Does California auto insurance cover driving in Mexico?

With the price of almost everything on the rise, including plane tickets, more people are choosing to drive to their vacation destinations instead. Those who do not live far from the Mexican border can merely cross, and have a whole world of vacation opportunities open to them. However, there are usually more important things on the vacation plans than car insurance. People travel into Mexico and more than likely just assume that their insurance will cover them since Mexico is part of the North American continent. Most people only discover that they are not covered after being in an accident in Mexico, and by then it is too late. The following is information about auto insurance coverage when traveling into Mexico:

Does my auto insurance cover me to drive into Mexico?

Chances are good that your insurance coverage will not carry over when you are driving in Mexico. Most insurance policies, if you read the fine print, define covered territory as the United States and its territories or possessions, Puerto Rico and Canada. The bad news is that Mexico does not fall into any of these, so your policy is not valid when you cross the border.

What can I do to make sure that my car is covered if I drive into Mexico?

If you not have an endorsement to cover you if you travel into Mexico, you can obtain one from your insurance company. It is called the Limited Mexico Coverage endorsement. This is only a temporary endorsement added to your policy that will cover you driving over the border; but be careful, it has quite a few limitations.

If I get the endorsement on my policy, what exactly does it cover?

Endorsements to cover your car when traveling into Mexico have some strict limitations, these include:

  • You will only be covered if the accident occurs within 25 miles of the U.S. Border, if you plan to travel further, you must obtain Mexican car insurance
  • The endorsement will only cover you for a maximum of 10 days of travel in Mexico
  • The only coverage for this endorsement is for liability, it does not include comprehensive and collision coverage, you must bring your vehicle back into the U.S. for repairs. If you vehicle is badly damaged or totaled, your comprehensive and collision coverage will apply if they are already part of your policy.
  • If you vehicle is determined to be a total loss, you will be paid the actual cash value based on the U.S. market, not the Mexican car market.

If you are planning to drive to Mexico, make sure that your car is covered. Add calling your insurance agent to your vacation “to do” list so you can be sure that your vehicle will be covered while you travel in Mexico.  Also, be sure that you read the endorsement thoroughly so that you are aware of what it covers and what it does not cover. By driving instead of flying to your vacation destination, the intent is to save money, but if you are involved in an accident because you did not make sure you were covered, it probably will end up cheaper flying anyway.