What Happens If You Get In 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 a car accident in Mexico, first and foremost, check to see if anyone is injured or hurt. Render aid, if possible, and call 911, Mexico's National emergency phone number, 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 to do and 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 an adjuster to assist you and handle the situation. If you do not speak Spanish, please request a bilingual adjuster.
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 you believe you may need legal assistance (included in all Mexpro policies) notify your insurer. You may want to request bilingual assistance if you do not speak Spanish.
If there is only property damage caused by the accident you still need to call your insurance agent and the police (you need the police report to file a claim).
Your insurance company will send out an adjuster to assess the situation, determine the amount of damage, and file reports for you. If you do not speak Spanish, be sure to request a bilingual agent.
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 provide access to a qualified lawyer and bail services to make sure you don't have to spend time in a Mexican jail.
You can request additional legal assistance by calling the number on your MexVisit® policy, a travel assistance package included with all Mexpro policies.
If your vehicle is undrivable and you have full coverage, your adjuster will arrange for it to be towed to the nearest approved service center. Your insurer will not pay to tow your vehicle back to the U.S. for repair. Mexpro's MexVisit® travel assistance helps cover towing costs back to the U.S., however.
Your underwriter will pay increased cost of repairs, up to the limit, if the vehicle is repaired in the U.S.
If you are towing a trailer or boat, your insurance policy must include them specifically, if you want them covered for an accident.
What If I'm Having Difficulties Settling My Claim?
If you are experiencing a delay in payment from your insurer, make sure you confirm with the underwriter about whether or not they are waiting for any information from you. In most cases this will cause a delay or break in communication, as they are just waiting. If this is not the case, give Mexpro a call to assist. Keep in mind we have no information on claims, cannot collect data, or issue payments. We can only help you get in touch with the company and communicate directly.
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 on your insurance policy to report the accident. They will send an adjuster out to assist you and file reports for you. Request bilingual assistance if you need it.
- Request legal assistance from your insurer and MexVisit® if you believe you will need it (particularly if someone is injured). Remember to get a bilingual representative if needed.
- Have your driver's license, passport, FMM (or visa), TIP, vehicle registration, 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!