Just like in the United States, Mexico requires drivers to have a minimum amount of liability insurance. However, if you're a U.S. driver planning a road trip to Mexico, your regular car insurance won't cover you once you cross the border. Mexican law requires visiting drivers to get insurance through a Mexican provider.
Fortunately, it's not hard to get temporary auto insurance for a road trip to Mexico. Many well-known American car insurance companies have partnerships with Mexican car insurance companies. You can also get auto coverage directly from a Mexican insurance provider online or even purchase coverage at the border.
Who needs car insurance for Mexico?
Drivers in Mexico who use the country's federal highways must have third-party car insurance, also called liability insurance. This means that if you plan to take a road trip to Mexico — even for a short while — you will also need to get special car insurance.
Even if you're already insured by a U.S. company, you still need car insurance for Mexico. Under Mexican law, you're required to get auto insurance from a company that's licensed to sell insurance in the country.
Although some insurers in the U.S. offer limited Mexican car insurance for physical damage to your own vehicle, this coverage doesn't cover third-party damage, meaning the damage you’re responsible for if you cause an accident.
Just like your existing insurance, Mexican car insurance has two main components — bodily injury and property damage liability coverage. You can get both types of car insurance in one lump-sum liability limit, also called a combined single loss policy. The best Mexican car insurance companies also let you supplement your liability coverage with other types of insurance.
Bodily injury liability: Covers the medical expenses of another driver if you're responsible for the crash that injures them.
Property damage liability: Pays for the damage that you cause to others' property, including their cars, buildings, fences, gates, walls, and more.
Uninsured motorist protection: Covers damages that were caused by an uninsured driver.
Medical payments: Covers medical expenses if you or your passengers are injured in a car accident in Mexico.
Legal assistance: Covers legal representation, bail, and other associated expenses after a car accident in Mexico.
Travel assistance: If your car breaks down by the side of the road in Mexico, this covers towing, tire changes, and battery jump-starts.
Collision damage: Covers damage to your own vehicle that's caused by a collision, even if it's not with another driver.
Theft protection (partial and full): Covers the partial or full theft of your vehicle if it's stolen while you're in Mexico.
Gap coverage: If your car is totaled, gap coverage will pay you the difference between the value of the totaled car and what you still owe on your car loan or lease.
Do you need rental car insurance for trips to Mexico?
All vehicles in Mexico have to be insured, including rental cars. However, you won't need to worry about buying a policy if you're renting a car on a trip to Mexico.
Rental insurance companies have to offer the necessary third-party liability coverage. You can also buy physical damage protection from these rental companies, though these add-ons are usually expensive.
If you're planning to rent a car in Mexico, we recommend avoiding surprise costs by getting more car insurance than what's required. Just like in the United States, some insurers specialize in coverage for rental cars. These companies offer rental car insurance endorsements for far cheaper than what coverage would cost from the rental agency. Available add-ons could include:
Excess liability coverage, including higher death benefits
Medical payments coverage for your occupants
Coverage for your legal aid and bail if you were arrested
Your credit card may not provide physical damage coverage for rental cars in Mexico like it does in many U.S. states. If it doesn't, you may also want to consider adding additional insurance in case of damage to the rental car itself from a specialty insurer.
How to get Mexico car insurance
You can get Mexican car insurance by speaking with an agent or by purchasing coverage directly from an insurer. Many insurers, including Allstate, GEICO, and Progressive, partner with Mexican insurance companies to make getting covered for a trip easy.
Although you can get Mexican car insurance at the border, it tends to be more expensive than other options. Due to the stress that might come with crossing an international border, it's likely to be more convenient for you to get insurance for Mexico ahead of time.
The easiest way to get car insurance for Mexico is by purchasing a policy online. If your insurer doesn't have a partnership with a company that's licensed to write policies in Mexico, you can still visit the websites of well-known Mexican insurers — like ABA Seguros, GNP Seguros, El Aguila Compagnia del Seguros — and get a quote within a couple of minutes.
You'll need to know the following details when you're ready to get auto insurance for Mexico:
The make and model of the car you drive
Your desired coverage limits
The amount of time you'll be in Mexico
The reason you're traveling to Mexico
Where you'll be staying while you're in Mexico
Your vehicle's VIN, plate numbers, and financing information
Can you get temporary Mexican auto insurance?
You don't need to purchase a six-month or 12-month car insurance policy for a short trip to Mexico. Unlike in the U.S., you can get short-term or temporary Mexican auto insurance — also called a Mexico tourist auto insurance policy.
When you shop for coverage, insurers will ask about the length of your stay and match your policy's lifetime to your trip. If you decide to stay any longer, you can always add more time to your coverage.
Low cost Mexico car insurance companies
The best car insurance company in Mexico for low-cost coverage is GNP Seguros. For a one-week stay, GNP Seguros quoted our sample driver a rate of $70 for $500,000 of combined single loss liability coverage.
Full coverage was more expensive. For a full coverage policy, with coverage for medical payments, legal expenses, collision, theft, and more, El Aguila offered the cheapest coverage.
Costs in U.S. dollars.
If you plan to visit Mexico any longer than a couple of weeks, it could be worth it to get a six-month policy. After two weeks, the average cost of coverage at these three companies began to get close to the six-month average.
How much car insurance do you need to travel to Mexico?
Just like in the United States, drivers have to have a minimum amount of car insurance in Mexico. In Mexico, you have to have at least MX$100,000 (about USD$5,000) of bodily injury liability coverage. Mexican auto insurance laws also require a minimum of MX$50,000 (about $2,400) of property damage liability.
However, you should get more than the minimum required amount of car insurance if you plan to travel to Mexico.
If you cause a car accident that leads to the death of another driver, you could be liable for damages equaling the Mexican minimum wage, which is about MX$170, multiplied by up to 5,000 days. Ultimately, this means you might have to pay more than MX$865,000 (USD$400,000) in damages after a crash — far more than the minimum car insurance required in Mexico.