My family and I are planning a trip to Mexico. Does my car insurance policy provide coverage when we drive a car in Mexico?
In a nutshell, no.
Here's why: The unendorsed personal auto policy defines covered territory as the United States, its territories or possessions, Puerto Rico or Canada. Mexico is not listed in the covered territories so there is NO COVERAGE if you cross the border into Mexico.
I heard about a Mexico coverage endorsement. Is that what I need?
There is an auto policy endorsement that can provide limited coverage when driving your car in Mexico. The Limited Mexico Coverage endorsement has several major limitations:
- Any auto accident must occur within 25 miles of the U.S. border
- Your trip must be 10 days or less
- There is no physical damage coverage (comprehensive or collision) if your repairs will be made in Mexico unless you cannot drive your car back to the U.S. for repair
- If your car is a total loss, you will not be paid any more than actual cash value as determined in the U.S.
- The insurance company will only defend you in a
lawsuit if that lawsuit is file in the U.S. and the suit does not involve a Mexican citizen.
- Coverage only applies if there is primary Mexican insurance. Therefore, this endorsement only provides excess coverage.
If you are a citizen or resident of Mexico, coverage will not apply to you. There is coverage for physical damage if your vehicle is damaged while being driven by a Mexican citizen or resident, however.
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The most important thing to remember is ANY accidents that occur in Mexico are subject to Mexican law and are considered both criminal and civil matters. You can usually purchase primary Mexican auto insurance at the U.S. border that will apply as primary coverage.
So to recap, if you are planning a short trip to Mexico, you have Mexican auto insurance as primary, you're not a Mexican citizen or resident, and you can make sure you're within 25 miles of the U.S. border when you have an accident, then this coverage is for you!
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