Guide to Mexico Auto Insurance and Roadside Assistance

Proptecting Your Car in Mexico

When you drive your car in Mexico, travel with complete peace of mind, by being properly insured.

Your US or Canadian insurance policy, however comprehensive, won’t cover you in Mexico, but affordable insurance policies valid in Mexico are available…

Auto insurance for driving in Mexico

We recommend that you always drive properly insured in Mexico.  The risks of driving without adequate coverage are significant, especially in the event of a serious accident.

If you become involved in a car accident in Mexico and you are not insured:

  • you will become personally responsible for any damage to the third party’s vehicle (or vehicles, if it is determined that your actions were the cause of an incident involving several vehicles);
  • the authorities will pursue you personally for costs related to the repair of the public highway; this includes things like road surface, barriers and sign and lamp repairs—and can get expensive;
  • if someone is hurt or killed, all drivers will be arrested; if you are deemed to be responsible, third parties will pursue liability damages against you;
  • the authorities may charge you with driving without third party insurance that is compulsory in Mexico.

Get an online quote for Mexico Auto Insurance:

Insurance provided by our partners MexPro Insurance offer coverages using only A-rated insurers for vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, ATV/UTV, and Towed Units:

Quote for Auto Insurance

Third party liability

Under Mexican law, you must have liability insurance from a Mexican insurer to drive your vehicle on Mexican roadways.  Driving without adequate insurance for your vehicle is a risk, as police routinely ask to see insurance documentation when they stop road vehicles.

US and Canadian auto policies won’t cover your liabilities

Your US or Canadian policy will not suffice, and you must have a policy underwritten by a Mexican insurance company—see next section.

If you become involved in a serious accident in Mexico, where persons are hurt or killed, you will be detained by the police until blame is assessed. If it is deemed that you are to blame, you will be detained for longer until the other party (parties) are satisfied with any compensation being offered by you (or more likely your insurance company) at which point they will sign the paperwork that will have you released from police custody.

Good insurance policies offer legal counsel and bail bond services so that, in the worst-case scenario, you have the legal support and financial assistance you will need.

If you are driving your own car across the border from the USA or Canada into Mexico, you must purchase an insurance policy that is legally valid in Mexico.

  • However comprehensive your US or Canadian auto insurance policy is, it will not cover you for third party liabilities when your foreign-plated vehicle is present in Mexico.
  • You can purchase specialized auto insurance coverages for Mexico which are not expensive and will give you peace of mind when you’re driving here. They can also provide additional services including breakdown support and medical evacuation coverages.
  • If you are renting a car in Mexico, be sure that you are comprehensively insured in that vehicle.

Although your US or Canadian car insurance policy may be comprehensive and might also extend some limited damage coverage in Mexico, you will still need to purchase special policy that is legally valid for third party liability in Mexico.

In the event of an accident, presenting a US or Canadian auto insurance policy will be of no use because these documents have no legal force in Mexico, and the companies backing them will not settle any claim arising when you’re driving outside of the US/Canada.

Drivers who become involved in serious accidents in Mexico are usually arrested pending investigation. If you are not properly insured in Mexico and become involved in a serious accident —even if you’re not at fault— the procedures will place considerable stress and financial burden upon you.

This section of the guide describes how auto insurance works in Mexico and how to go about buying the additional insurance protection you need to ensure that you, your passengers, and your vehicle are properly insured when driving on Mexico’s roads—and that in the event of a serious accident, you are properly covered by a legally valid and adequate insurance policy.

Insuring your foreign-plated car in Mexico

Only insurance companies that are licensed in Mexico can issue auto insurance policies that are recognized and accepted by Mexico’s legal system.

A few US or Canadian-based insurance companies will extend cover for physical damage on cars and RVs while they are situated in Mexico, but they cannot and do not provide third party liability insurance—that is obligatory when you are driving in Mexico.

So, although your home country insurance may cover damage to your own vehicle, they will not cover your liability to others in Mexico.

Therefore, a special insurance policy is necessary to be properly insured in Mexico that is issued directly by a Mexican insurer, or through a broker in the US or Canada that is working in conjunction with a Mexican insurance company.

