Does US Car Insurance Work in Mexico? The Inside Scoop

Does US car insurance work in Mexico?

Before you drive your American car into Mexico, you must know the insurance requirements for Mexico. And a good place to start is by figuring out the answer to, “Does US car insurance work in Mexico?”

The short answer is no, US car insurance does not work in Mexico as your only source of coverage. Even if your US policy offers some protection, you must have a specific policy that meets specific Mexican requirements. This is true even for short trips close to the border.

In this post, I’ll help you understand:

  • What Mexican car insurance policy you need to drive your US car in Mexico
  • Options for short term Mexican insurance coverage
  • Where to buy Mexican insurance online

I have an extensive background in legal and insurance matters, plus I’m from the US and have driven my US-plated vehicles for thousands of miles on Mexican roads. I’m here to share this crucial information about driving a US car in Mexico.

Mexican Auto Insurance Requirements

The main reason why your US car insurance won’t work in Mexico is because you are legally required to have Mexican liability auto insurance. This liability insurance coverage must be provided by a Mexico-based entity.

This insurance covers the costs of any damage you cause to other people. It is routine for many places throughout the world to require liability insurance. We all do our best to avoid problems on the road, but accidents happen. And liability insurance is there to pay for damage our actions might cause to others.

If you drive in Mexico for any length of time, whether it’s one day or one month, you must get this Mexican insurance coverage.

So do you need car insurance in Mexico? Absolutely. If you don’t have this coverage, you are breaking the law. If the police figure this out, you could face fines or worse. If you get into an accident without this coverage, you could be looking at time behind bars.

I don’t know about you, but I never want to risk going to jail, especially in a foreign country.

Baja Bound is by far my top recommendation for where to buy Mexican car insurance for driving anywhere in Mexico. They have decades of experience, sell policies from the best Mexican insurance companies, and stand behind their customers with the ferocious intensity necessary in the insurance world.

Get an instant quote from Baja Bound, buy it in minutes, and move on with your life.

What Does My US Insurance Policy Cover in Mexico?

Certain US car insurance policies come with limited coverage for Mexico. But this built-in coverage is almost always related to property damage. This is usually part of a comprehensive insurance policy. 

Even if you have US liability coverage, your US policy does not include the legally required Mexican liability insurance.

This means that your insurer may pay you for damage to or theft of your property. But it absolutely, positively does not meet the Mexican requirements for car insurance.

Some US providers provide options to buy Mexican liability car insurance through them. Mexican car insurance from Geico, Allstate, and other big names exist. I’ve even heard of Mexican auto insurance from Costco.

You don’t want to do that. These companies aren’t specialists with Mexican insurance. They won’t give you personalized attention needed to navigate a Mexican auto policy. And if the worst happens and you need to make a claim, it is unlikely they will provide much help, if any.

The lond, rough road going into Calakmul ruins

Instead, buy your Mexico auto insurance through dedicated professionals who understand the situation and will have your back.

Companies like Baja Bound, one of the best Mexican car insurance sellers, stand behind you every step of the way. They walk you through the purchase process, make sure you get the right coverage at the best price, and will help out if you need to make a claim.

Mexican Insurance for American Cars

Now that you know you need Mexican liability insurance, the next step is understanding the options you have for a car driving from the US into Mexico. Let’s quickly go over the major policies, terms, and costs of Mexican auto insurance.

Mexican Car Insurance Policy Options

Mexican car insurance for tourists is quite similar to auto insurance in the US. The major difference is that these are usually short term Mexican insurance policies from a Mexican broker. Other than that, you’ll see many of the same options as you would in the US.

To start with, you must get liability coverage. This pays for damage you might cause to others and will keep you out of jail. 

Then you can decide whether to get full comprehensive coverage or not. Comprehensive coverage steps in to pay for damage to your vehicle that’s either:

  • A result of your own actions, such as if you run off the road, hit a giant pothole, or do anything else that damages your own car
  • When someone causes damage and they don’t have adequate insurance (or any insurance)

Even though Mexico insurance costs are lower with liability only, it’s usually best to get full coverage. The only exception is if you are driving a car that’s not valuable and you don’t mind paying out of pocket to replace or repair it.

