A Beginner’s Guide to Mexican Auto Insurance

A Beginner’s Guide to Mexican Auto Insurance

Most people wouldn’t risk driving without auto insurance. But when travelers cross the border, many forget to sign up for a Mexican auto insurance plan. Whether you’re taking a short road trip or planning a longer stay, obtaining coverage is essential. This beginner’s guide to Mexican auto insurance will familiarize you with the basics of proper automotive protection south of the border.

Why you need it

To ensure that drivers are financially liable in the case of an accident, Mexico legally requires all drivers to have auto insurance. Even if you have auto insurance in Canada or the United States, you still need to purchase coverage in Mexico; this is because as soon as you cross the border, most plans will become void. Considering that the average price of a new vehicle is around $31,400, without insurance, this significant financial investment is put at risk. Additionally, it’s important to remember that coverage is required even if you drive a rental a car.

Without insurance, the financial and legal repercussions of an automotive accident in Mexico could be devastating. In addition to paying lofty fines, officials could impound your vehicle and they may arrest you. In Mexico, traffic accidents are civil and criminal offenses. If you can’t prove your ability to pay the damages, the police might hold you in custody for an extended period.

What it covers

Rather than providing umbrella coverage for a wide range of risks, Mexican auto insurance is very specific about what it covers. As such, it’s important to read policies carefully before you sign up for an insurance plan. Important areas of coverage include liability, physical damage, legal, medical, collision, theft and vandalism, and travel assistance. If you do not see these listed on your plan, then the insurer will not cover them.

How to get it

Obtaining Mexican auto insurance is a fairly simple process. After contacting an insurance agent, you’ll have to answer questions about your driving habits and your vehicle’s value. You’ll also discuss how long you want your coverage to last and how much protection you want to receive. After determining your premiums, you’ll receive coverage. With Lewis and Lewis Insurance Agency, we make it simple—you can purchase your Mexico auto insurance online, by mail, or facsimile for optimal convenience.

How to determine prices

The price of your Mexican auto insurance will largely depend on the vehicle that you drive, rather than safe driving habits. Based on Mexico’s data, car models which are more susceptible to crime will have higher insurance premiums. Other influential factors that determine the price of Mexican auto insurance include the duration of time and the coverage amount that you need.

What You Should Know Before Traveling to Mexico

What You Should Know Before Traveling to Mexico

Mexico is a breathtaking country full of stunning beaches, amazing food, vibrant culture, and unique experiences—the reason why 74 percent of Americans take vacations. When traveling to a foreign country, it’s important to be knowledgeable of any cultural or lifestyle differences so you can avoid any inconveniences or health and safety issues. If you want to pay a visit south of the border, we highlight what you should know before traveling to Mexico so you can have the best trip possible.

You shouldn’t flush your toilet paper

Flushing your toilet paper in Mexico will often result in a clogged toilet. Unlike in the U.S., Mexican pipes aren’t designed to handle toilet paper. While you probably can flush your toilet paper at nicer establishments and resorts, most bathrooms in Mexico will not have this capability. Instead, make sure to toss your toilet paper in the small waste bin by the toilet to avoid any embarrassing and inconvenient plumbing issues.

The water can be dangerous to drink

The rumors about Mexican water causing illnesses and painful stomach issues are true. Unless you know that your water comes from a trusted source, you should avoid drinking it. It’s also important to recognize that even if the establishment uses filtered water, the water for their ice may not be. While most ice in Mexico is made in factories that use filtered water, this isn’t always the case. Even if your beverage comes from a trusted resort or nice restaurant, you should always be cautious of drinking beverages. If the water in the ice isn’t purified, it can contaminate your drink as it melts. As an additional precaution, you should also avoid brushing your teeth with tap water to reduce the risk of illness.

Foreign exchange rates can be high

Not paying with pesos in Mexico could end up costing you a lot of money on your trip. While many places in Mexico accept credit cards and the U.S. dollar, it’s a better financial decision to convert your money to pesos before visiting. This is because merchant foreign currency exchange rates and bank fees can be very high if you choose to purchase goods with U.S. money. To avoid wasting money, exchange your currency before traveling to Mexico or pay using a credit card that doesn’t have foreign transaction fees.

Mexican insurance is essential

Most U.S. insurance plans aren’t accepted in Mexico. To ensure you receive the financial and legal coverage you need in case of an accident, it’s always important to register for a Mexican insurance plan. Investing in Mexican insurance is especially important if you’re going to drive while in the country. Auto insurance for Mexico travel won’t just help you cover legal, medical, and property fees in case of an accident, it’s also required by law. If you get into an accident in Mexico and aren’t covered by a valid Mexican insurance plan, you could be forced to pay exorbitant fees and may have to go to jail—even if it’s just a minor fender bender. Additional types of insurance that are important to have while in Mexico include boating insurance, medical insurance, and kidnap and ransom insurance. Proper coverage will make your trip much safer and you’ll be less stressed knowing you’re protected in the event of an accident.

