authorities may delay both parties while determining who is at fault.

Types of Insurance

Before we dive further, there's some industry jargon that's important to understand. There is a difference between liability insurance and full coverage. Liability coverage only pays for damage done by your vehicle to other people or their property. Full coverage, on the other hand provides liability coverage, AND covers you, your passengers and your vehicle in the event of an accident.

Only Mexican Liability Insurance Is Valid in Mexico

The U.S. Department of State officially recommends that Americans purchase Mexican liability insurance. And this is because the liability coverage you have on your vehicle in the U.S. or Canada will not be recognized as valid in Mexico.

Your U.S. or Canadian insurance may—possibly—cover you and your vehicle for a limited distance inside the Mexico border. If that's the case, however, it is usually only valid 20-25 kilometers into the country, and there may be a time limit, as well. Some companies offer even broader policies. However, Mexican authorities will never accept U.S. or Canadian liability insurance, because liability insurance for Mexico must be provided by an insurer who's licensed to sell insurance there.

You need to find a Mexican insurer to provide a policy. And, if you are driving your own U.S. or Canadian vehicle, your insurance policy must be specifically for a foreign vehicle in Mexico, sometimes called tourist car insurance.

How to Get Mexican Car Insurance

Insurance adjuster touching and looking at damage to vehicle front side panelBrowsing the Mexican car insurance market can be confusing. The average driver might not recognize the names of the most highly rated insurance companies, like CHUBB, El Aguila, and Grupo Nacional Provincial (GNP). Yet, many of these companies are owned by large international companies whose names you may recognize.

If you have some concern about finding an insurer you can trust, and how to navigate Spanish language websites or insurance agents, you can purchase Mexico insurance through a managing general agent (MGA). An MGA is an insurance agent or business authorized to sell insurance for (Mexican) insurers with whom they have a relationship. MGAs can simplify the Mexico insurance buying process by offering services not available when buying directly, like policies written in English, bilingual agents and claims adjusters. The MGA can even assist if there are any issues regarding settling a claim.

So, do you really need Mexican car insurance? Yes! You should absolutely purchase Mexican car insurance to protect yourself from the possibility of hassles, big payouts, and detainment in Mexico.

Mexpro is a Managing General Agent (MGA) who offers Mexico insurance ONLY from A-Rated insurers. We have long, established relationships with Mexico's top insurers. Our programs, many developed with the insurers we represent, offer policies in English, bilingual agents and claims adjusters, and legal assistance. Get help 24 hours/7 days a week using your policy's 800 claims number. So, if you're driving to Mexico, there's no reason not to protect yourself and get Mexican auto insurance now!