If you have a vehicle that is valuable enough that you want to insure it, then get comprehensive coverage. Be prepared in case you cause an accident and in case someone else hits you and doesn’t have adequate insurance. Driving an expensive foreign vehicle in a country with different driving customs and many low-income people means it’s worth spending some cash to properly insure it.

Most Mexican auto insurance providers also offer add-ons such as roadside coverage, legal compensation, and rental car reimbursement. 

The top Mexican insurance companies offer (1) a base level package that doesn’t have many add-ons or (2) a premium package that includes most everything you could want. Sometimes you can pick and choose which to add or exclude as you wish.

I highly recommend getting roadside and legal compensation coverage, at minimum. Rental car is nice if you need it as well.

Roadside will take a major load off your shoulders if you have a breakdown or other problems unrelated to accidents. It’s usually limited in the distance covered or in the cost of the tow. Around $1,000 USD is about the best you can get and should go a long way in most parts of Mexico.

And the legal compensation is there in case you get into a very serious situation where you need a lawyer’s help. These worst-case scenarios are when you want to have help in your corner. Not only will insurance help you with the costs, but there’s a chance they can line up a qualified lawyer to help out.

Mexican Auto Insurance Costs

How much does Mexican auto insurance cost? As usual, the cost depends on many factors:

  • The length and terms of the policy
  • The value of what’s insured
  • Other risks related to the insured property and drivers

In general, you don’t want to buy overly cheap Mexican auto insurance. You can be frugal and responsible, but saving a little bit of cash now could cause serious problems in the future.

The reality is that some Mexican insurance companies can make filing claims extremely challenging. Others understand their role and pay out rapidly, once the information is confirmed.

What’s most important when shopping for a Mexico auto insurance policy is:

  1. Get the right policy and coverage 
  2. From a reputable insurance company 
  3. Through an experienced broker

Baja Bound checks all of those boxes. It doesn’t matter if you’re going to the lovely beaches in Baja California Sur, or if you’re heading through Nogales to get to the bustling areas of Puerto Vallarta, Baja Bound is the right call.

There is one very strange catch with the cost of short term Mexican insurance. Short policies often cost much more per day than longer policies. 

For example, the cost of a 3 week policy can often be about the same as a 6-month policy.

If you think about it, it makes sense. Someone driving hundreds of miles in a matter of weeks presents a higher risk than someone driving down to one location and staying for 6 months.

Because of this cost difference, consider getting a longer policy if there’s any chance you’ll make another trip down soon. If you want to extend your stay, make sure to call your broker before your existing policy expires. It will be much cheaper to extend an active policy than to start a new short-term policy.

Fun Car in Cozumel, Mexico

Where To Buy Mexican Car Insurance Online

Now it’s time for the good news. You can buy Mexican car insurance online easily. There are many ways to buy cheap Mexican car insurance. And you can easily get a free Mexican car insurance quote online with very little information and in seconds.

You’re in the right spot for good information on how to find the best Mexican car insurance. I’ve personally bought Mexican car insurance from different brokers. I’ve also personally dealt with complicated claims and have talked about it extensively with many travelers and Mexicans.

On top of that, I’ve gone the extra mile to read countless stories. Some of them are terrifying and some are reassuring. The biggest difference is what broker you use and what insurance company stands behind them. I’ve even dug into the financial ratings of the insurance companies to verify the fine details. 

Bottom line, you can trust what I have to say.

And Baja Bound is my recommended Mexican insurance provider for tourists. And they don’t just do Baja. They’re based near San Diego, but offer insurance policies for any US drivers going to Mexico. They can get you the right:

  • Mexican insurance for Baja
  • Mexican insurance for Nogales
  • Mexican insurance for Calexico
  • Mexican insurance no matter where you’re driving in Mexico!
Some of the many palapas at Progreso Beach near Merida, Yucatan

Baja Bound Mexican Car Insurance

Why Baja Bound? First and foremost, they are true professionals in this niche insurance market. They have been selling Mexico insurance policies to US drivers since 1994, and started their online sales in 1999.

Selling Mexican car insurance in San Ysidro, which is the border crossing near San Diego and Tijuana, is a big competitive market. San Ysidro is the world’s busiest land border crossing, and Baja Bound has been there for nearly three decades helping people do it right. 

Another major reason why I stick with Baja Bound is that they only sell insurance policies from the best Mexican insurance companies. The top two insurance companies are Chubb and HDI Seguros. GNP Seguros and El Aguila are two other top Mexican insurers.