Mexico has a great bus system

If you’re planning a trip to Mexico, don’t be afraid to take public transportation. Mexico’s bus system is an inexpensive way to explore the vast country, and it’s also very safe and comfortable. The Mexico bus system offers a range of transportation options to suit your needs and budget. The tiered system includes three classes: deluxe and executive, first class, and second class. The deluxe and executive class options—called de lujo, primera plus, and ejecutivo—are often considered to be nicer than most U.S. busses. They include onboard restrooms, movies on individual video screens, and comfortable seating that rivals a first-class airline. The lower-class buses take more stops and don’t have onboard restrooms. They do, however, come at a cheaper price tag and are still a quality transportation option for budget travelers.

Raw fruits and vegetables can make you sick

The street food in Mexico is often delicious, but it also comes with some risks. Contaminated street food can lead to stomach issues that put a rut in your trip. This risk increases when you eat raw fruits and vegetables because there’s a chance they were washed in contaminated water or prepared in an unsanitary environment. In addition, if food was left to sit out for a long period of time, insects may have contaminated it. It’s much safer to eat hot foods. If you do choose to eat raw foods, make sure they were prepared by a trusted source.

Bartering is expected

Bartering is a common practice in Mexico. Unless you purchase something from a department store or chain establishment, merchants don’t expect you to accept the first price they offer. While you barter, it’s important to be respectful and avoid being overly stubborn or aggressive. Asking for a much lower price than their initial offer can also be seen as a devaluation of their work—which is often handcrafted and serves as their primary source of income. While you shouldn’t accept the first price offered, you should be realistic with your own offers. For a successful bartering experience, have an idea of the maximum price you’re willing to pay before entering into an exchange, and be prepared to walk away if you can’t come to an agreement.

The best time to visit is during the dry season

The ideal time to visit Mexico will depend on your preference and the region of the country you want to visit. All travelers, however, should avoid visiting coastal areas during hurricane season which typically peaks between August and October. As a general rule, the best time to visit Mexico is during the dry season between December and April, as there is very little rain and it won’t be as hot and humid as it is during the summer. If you’re on a budget, you shouldn’t plan your trip during Christmas or New Year’s, as this is often the most popular and expensive time to visit Mexico.

What You Should Know Before Traveling to Mexico infographic

6 of the Main Reasons to Travel to Mexico

6 of the Main Reasons to Travel to Mexico

Mexico is a beautiful country filled with incredible culture, sites, and experiences—which could be why roughly 35.05 million U.S. citizens visited in 2017.

From breathtaking beaches to colorful cities, there is no shortage of motives to visit this stunning land. While it is virtually impossible to name them all, here are six of the main reasons to travel to Mexico.

Breathtaking beaches

When most people envision a Mexico vacation, the first thing that comes to mind is lounging on a gorgeous beach. Mexico is home to over 6,000 miles of coastline and has over 450 beaches. From the laid-back shores of Tulum to the palm-lined coast of Playa del Carmen, you won’t want to miss out on the beaches in Mexico.

Delicious cuisine

In addition to staple Mexican dishes such as tacos, tamales, and quesadillas, Mexican cuisine also features many unique dishes that aren’t nationally recognized. Depending on what region you’re in, Mexican food will widely vary—from unbeatable seafood on the Pacific coast to the incredible street-food in Mexico City.

Stunning artwork

Mexico was the birthplace of many iconic artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Gerardo Murillo, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros. You can find some of their remarkable artwork in the many art museums throughout the country. In addition, the cities also serve as a canvas for incredible murals and street art.

Incredible marine life

Mexico is just as beautiful below the surface as it is above. From vibrant coral reefs to diverse marine life, Mexico is a can’t-miss destination for people who enjoy snorkeling and scuba diving.

Remarkable archeological sites

You can find incredible Mayan and Aztec treasures throughout Mexico. It is almost impossible to name them all, but some of the most popular archeological sites in Mexico include Templo Mayor, Teotihuacán—also known as the “Palace of the Gods”—and the incredible ancient city of Uxmal where the Pyramid of the Magician stands.

Amazing nature sights

Mexico is overflowing with scenic landscape. In addition to the stunning beaches and reefs, Mexico is also home to volcanos, mountains, jungles, underground rivers, caves, and canyons that would make any nature lover swoon.

