Insurance - Auto
If you plan to drive in Mexico
there are a couple of insurance
related issues that you should
be aware of.
In most states in Mexico, if you get into an accident and you are at fault, you are responsible for the damages, and fault is at
the sole discretion of the police officer. On federal highways, you probably have a fair shot of being judged impartially, but often with local police and in the smaller communities (like San Miguel de Allende), even if one of the parties is obviously at fault (e.g., s/he was driving under the influence), responsibility
for the accident is often
assigned to whichever party
appears to have more money,
regardless of nationality.
If the damages are higher than your insurance coverage, then you run the risk of being held in jail (yikes!) until your family
deposits the balance with the court. Therefore, we strongly suggest that you purchase insurance substantially above the minimum of $100,000 USD (or $1,000,000 pesos) that many insurance agents will offer you. $300,000 USD will probably only cost you $100 more per year, and $500,000, about $150 more.
Unless spending time in a Mexican jail is your idea of fun and adventure, it's really not worth the risk to be uninsured, or even under-insured,
especially considering that
automobile insurance in
Mexico is generally about half
of what it would be in the U.S.
I know of one foreigner who was at fault in an accident where someone was killed. He did not have insurance or the means to pay the damages and was sentenced to 18 months in jail. In another case, I know of someone who had a car accident and did substantial damage to street-side
electrical installations. These
damages were estimated at
2.5 million pesos, while his
insurance was only for 1
million. He was held in jail for
17 days until his family
deposited the balance.
Automobile insurance can be purchased at the border or online. For short trips, policies bought at the border are fine, but if you plan on living and driving in Mexico for any length of time, we suggest shopping around online to get the best long term policy.