Important note: When you take your vehicle to Mexico, you need to keep enough insurance coverage in place to maintain the vehicle’s legal registration valid in your home country.  See this article for details about this requirement.

Get an online quote for Mexico Auto Insurance

Insurance provided by our partners MexPro Insurance offer coverages using only A-rated insurers for vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, ATV/UTV, and Towed Units:

Quote for Auto Insurance

Insuring a Mexican-plated car

If you own a Mexican-plated car, you can purchase insurance locally for the vehicle’s use in Mexico.  Download our free eBook: the guide to the cost of living in Mexico, for details and connections to local auto insurance companies that insure Mexican-plated cars.

Driving a Mexican-plated car to the USA

If you intend to drive your Mexican-plated car to the USA, you will need to purchase a special top-up insurance policy to cover your third-party liability there.  You can get a quote online and purchase ‘northbound’ auto insurance via Mexperience.

Who’s insuring you?

Buyers purchasing insurance for their vehicles in Mexico are often misled by believing that they can rely on the broker, rather than the insurance underwriter, to professionally manage any claim that may arise during their stay in Mexico.

  • The insurance company underwriting your policy is much more important than the broker that sells you the policy. As all insurance policies are sold through brokers, it’s important to know which insurance company (or companies) are underwriting the policies being sold to you by the broker.
  • Regardless of how reputable or well-intentioned an agent or insurance broker may be, if they place your coverage with a troubled insurer, you could experience some unpleasant surprises when you make a claim. Insurance from a more stable and financially strong insurance company may cost more, but the additional premium represents a lower risk to you in the event of a claim.
  • Protect yourself and your investment by asking the broker “who underwrites your policies?” and make sure that the insurance companies being used to underwrite your policy have a strong, stable, history.
  • AM Best is a US-based ratings agency that provides an annual rating for Mexican insurance companies. Not all Mexican insurance companies are rated by AM Best and of those that are, few have a “A or better” rating—that defines the company’s risk profile as “Good, or Excellent.”

Tips for choosing an insurance broker

When you choose a broker, pick one that:

  • is properly licensed;
  • offers a comprehensive range of coverages including breakdown and medical as options;
  • has the customer service infrastructure needed to properly take care any claims and needs while you’re driving in Mexico; and,
  • operates using well-rated insurance companies.

Mexperience’s insurance associate offering auto insurance for Mexico only works with Mexican insurance companies that have an “A or better” AMB rating.

Get an online quote for Mexico Auto Insurance

Insurance provided by our partners MexPro Insurance offer coverages using only A-rated insurers for vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, ATV/UTV, and Towed Units:

Quote for Auto Insurance

What to look for in a Mexico auto insurance policy

Regardless of who you buy your auto insurance coverage from, you should check that your auto insurance policy includes these essential elements:

Financially sound insurance underwriter

Make sure that the insurance company underwriting your policy is financially sound. Policies from lesser-rated insurance companies might cost less, but that lower premium translates into a de facto higher-risk for the policy holders. Don’t just shop around for the cheapest policy; as we remarked in a previous chapter in this section—consider who’s insuring you.

Licensed broker

As all insurance policies are sold through brokers, ensure that the broker you engage with is licensed and that they offer full transparency of the policies they offer. You should be able to check the detailed terms and conditions of any policy before you are asked to buy.

Broker’s presence and infrastructure

Ensure that the broker you use is well established in the market.  ‘Good infrastructure’ means that:

  • the broker has excellent customer services facilities,
  • makes effective use of technology so that you can purchase your policy efficiently, and that the policy offers help and support services when you are in Mexico, in addition to the insurance coverage;
  • this includes things like local access numbers where you can call to make a claim, report issues—and talk to someone in English, especially if you don’t speak much (or any) Spanish.

Liability coverages, legal assistance, and bail bond

Ensure that any policy you purchase includes coverage for these three essential elements:

  • Third party liability: the policy must cover third party liability, including your personal liability to any third parties.
  • Legal assistance: good policies offer comprehensive legal assistance that will support you in the event of a serious accident or third-party claim.
  • Bail bond: your coverage ought to include a ‘bail bond’ element that will cover payment of your bail bond if you become involved in a serious accident and are detained while the incident is investigated, and liability is assessed. If this process is protracted, the bail bond may get you released pending inquiries.