We’re sure that all these alluring reasons to visit Mexico have made you want to book a plane ticket right away, but before you go, make sure you’re prepared. Don’t forget to enlist in a vehicle insurance plan to protect yourself financially in the case of an accident. Lewis and Lewis Insurance Agency makes it easy to get car insurance for your Mexico trip by offering a quick online quote, free of charge.

The Differences Between Mexican and U.S. Auto Insurance

The Differences Between Mexican and U.S. Auto Insurance

Mexican auto insurance is legally required if you’re going to be driving across the border, even if you’re using a rental vehicle. But enrolling in a foreign plan can be confusing and intimidating if you don’t know what to expect. To help you navigate the cultural changes, we outlined some of the main differences between Mexican and U.S. auto insurance.  

Liability

Unlike in the States, Mexican auto insurance liability doesn’t cover injuries per person and per accident. Instead, all liability charges are lumped together and are determined by the Mexican state. If an accident results in a death, the Mexican state in which the accident occurred will set both the criminal and civil liability charges. These often include funeral expenses for the deceased and a high rate of compensation for their family. Depending on the state, a judge may determine the final amount.

You should also keep in mind that liability coverage isn’t automatically included in Mexican insurance plans like it is in the U.S. As such, you should always make sure to add liability coverage to your plan.

Policy coverage

Instead of looking into the risk factors of each driver—such as a history of accidents or DUIs—Mexican auto insurance links policy coverage to the vehicle itself. As such, if you’re driving a model that has a higher risk of being stolen according to Mexico’s data, your premium will likely be higher. Furthermore, because coverage doesn’t pertain to the driver, you can’t receive any safe driver discounts. If you’re renting a car, you also won’t be able to change vehicles during your time in Mexico, as you’ll only be covered for the specific car that you registered through your insurance company.

Mexico insurance policies are also far less broad than U.S. plans. Rather than providing umbrella coverage for all risks, the insurance company will list in its policy the specific risks it covers. If the risk isn’t listed, it won’t be covered.

Pricing

In the United States, prices and standards for auto insurance companies are regulated by certain laws. However, these regulations are much looser in Mexico, so prices on policies can range radically depending on a variety of factors. To protect yourself from getting scammed by an unreliable insurance company with attractively low rates, it’s important to do your research on the company ahead of time.

If you’re planning on traveling south of the border, registering for auto insurance is now easier than ever. With Lewis and Lewis Insurance Agency, you can effortlessly register for Mexican car insurance online today.

7 of the Most Important Safety Tips for Driving in Mexico

Driving in any foreign land can be dangerous. Each country has its own unique legal processes, road conditions, and safety rules, and Mexico isn’t any different. As such, it is important to take the time to learn Mexico’s rules of the road and general safety guidelines that may differ from your own country. If you don’t, you could end up in serious legal, financial, or even medical trouble. These safety tips for driving in Mexico will help you reduce your chance of having an accident as well as prepare you for what to expect if one occurs.

Take toll roads

In Mexico, there are two main types of highways—the toll or “cuota” roads and the free or “libre” roads. While driving on toll roads in Mexico may be more expensive, they are much safer than the free roads. Free roads often wind through towns, where there is a lot more traffic, which can increase your chance of getting into a dangerous collision. Furthermore, free roads are often riddled potholes and, occasionally, wandering livestock. Toll roads are wider and kept in better condition. Plus, the Green Angles monitor the toll roads. Similar to the AAA in the U.S., the Green Angles are a bilingual group that patrols major highways in Mexico and provides help to drivers who need assistance. As such, it is much safer to stick to toll roads when driving in Mexico, especially at night with reduced visibility.

Avoid driving at night

Driving at night in Mexico can be dangerous. According to Trip Savvy, “road fatalities are far higher at night in Mexico than by day.” Due to the decreased visibility, it can be hard to see tire-popping potholes, sharp turns, or even livestock that wander onto the road—a relatively common occurrence in Mexico. Plus, the cover of nightfall provides a prime opportunity for criminals such as robbers or kidnappers to strike. If you have an issue with your car that requires you to pull over on the side of the road, you become a sitting target. To reduce the risk of these potential dangers, it is much safer to drive during the daytime.

Watch out for speed bumps and potholes

Unexpected bumps or holes in the road can wreak havoc on your vehicle. Unfortunately, these are very common on roads in Mexico unless you are driving on a toll highway. Since the government doesn’t regulate many roads in Mexico, potholes can reach incredible sizes—some the size of half a car. If you aren’t paying attention, these holes could put your vehicle out of commission. Additionally, it is important to keep an eye out for speed bumps. Known as topes, Mexican speed bumps are far larger than U.S. speed bumps and are much harder to spot. Sometimes, warning signs with an image of two black bumps on them indicate their location; however, many are often left unmarked. As such, it is important to keep an eye out for them, especially when entering or leaving towns.

