Mexican Auto & Home Insurance 101
by Rosie Glover of ProAlliance Insurance
The Basics of Mexican Auto Insurance
No one likes shopping for insurance. It isn’t fun, or pretty, or even useful…until you really need it. Unfortunately, no matter how un-fun it is to buy, there’s nothing like the security of knowing that in the event of an unforeseen accident you are not only covered, but that you can rely on the very professionals who sold you the policy to help you process your claim quickly and as painlessly as possible. This is, of course, doubly important if we’re talking about insurance in Mexico, and triply important if you do not speak Spanish or understand Mexican laws and procedures.
Unlike in the States, auto insurance is not required by law for Mexican vehicles. Foreign vehicles must carry at least civil liability insurance at all times. Prices vary, depending on the coverage you opt for, so it’s probably a good idea to calculate the number of days you might expect to spend driving in Mexico over the next year to determine whether an annual policy makes more sense than buying it every time you travel.
Don’t Know What Car You Will Drive to Rocky Point?
People who never know which of their vehicles they will bring across the border might want what is commonly referred to as a Driver’s License Policy. This is insurance that moves with the driver from vehicle to vehicle. Even in a borrowed car, he is insured.
In addition to carrying insurance on your vehicle, I strongly recommend that you and your party take a minute to consider who you would call in the event of an accident. It might be your insurance agent, or a trusted friend, or even the concierge where you might be staying. The key is to have with you a name and phone number of someone who can come to the site of any accident and simply help you get through the experience.
Sensible to be uninsured in Mexico?
Obviously many visitors to Rocky Point have homes or condos here. It is surprising how many people purchase real estate in Mexico and then neglect to insure their investment. Think about it. In the United States, it is nearly unheard of for homeowners to go without insurance, and yet in Mexico, because it isn’t required by law, some people tend to overlook it and therefore leave themselves vulnerable to tragic circumstances.
Although insuring a home is rather straightforward, there are a couple of key points to consider. There is no need to insure for the total value of your home. The land has its own value, and that won’t change if there is damage. Estimates should be based upon replacement cost of the structure and the contents. Also, it’s important for homeowners to know that your home owner’s policy will not cover any vehicles, ATVs, or golf carts. Those must have their separate policy. If a garage is broken into and the vehicle stolen, unless that vehicle is insured against theft, it will not be covered.
Thinking of purchasing a Condominium in Puerto Penasco?
With regard to condo insurance, there is more that you should know. Many condo owners insure just their contents because it is assumed that the HOA payments cover the insurance on the structure itself. It is true that the HOA payments cover the exterior of your condo; it does not protect the interior walls or ceiling. I recommend a small amount of building coverage so that if you should have water or fire damage to the inside of your condo, you are covered and do not have to bear the expense out of pocket. I must also point out that in Mexico cabinetry is considered part of your contents. When estimating what you need for coverage please allow for the cabinetry.
Civil liability should be carefully considered if your home is in the rental pool. This is sometimes a place where people come to party and that therefore it’s safer to prepare for the inevitable accident.
The Basics of Standard Coverage in Mexican Policies
Most insurance policies carry standard coverage for cleanup and rubbish removal, civil liability for domestic workers. In addition there are optional choices for those who are interested in protecting their appliances against power surges or lightning. There is also an optional coverage for plumber services, electrician, locksmith, or window repair. There is even a policy to cover rental losses due to damage.
Sometimes it is a business that needs insurance. Restaurants can insure their perishables from loss due to electrical outages. Certainly most business should consider having some civil liability and theft insurance.
Last but not least is the insurance for gated communities or condo projects. The cost of civil liability insurance for the common areas is relatively inexpensive in comparison to the anguish of having a child run over in the common area by an uninsured driver, or a swimming pool accident if there is no coverage. Elevators can be very expensive to replace if they break. Even this can be insured, as can boilers and machinery.
No one expects bad things to happen, and usually they don’t…but it is worth a relatively small investment to assure your peace of mind. Not carrying insurance, for most people, is not so much a result of a conscious choice as it is simply a matter of not getting around to it. Please take the time to discuss insurance at your next HOA meeting, or look at your policies to assure yourself that your coverage is adequate.
Rosie Glover is the owner of ProAlliance Insurance, Puerto Penasco, Mexico, is the director of the Rocky Point Tourism and Visitor’s Assistance Office, and publishes of Rocky Point News Online.