All fifty states now require proof of financial responsibility, this is usually referred to as proof of insurance, Canada is no different, and neither is Mexico. Mexico has the same financial responsibility laws as does the United States and Canada. The difference between the United States and Canada and Mexico is the different legal systems. Mexican law does not recognize any insurance that was not written by a Mexican insurance company. Only a Mexican car insurance policy, written by a Mexican insurance company will be recognized.
There are a few people out there that are under the belief that their United States insurance policy will cover them in Mexico, and there are a few major carriers that will provide limited coverage, usually within the first twenty-five miles of the border. Do not confuse this with proper insurance. I know that your insurance company is very reputable and will pay all legitimate claims, whether in the United States or Mexico, but that is not the issue. The question is not if a claim will be paid, but if the Mexican government will consider your policy as valid proof of financial responsibility. Valid proof of financial responsibility must be provided by a Mexican car insurance company.
Some might question the seriousness of a minor traffic ticket in a foreign country. To answer that inquiry let me explain that in Mexico a failure to provide proof of financial responsibility it is not a misdemeanor, it is a felony. Additionally, under the Mexican legal system you are guilty until proven innocent, that means that if you are involved in an accident and don’t have Mexican car insurance from a Mexican insurance company you will most certainly be spending your vacation in jail. That doesn’t sound like my idea of a fun vacation.
There are a few differences between the United States policies and the Mexican policies. In the United States it is common to have very high Bodily Injury limits and relatively low property damage limits. The use of a split limits is common in the United States and accomplishes the purpose of combining high Bodily Injury limits with low property damage limits quite well.
Bodily Injury claims are usually relatively low in Mexico; this is because all claims are settled on an actual cash value basis (acv), without any payments for pain and suffering or emotional distress. This means that the majority of the limit should be available for property damage claims. The use of a split limit is unwise in these circumstances. The usual standard is a combined single limit of one hundred thousand dollars.
One of the differences between United States policies and Mexican policies is that Mexican car insurance policies do not cover vandalism or partial theft. That means that if someone were to break a window you would be responsible for the damages. In order to file a claim for theft your car needs to be gone.
Don’t be left without these coverages. Legal Aid and Travel Assistance coverages may be listed as optional on the application, but you shouldn’t consider them to be unnecessary. Without both of these coverages you will be paying for your own legal expenses until liability is determined. Remember that in Mexico you are guilty until proven innocent
To ensure that your vacation is as rewarding as it should be purchase the right insurance from the right company at the right price, and buy the right Mexican car insurance before your vacation to Mexico. Mexico is a spectacular place to visit; the beaches are wonderful, the people are warm and friendly, the food is delicious, and a great time can be had by the entire family.
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