What to know about Mexican Automobile Policy
By Aldis Barsketis
Many Americans and Canadians drive their foreign-plated cars to San Miguel. An important part of keeping a car and driving here is to ensure that one is properly insured. Your US or Canadian insurance policy will not cover you here! You must buy a Mexican insurance policy. In general, all that is required is year, make, and model of the vehicle and basic driver information.
In Mexico, if you are involved in a car accident and you are at fault, the police will most likely detain you until they determine you can make payments to the other party.
Mexican policies comprise several parts. All car policies offer liability with an option to add collision and theft coverage. All offer legal and bonding defense. It is important to look at the dollar limits to determine what you are actually being insured for.
Liability, paying for damages that are caused, is quoted in dollar amounts from US$ 50,000 to US$ 500,000. In the event that a third party is killed, the at-fault party could now be liable for seven times more compensation than before. This new law went into effect in late 2012. It is now recommended to carry US$ 300,000 to US$ 500,000 of coverage.
Regarding collision and theft, youneed to declare the value of the car to the insurance company. It is wise to look up the value of your car using Kelly Blue Book or NADA guides. Over-insuring your car is simply wasting money. If your car is stolen or totaled, the insurance company will only pay up to the fair market value that these services quote. Also, many basic policies only offer complete theft coverage and offer no vandalism coverage. Finally, if your car requires repairs, the amount the policies will pay by the hour for repairs can range from US$ 18 to 70.
One overlooked and misunderstood coverage is the medical payments for driver and occupant coverage. This pays for medical bills for you, and your passengers’ care. Medical bills are not paid out of the liability coverage. This coverage is offered from US$2,000 to 15,000 per person to a stated limit for all vehicle occupants.
Consider longer term policies. Purchasing a policy for 30 days of coverage will cost as much as a policy for six months. A 12-month policy is not that much more than a 6-month policy. Many short-term visitors buy enough coverage for a trip here, not realizing that they might actually be paying more than an annual policy. It is recommended that at your renewal, you take pictures of your car from all sides and the interior. Send an email to yourself with the pictures that will time stamp the pictures. This will prove the condition of the car in the event of a theft or major accident and can be easily sent to the insurance company if needed.
Finally, review your policy and know what additional benefits it may offer. Many policies offer roadside assistance, mechanical breakdown towing, emergency travel benefits, and rental car benefits. Copy your policy and keep it in your car. Know what to do and who to call if you have an accident. Having a local agent as an advocate in the event of a problem can save you time and hassle settling a claim if needed.
Aldis Barsketis, Owner, WeExpats Insurance Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org Vonage 435-714-7012