Familiarize yourself with Mexican road notifications

While driving laws in Mexico and the U.S. aren’t that different, they do have a few dissimilarities worth noting. One of the main differences that drivers should acknowledge is that speed limits and distance markers in Mexico follow the metric system rather than the imperials system. In addition, the majority of road signs in Mexico read Spanish. As such, it is important to familiarize yourself with the appearance of Mexican traffic signs so that you don’t miss any important road notifications.

Get insured

When driving in an unfamiliar country, your risk of having an accident goes up. Thus, it is important—and legally required—to have Mexican automobile insurance. In the case of an accident, failure to provide proof of valid insurance could result in hefty fines that you have to pay out-of-pocket; officers may even detain you in jail until you settle your case. Even if you have U.S. insurance, it is important to note that most companies don’t provide coverage in Mexico, and those that do often have strict limitations and restrictions. Furthermore, unless you are able to prove your coverage or have a local insurance representative, your insurance may not be honored by the Mexican authorities.

As such, the safest option is to enroll in an insurance plan through a licensed Mexican insurance company such as Lewis and Lewis Insurance Agency. For a great price, our plans provide a wide range of coverage for various tourist vehicles throughout the entire Republic of Mexico.

Carry proper documentation and contact information

In the case of an accident, it is important to be prepared. When driving, you should always keep your passport, driver’s license, visas, proof of insurance, and other relevant documents in your vehicle. You should also have important contact information written down, such as Mexico’s emergency number—066—and the number of your insurance agency. This way, you are able to promptly receive the assistance that you need. Another useful phone number to know is the Green Angel contact line. In the case of an emergency, call 078, and the Green Angels will provide free mechanical, towing, and first aid assistance on Mexican toll roads.

Know what to do in case of an accident

When an accident occurs, there is a specific reporting process that all drivers should follow. After ensuring that everyone involved in the accident is safe and taken care of, you should then move your vehicle out of the line of oncoming traffic. Then, exit your vehicle and call the police as well as your Mexican insurance company’s 800 number so that you can leave your information. Your insurance agency will likely send a claims adjuster immediately to document the claim at the scene and arrange for a towing service if you need one. While waiting for the police and your insurance agent to arrive, never leave the scene of the accident or your vehicle unattended. Once they arrive, you can complete an accident report and file your claim. Regardless of the size of your accident, you should always file a report before leaving the country.

When driving in a foreign country, it is important to be prepared. By following these safety tips for driving in Mexico, you can reduce your risk of getting into a traffic altercation abroad and avoid legal and financial trouble if one occurs.

4 of the Main Benefits of Boat Insurance

4 of the Main Benefits of Boat Insurance

Boat owners are not always legally required to carry boating insurance, but there are many reasons why having coverage is beneficial. Much like auto insurance, boating insurance is tailored to the specific needs of the owner. Coverage can help protect you from financial loss in the event of theft, vandalism, or an unexpected accident that causes damage to you, your boat, or others. If you’re still questioning whether to get coverage or not, check out these main benefits of boat insurance.

Investment protection

Purchasing a boat is often a large investment, so it’s important to have financial protection in case an accident, such as a storm, crash, or fire, causes damage to people or your boat. Some homeowner’s insurance policies can provide protection for boats, but most plans generally only extend coverage to boats under 16 feet that are often valued at just $1,000. The more your boat is worth, the more important it is to invest in an “all risk” insurance policy that covers a broad range of potential misfortunes.

Medical coverage

Thousands of boating accidents occur each year, many of which result in injuries. The cost of medical bills to treat such wounds quickly adds up, especially if multiple people are harmed. One of the main benefits of boating insurance is that it can help you cover hospital bills for watercraft-related injuries.

Protection from lawsuits

If you’re at fault for a boating accident that injures a passenger, a swimmer, or damages another boat, you could find yourself in the middle of a costly lawsuit. Boating accidents can be very expensive, so it’s always worth investing in boating insurance to help cover medical, legal, and property damage costs.

Emergency assistance and towing

If your engine gives out, or you run out of gas, you may need to call a professional towing service to get you. These services don’t come cheap, though, so it’s important to invest in a quality boat insurance policy that will help cover these costs.

To start receiving Mexican boat insurance, you can get a free quote from Lewis and Lewis Insurance Agency today.