• Mar

    The Importance of Mexican Vehicle Insurance: Buy It Before You Come to Mexico


    Before you come to Mexico you must buy Mexican vehicle insurance. In our case, I bought it in Palm Springs. It cost only $199.00USD for 6 months. Having said that, I was only able to get liability insurance for the other driver. No collision or other insurance for me, even though I wanted it.

    The reason? My car was too old (21 years). The cutoff is 20 years.

    Another reason for needing to buy insurance is that if you don’t, you wind up in an accident and the police come to the scene, you’ll go to jail. Not a fun prospect. Another thing to realize is insurance from the United States or Canada isn’t valid in Mexico. One other thing, there’s limited coverage for medical attached to the policy.

    If you want to cancel the foreign insurance, you can do so and apply for a refund (at least with ICBC – Insurance Corporation of British Columbia), but you’ll need to give them a photocopy of your FMT (tourist visa), which will show the date when you entered the country.

    One thing I was looking for when we crossed the border at Tecate’ was the declaration form for my car, but I came up empty. As I later found out, it’s not necessary on the Baja, which is considered a protected zone. The declaration is only necessary if I were to take my car to the mainland.

    One important caveat. Without the declaration, even if I wanted to, I couldn’t sell my car because it hasn’t been imported into Mexico. While it would be technically possible to sell it, the new driver wouldn’t be able to insure it and I’d wind up in trouble for that.

    The solution?

    Drive all the way back out of Mexico and go to one of the border crossings where I could import the car, then drive it back to where we are now. Too much work in my opinion. If I take the car back, I’ll sell it in the US, return here and buy a vehicle here.

    Regarding your driver’s license and insurance papers, make copies. Never carry the original documents in your vehicle. I’ve heard stories that if you do, you could run the risk of losing your vehicle to a police officer. So far, I’ve never heard of this actually happening, but the rumors abound.

    One of the issues we encountered had to do with the license tags on our car, especially the issue of them expiring. From what we learned, it’s essentially a non-issue. If a cop pulls you over, the tags are out of his jurisdiction, so he can’t enforce them. You may wind up with a ticket of $350 pesos or so, but you could argue that in court. What’s most important is your registration.

    That’s different for both Canada and the United States. In Canada, registration is tied to ownership of the vehicle and even if the insurance is expired, that doesn’t affect the ownership. If you look at the form for ICBC, the top part is for insurance; the bottom for registration. If the top part is expired, separate the two documents and keep the lower portion with you when you drive.

    Questions? Check with AAA before you come down here. It could save you a lot of grief later.

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