Insurance, Real Estate

Protecting Your Mexican Home Against Burglars

How to protect your home in Mexico against burglars and be covered in the event of loss or damage

Provincial Home in Mexico

One of the principal reasons homeowners in Mexico obtain property insurance is to protect against theft or other loss of their possessions due to burglary.

Property insurance policies cover theft of most items from your home—and sometimes for certain items stolen from your car or hotel room when you’re traveling—but the specific provisions in most policies typically stipulate an uncovered deductible amount.

A good insurance policy will also cover you if an act of vandalism is visited upon your property. While vandalism can be a relatively minor irritation—graffiti spray-painted on an exterior wall, for example—it can be far more expensive to make good if the vandalism is severe and happens inside the property as part-and-parcel of a burglary. While most burglars are looking for easily portable, high-value items like jewelry, technology, and cash, it’s not unheard of for some burglaries to cause extensive internal damage.

While a comprehensive insurance policy will cover vandalism, when the deductible is considered, in practice an event like a graffiti painted on an external wall will be less expensive to make good locally than filing an insurance claim.  The same is true with petty thefts: small losses aren’t covered unless the value of the loss is greater than the policy’s deductible.

In Mexico, unattended homes are at the highest risk of burglary.  It’s unwise to leave your home vacant and unattended in Mexico for lengthy periods, and most foreign residents who plan to be away for a week or more will take some precautions.

Here are some key tips to consider when you plan to be away and leave your house unoccupied for an extended period:

Check the insurance policy: Be sure to check the detail of your home insurance policy as most coverages underwriting domestic dwellings will not pay-out if your property has been left vacant for 30 days or more.

Communal homes: If you’ve purchased your Mexican home in a condominium complex or in a gated community (known in Spanish as privadas or fraccionamientos), some of these have 24-hour security at the gate. Let your gate staff (or other staff like the property manager or the cleaner) know that you’ll be away and ask one of the neighbors to pick-up your post and call-in to the property to check on things; this is especially important during the rainy season after a major storm (or hurricane if you live along the coast) to check for any damage that may need attending to right away. If you don’t have a neighbor or local friend who can help with this, a local realty agent may provide the service for a fee.

Detached homes: If your home is situated along a public street, and especially if it’s in a semi-rural or rural location off-the-beaten-track, we recommend you adopt a range of measures to mitigate the possibility of burglary. These include having interior and/or exterior lighting set-up on timers, and/or motion detectors outside that switch-on lights in key areas when people approach the property.  Some owners have alarm systems installed which are connected to a security company.

Your car and other vehicles: If your car is kept in public view and you’re going to leave it while you’re away, have a neighbor move it occasionally; doing this will also help to keep the car’s battery in good working order, especially if the vehicle is older and your absence is extended.

Home checkers/sitters: Ask a neighbor, family member, or friend—or pay a local agent—to pick-up mail and check the property while you’re away.  An excellent way to protect your property while you’re away for a lengthy period is to have someone you know house-sit for you. For a trusted friend or family member, this arrangement might provide an opportunity for them to enjoy a rent-free leisure break here in Mexico, and it’s also useful if you have pets that need looking after: having them cared for at home is a better arrangement (and less expensive) than using kennels.

The precise coverages on offer to protect your home are also determined by where about in Mexico the property is situated: not every insurance company will offer full coverage in every part of the country. Our associates, MexPro, offer a property insurance service online whereby you can enter your property details (including the postal code) and their system will give you a quote on property insurance, where available, including coverage for vandalism.

For further information about keeping your property safe, read our detailed guide Property Insurance in Mexico.