What Happens If You Get In An Accident In Mexico?
What if I Have a Car Accident in Mexico?
Thousands of people drive into Mexico every day. Many are just coming in for the day and do not leave the border zone. Others drive throughout the country, exploring its culture and wonders.
Should you decide to be one of these people, you need to understand that no matter where you go in Mexico, be it one mile across the border or all the way to Chiapas, you MUST have Mexican liability insurance to avoid potentially serious consequences in the event of a car accident in Mexico.
Your U.S. or Canadian insurance will not cover you in Mexico. Even those polices that claim to cover you 25 miles into Mexico are not sufficient to satisfy Mexico’s legal requirement of third-party liability coverage.
Having adequate insurance coverage in Mexico assures that, should you be involved in an accident while you are in Mexico, the financial and legal consequences are kept to a minimum. You need insurance to prove financial ability to pay for any damages. Without this ability, you can be taken to jail until a bond is posted to guarantee payment of damages.
But getting insurance isn't all there is to it. As much as it doesn't appear so, Mexico is a foreign country with different legalities. To further guarantee you and your vehicle are covered in Mexico, and that there are no problems with your claim, follow the directions below.
Should you be involved in an auto accident in Mexico, first and foremost, check to see if anyone is injured or hurt. Render aid, if possible, and call 911 for further assistance.
After checking for injuries, call your insurance company using the phone number provided on your policy. A bilingual agent will further instruct you on what and what not to do.
IMPORTANT: You must file your claim while in Mexico. Failure to do so may result in the denial of your claim.
The insurance company will send out a bilingual adjuster to assist you and handle the situation. With rare exception, you do not move your vehicle after the accident until the insurance adjuster and the police have arrived and you have been instructed to do so.
If there is only property damage caused by the accident you still need to call your insurance agent and the police (you will need the police report for the claim).
Your insurance company will send out a bilingual adjuster to assess the situation, determine the amount of damage, and file reports for you.
The police or other party may try to encourage you to settle the damages on the spot. While this is often done, you may want to wait for your adjuster so that you get the best advice. Do not sign anything or agree to anything unless you absolutely understand what you are signing or agreeing to. Do not trust “translations” that are not provided by your adjuster or attorney. Do not settle the damage with a “handshake.”
You still must file your claim while in Mexico to avoid denial of your claim.
If there are injuries resulting from the accident, your insurance adjuster becomes especially important to you. When there are injuries in a car accident in Mexico, either or both parties may be arrested until liability (fault) is determined and the extent of the injuries and cost of them are determined.
One of the roles of your adjuster is to provide assurances of financial ability to pay, thus lessening your chances of going to jail. Your adjuster should will provide access to a qualified lawyer and bail services to make sure you don’t have to spend time in a Mexican jail.
If your vehicle is undrivable, your adjuster will arrange for it to be towed to the nearest service center. You will want to check what towing services are included in your policy. Most likely, these services will not include towing your vehicle back to the U.S. for repair.
If you are towing a trailer or boat, your insurance policy must include them specifically, or the entire coverage may be void in the event of an accident.
Car Accident in Mexico Checklist
- Remain as calm as possible.
- Do not move the vehicles unless instructed to do so by authorities. (There are a very few exceptions to this in some of the larger cities.)
- Check for injuries, provide aid if possible.
- Call 911 to report the accident. You will need the police report for filing claims with your insurance company.
- Call the number provided by your insurance company to report the accident. They will send an adjuster out to assist you and file reports for you.
- Have your FMM, passport, driver’s license, and insurance papers ready to show authorities when they arrive on the scene.
- Do not sign anything or agree to any claims of fault or payments without consulting your insurance adjuster. Do not settle the claims on a “handshake” deal. Do not pay anything without first consulting with your insurance company.
- Remember to file your claim BEFORE leaving Mexico, or you may void your claim entirely.
We hope you do not have an accident while driving your vehicle in Mexico. But if you do, please use this accident checklist to make sure you have done all that is necessary get your claim resolved quickly. Please also keep copies of your insurance policy with you at all times while driving your vehicle in Mexico. Safe travels!