Breakdown and medical coverages

The better brokers will offer a comprehensive range of additional support services, which are optional, but are worth considering when you are driving in Mexico.  The two most important are:

Breakdown coverage

If your car breaks down while you’re driving in Mexico, roadside recovery will provide you with the essential support you need to get your car repaired and mitigate risks of becoming stranded. Roadside assistance may include things like delivery of emergency fuel, towing services, dealing with flat or damaged tires, locksmith support, jumpstart assistance, and provision of lodging and a rental car while you wait for your vehicle to be repaired, and repatriation to your home country in the event of a write-off.

Medical assistance

An auto insurance policy that provides medical coverage will provide round-the-clock medical assistance on your road trips, including in the event of a serious accident, land and air medical evacuation and coverages to support you and your travel companions, for example with accommodations and transport while you convalesce.

Mexperience’s auto insurance associate offers a comprehensive range of additional services that provide peace of mind when you’re taking a road trip in Mexico.

Local support when you need it most

In the event of an accident or incident and subsequent claim, the level of local support your broker’s insurer has in place in Mexico will make all the difference to you.

  • The broker and their insurance company should provide easy access to local support services in Mexico so that in the event of a claim, you are able to call for help with the least amount of effort.
  • They ought to offer support attended by an English-speaking service agent who will be able to manage your call efficiently and dispatch the help and support you need.
  • The local support ought to coordinate all your needs including accident reporting, legal support, breakdown, and medical assistance (if you purchased these).

Get an online quote for Mexico Auto Insurance

Insurance provided by our partners MexPro Insurance offer coverages using only A-rated insurers for vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, ATV/UTV, and Towed Units:

Quote for Auto Insurance

Making an auto insurance claim in Mexico

Your policy documentation should be clear about the procedure you need to undertake in the event of an accident or incident, and any subsequent claims. Here is a summary of the most important points, which are relevant to terms on most Mexican auto insurance policies:

You MUST make the claim in Mexico

Some people wait until they get back to the US or Canada before making a claim, especially if it’s for something minor, for example, for bodywork or a hit-and-run incident in a parking lot. Insurance policies require you to make a claim while you are in Mexico and most will not process your claim if you wait until you return home, except in the most exceptional circumstances.

Calling the insurance helpline

The first call you make if you become involved in an accident should be to the insurance company’s helpline. In addition to registering your claim, they will be able to dispatch an insurance assessor to the scene of the accident, as well as plan for lawyers or other services to be put in place for you, in the event of a more serious accident.  They may also arrange for breakdown and medical services to attend the scene if you purchased these additional coverages, and they are required.  See the section about dealing with road accidents in this guide.

Paperwork and reimbursement

You may be asked to produce a police report as well as other relevant documentation as part of the claim procedure. In some cases, for example, for immediate repairs to get your vehicle back on the road, you may need to pay these out-of-pocket and get reimbursed when you return home. Keep all receipts. Your insurance policy will be specific about what to do in these circumstances. In all cases, remember that you should lodge your claim in Mexico—don’t wait until you get back home.

Buying Mexico auto insurance online

Buying online before your trip instead of buying when you get to the border enables you to consider the coverages you need patiently with care, review the terms to be sure the coverage meets your needs, and arrange the policy online and get instant coverage starting from the date of your trip.

Mexperience is pleased to introduce our readers to our insurance associate, MexPro—a leading US-based broker specializing in Mexico auto insurance:

  • Browse and choose from a range of competitively priced auto insurance policies
  • Get coverages issued by a fully licensed US insurance broker and backed only by “A or better” rated Mexican insurance companies
  • Coverages include a comprehensive range of services including third-party liability, legal counsel, and bail bond
  • Optional coverages for breakdown and medical assistance to give you peace of mind on your road trip
  • First-class customer service and claims aftercare facilities
  • Full transparency about policy types and wording before you buy
  • Buy from an experienced broker that sells over 100,000 Mexico auto insurance policies every year

Get an online quote for Mexico Auto Insurance

Insurance provided by our partners MexPro Insurance offer coverages using only A-rated insurers for vehicles, motorcycles, RVs, ATV/UTV, and Towed Units:

Quote for Auto Insurance

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