What makes these two the best? It comes down to:

  • The best financial stability ratings
  • Excellent customer service and attention to detail
  • Rapid and fair claim payouts 

Want to guess what insurance providers Baja Bound works with? Chubb and HDI. Only the best.

Baja Bound is not the only insurance broker that offers Mexico car insurance for tourists. One other that I recommend because they only offer policies from reputable insurance companies is Mexico Insurance Online

They don’t quite have the same level of customer service or support as Baja Bound, but Mexico Insurance Online is an excellent broker that can get you lined up with a low-cost Mexico insurance policy from Chubb, GNP Seguros, and El Aguila.

Other Mexican Car Insurance Brokers

I strongly encourage you to avoid most other brokers. Many of them have serious flaws that will either force you to spend more than you should or will get you an insurance policy that isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

These problems include:

  • Overly cheap rates sold by low-quality Mexican insurance companies
  • Brokers that only sell insurance from one company fail to compare any rates for you
  • Lackluster customer service that relies on one or two individuals that are nothing more than salespeople

Being a tourist in Mexico is not the time to try to save a few dollars on an insurance policy. I have read terrible stories from these subpar insurers and the brokers are often quite misleading in their presentation of them.

I keep my ear to the ground and speak with many travelers, foreign residents of Mexico, and Mexican citizens. You really want to avoid going with subpar insurers. Stick with Chubb, HDI Seguros, GNP Seguros, or El Aguila.

Some brokers say they sell policies from “Mexico’s number one insurer,” which is usually Qualitas. Do you know what that really means? That insurer is the top based on VOLUME sold. 

Can you guess how an insurer sells the most policies? By being the bottom of the barrel cheapest option. This attracts masses of low-income people who can’t afford better coverage but have to buy the legally-mandated car insurance. Mapfre is another low-cost Mexico car insurance provider that I recommend avoiding.

If you’re traveling from the US to Mexico, don’t shoot yourself in the foot and get a policy from these companies.

Another way many short term Mexico insurance brokers fail is that they only work with one insurance company. It means they aren’t shopping around for you to find the best rate for your situation. It means they just push all of their business to one insurer, no matter the cost.

I see recommendations for single-company insurance brokers all the time, especially on Facebook. You really don’t want to follow this blind advice.

Insurance companies always have different ways of measuring risk. One company might charge you a very expensive rate while another can be much more reasonable for the exact same coverage. You should always get a quote from at least one insurance company. Any broker that doesn’t do that for you is fundamentally flawed and very unlikely to be providing you with the best service.

With Baja Bound, they’ve already done the work for you. They’ve selected the best companies that you want to work with and they’ll let you pick between these companies and their different policy options.

But there’s another layer of protection that Baja Bound offers which is one of the most critical for any insurance broker.

Baja Bound is always a phone call away. They have an amazingly knowledgeable service staff that I have spoken to no less than a dozen times, with every question answered immediately and professionally. 

And more importantly, when I had to make a very complicated claim involving a roadside incident, a tow gone wrong, and a specialist German vehicle, Baja Bound was immensely helpful. They got me in touch with a team that immediately solved all of my problems.

Just understand, Baja Bound is NOT the insurance company. They are a broker that sells insurance. They’re incredible brokers, but it is not up to them to approve or deny a claim. 

Baja Bound will leverage their relationships and knowledge to help out their customers though. I’ve personally experienced it and have read many stories of similar situations.

The one other broker that I recommend is Mexico Insurance Online. This is a streamlined service from a company that focuses on international insurance sales. They focus on providing only the best insurance options at a low cost. But they don’t quite have the same level of customer service as Baja Bound.

If you want to know more details about the other options, head over to my post on the Best Mexican Car Insurance. Or if you want to read more about why I love Baja Bound, head over to this Baja Insurance article.

Does US Car Insurance Work in Mexico?

US car insurance does not work in Mexico. You must buy liability coverage from a Mexican auto insurance provider. Get yours from Baja Bound today in minutes online. You can knock this off your list and keep preparing for the big excursion down south.

Want to know more about traveling in Mexico? Start off with How to Get Your FMM Tourist Card then head over to 60 Tips to Traveling in Mexico, from a Mexican.

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