For the bold and adventurous RV enthusiast, Mexico can be an RVers paradise. There are hundreds of incredibly scenic and not too crowded RV parks up and down the shores of the Baja Peninsula and Mexico’s Pacific coast. The weather is nice, the sport fishing is great, the surf is always up somewhere, and the free-spirited culture makes for a friendly and entertaining community. But before the fun begins, you need to make sure your beloved travel companion, your RV, will be protected with the proper insurance in Mexico.
For those of you not familiar with the rules about Mexican auto insurance, here is your crash course. Mexican authorities, meaning the Mexican police and the Mexican court system, do not recognize US or Canadian vehicle insurance. At a bare minimum, you must get a Mexican liability auto insurance policy to pay for damages you might cause to third parties. If you do not have liability insurance that is underwritten by a Mexican insurance company, you could face a real nightmare if you were involved in a traffic accident. If you are in a traffic accident in Mexico and you can not prove that you can pay for the damages you caused to a third party with a Mexican insurance policy, there is a good possibility that your vehicle will be impounded and you will be detained until you come up with the funds to pay for the damages. All of this hassle can be avoided if you have a Mexican liability insurance policy that demonstrates your ability to pay for the damages. So always purchase a Mexican insurance policy before you drive your vehicle into Mexico.
OK – So now that you understand that you must get a Mexican RV insurance policy, you are now probably wondering where to purchase this insurance, and what coverage do you actually need. This article will give you a road map of how to shop for your Mexico RV insurance.
Is your RV registered in the US or Canada?
This actually can make a huge difference in the options available to you for insuring you RV in Mexico. Many US RV insurance companies have recently introduced special RV insurance programs which actually extend physical damage and theft insurance coverage in to Mexico. Sorry Canadians, at this time there are no Canadian RV insurance companies who extend any type of RV insurance coverage into Mexico, but perhaps this will change in the future. Until then, this portion of the article only applies to US registered RVs.
Some US RV insurance carriers extend physical damage and theft coverage in to Mexico.
So if your RV is registered in the US, you may want to seriously consider getting your US RV insurance through a US RV insurance company who extends physical damage and theft coverage in Mexico. At the time of this article, these companies include Progressive, National Interstate, and AIG. If you go with one of these US carriers, you will only need to purchase a Mexican liability insurance policy instead of a Mexican full coverage insurance policy. Because these US carriers will pay for damages to your RV while it is in Mexico, this alleviates the need for you to also purchase any type of physical damage and theft coverage through the Mexican insurance carrier. A Mexican liability only policy is much cheaper than a Mexican insurance policy which includes physical damage and theft coverage.
Example of cost savings when you have US RV insurance that extends physical damage and theft coverage in to Mexico:
Cost of your US RV Policy for an RV worth $80,000: $800 per year
Cost of your Mexican liability only policy for 6 months: $125
Total Cost: $925
Example of your cost if you have a US RV policy that does NOT extend physical damage and theft in to Mexico.
Cost of your US RV Policy for an RV worth $80,000: $800 per year
Cost of your Mexican full coverage policy (liability and collision / theft) for 6 months: $700
Total Cost: $1,500
As you can see, you can save a considerable amount of money by going with a US RV insurance policy that extends physical damage and theft into Mexico. It becomes a two for the price of one insurance policy.
Tips for shopping for US carriers who extend into Mexico: Make sure to ask how far into Mexico their coverage will extend. Some US companies only extend coverage 25 miles into Mexico, so make sure to ask specifically about this. Only buy a policy that covers your RV for the entire country of Mexico.
If your US RV insurance extends into Mexico, you will still need to purchase a Mexican liability insurance policy for your RV. Do not forget to purchase your Mexican liability policy!
Mexican insurance for Canadian registered RVs
As stated previously, there are currently no Canadian insurance companies who offer RV insurance programs that extend coverage into Mexico. So if you want to physical damage and theft coverage for your RV while it is in Mexico, your only option is to purchase the physical damage and theft coverage through the Mexican insurance carriers. This is not a terrible option, but you will need to do some careful shopping to make sure you are getting quality Mexican insurance for your RV. This option also applies for US registered RVs that are insured with a US company who does not extend physical damage and theft coverage into Mexico.
Where to purchase your Mexico RV insurance
Although you could wait till the last minute to buy your Mexican insurance at the Mexican border, most RVers choose to plan ahead and purchase their Mexico RV insurance through a US or Canadian insurance broker well in advance of their Mexico trip. The internet is the best place to find a company who sells Mexico RV insurance.
Not all Mexico RV insurance is the same!
When shopping for Mexico RV insurance on the internet, you can either get a quote directly off of the website or you have the option to call to get a quote over the phone. This process usually takes only a few minutes. Many of the internet websites for Mexican insurance offer multiple Mexican insurance carriers, so you will be able to compare prices and insurance coverages in order to select the best plan for your situation.
When comparing Mexico RV insurance, make sure to research the following coverages and benefits.
Deductibles: Make sure to understand your deductibles. Some Mexico RV insurance deductibles are based on a percentage of the value of your RV. For rigs valued over $50,000, these deductibles can get really high. Some other companies offer fixed deductibles which will lock in your deductible at a fixed amount regardless of the value of your RV.
Labor rates for repairs made in the US or Canada: Make sure to look for Mexico RV policies that allow you to repair your RV in the US or Canada, and check to see what the hourly labor rate is that the Mexican insurance company will pay for these repairs. Some of the less expensive Mexico RV policies will only pay $20 per hour for US repairs, while some of the better Mexico RV policies will pay $75 per hour or whatever the current US labor rate is. This is obviously the preferred choice.
Liability Limits: With insurance, higher liability limits are always better. It is recommended to get a minimum of $70,000 worth of liability insurance in Mexico, but many policies will go as high as $300,000
Legal Service: All of the quality Mexican insurance brokers will include legal services at no extra charge. Do not buy a Mexican insurance policy that does not include legal service coverage.
Medical Evacuation, Plane Tickets Home, and other Travel Assistance coverages: Some of the better Mexican insurance vendors will also bundle in these travel assistance coverages at no extra charge. These are excellent coverages to have, so it is highly recommended to find a Mexico RV policy which includes these extra travel assistance insurance coverages.
If all of this information has your head spinning with questions, you can always call a Mexican insurance broker and let their customer service people answer your questions. If the vendor has a website, make sure they have a valid insurance license listed on their website, and they should also have links to their Better Business Bureau statistics available. Unfortunately, there are some vendors who are more professional than others, so do some research to make sure you are working with a quality insurance broker who has a solid reputation.
Armed with this information, you should be on your way to properly insuring your RV while in Mexico. Once the Mexico RV insurance is secured, you can then focus on having a fun and exciting RV adventure in Mexico.