Mexican Auto Insurance Basics

Whether it’s your first time to Mexico or you’re a seasoned Mexico traveler, we’ve compiled pertinent answers to many of your questions regarding Mexican auto insurance. We provide insurance for automobiles, RVs, motorhomes, motorcycles, boats and trailers. Take a moment to read through this information to make sure you’re aware of your legal responsibilities and obligations. See our Insurance FAQs for more information. You can download and complete our auto insurance application or Get a Quote online now!

Don’t hesitate to call our office at 800-727-2252 for additional insurance information.

Why You Need Mexican Auto Insurance

Mexican law requires that out-of-country drivers must be financially liable for any physical damage or bodily injury they might cause. Unless you have Mexican auto insurance, the only way to prove this financial responsibility is to have a pre-arranged bond with a Mexican bank or cash on your person in an amount large enough to cover liabilities, which can be as high as $333,000 with the new death liability in Baja. The easiest and cheapest way to to meet the Mexican proof of liability is to purchase Mexican auto insurance through Discover Baja.

If you have an accident or are stopped by the police for a vehicle-related problem and you do not have Mexican auto insurance, you can be arrested, have your vehicle impounded and be heavily penalized for violating the law. This is in addition to being liable for any damages you may have caused in an accident. Mexican law considers all traffic accidents to be both civil and criminal offenses, unlike the U.S. where they are considered only civil offenses. In Mexico, you are guilty until proven innocent – you don’t want to spend your Baja vacation behind bars because you didn’t get Mexican auto insurance.

Even if Your U.S. Policy Covers You, You STILL NEED Mexican Auto Insurance

Mexican law does not recognize U.S. or Canadian insurance, making your non-Mexican auto insurance virtually useless in Mexico. Even if your U.S. auto insurance policy provides coverage up to 50 or 75 miles into Mexico, this still DOES NOT fulfill the requirement of Mexican law for proof of liability underwritten by a Mexican company. That U.S. policy cannot pay damages that you would legally owe to others if you were in an accident and caused damage to another vehicle. Because Mexican law requires that a driver be able to show proof of liability for any physical and bodily injuries caused by an accident, all drivers must have at least liability coverage from a Mexican insurance provider. Many U.S. and Canadian citizens, as well as their insurance agents, are not aware of the Mexican laws requiring Mexican auto insurance, causing much confusion about this issue. The law is very clear – in order to drive in Mexico, you must at least have Mexican liability coverage, underwritten by a Mexican carrier.

If you have an accident, even a fender-bender, the police will immediately ask to see your driver’s license, car registration and your Mexican auto insurance policy. You you can be arrested, have your vehicle impounded and be heavily penalized if you do not have proof of at least Mexican liability coverage. If you are able to get your car back to the U.S., you may then make a claim with your U.S. insurance company for any damage done to your car.

It’s always safer to cover all your bases by purchasing a full coverage Mexican policy for your vehicle. With the extremely low rates for Discover Baja’s exclusive 90-day  or 120-day tourist full-coverage policies, you can travel with the peace of mind of knowing that you are well-covered in the unfortunate event of a an accident.

Yes, there is a benefit to having “Mexico coverage” with your U.S. insurance policy. Once you get your car back to the U.S. after an accident in Mexico, your U.S. insurance should pay for the physical damage to your car, according to the provisions of the policy. But while in Mexico, you need, as a minimum, to have a Mexican liability policy.

Why Discover Baja Mexican Auto Insurance is Better

At Discover Baja, we offer two major advantages over other companies: customer service and high-quality insurance. You’ve got lots of choices for buying Mexican insurance. But there are big differences when it comes to issues such as assets, loss ratios, reputation for honesty, track record for claim payments (or non-payment), accessibility and ease of communication with claims staff, where repairs can be made, and the range and quality of products and services offered.

At Discover Baja, our underwriters HDI and ACE Seguros are two of the most trustworthy companies in the industry. You are assured of the best insurance and the best value for your hard-earned money. With the large range of plans offered, you can choose the coverage that best meets your needs. Because we’ve been around for over 20 years and have an excellent track record, our members have access to cheaper rates and special policies that only Discover Baja can offer.

Legal protection is always offered with your policy as well as Medical expenses to occupants in your vehicle at no additional charge, and your repairs can be made here in the United States, rather than in Mexico, like so many other insurance policies require (due to the cheap labor rates).

With toll-free numbers in both Mexico and the United States, you will have 24/7 access to bilingual claims representatives whenever the need might arise. Claims are handled efficiently and quickly.

Of course the Discover Baja staff will be ready to assist you with any claims processing matters. We also stand by your side every step of the way if you need assistance with a claim payment, are having problems while in Mexico or have questions about anything.

Discover Baja Customer Service 

This is a significant difference that separates us from the competition. Discover Baja is not a “virtual” company like some of our competitors. We are a California corporation, with a well-stocked and equipped office in San Diego, easily accessible on your way down to Mexico (click here for map and directions). We’ve been around for over 20 years with tens of thousands of loyal and happy members and customers.

Our friendly and knowledgeable staff is available to assist you six days a week. We invite you to stop by and visit us, shop our large selection of Baja books, maps and gift items, and get updates on the latest road conditions, fuel availability and weather conditions. We’ll even be happy to help you plan your trip and make reservations.

If you have any problems or questions about Baja we provide the answer or find someone who can help you.  Some of our “over and above” help has included:  finding a backpack left on a bus, getting a crew member down to assist a distressed sailboat, locating a car that had been left at a forgotten shop for repairs, changing a Volaris reservation… the list goes on. We care about our members and want them to have a great experience with Baja.

We know Baja well, and visit it frequently, so we can keep you up to date. Some of our staff has been discovering Baja for over 40 years. We want to make your trip to Baja (or other parts of Mexico) as safe and enjoyable as possible.

Discover Baja is considered an authority on Baja California—we’ve been contacted by CNN for news stories, the Discover Channel for adventure stories and the U.S. Coast Guard for information in their rescue efforts. We’ve been featured in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union and National Geographic Adventure. Discover Baja has been awarded the coveted “Amigo de Baja” distinction by the governor of Baja California. We are a part of the Baja Image Committee and work closely with Baja’s Secretary of Tourism to constantly improve Baja travel for tourists.

We are your Baja experts—not just a Mexican insurance agency. We’re real people, in a real office, selling real insurance. Our staff receives frequent compliments and thanks for the care and level of service they provide with travel information, insurance service and claims assistance. It’s not only the great services we offer that sets Discover Baja apart from the competition, it’s how we provide those services.

Discover Baja’s Highest Quality Insurance

After over 20 years of service, and seeing Mexican insurance companies come and go, Discover Baja is passionate about providing its customers with the highest quality insurance products and service on the market.

We have been using HDI (formerly named Genworth Seguros) and ACE Seguros for many years now, and can state unequivocally that they provide the best value, best coverage and best claims service available at any price.

Discover Baja is able to offer its members exclusive annual tourist policies.  HDI’s tourist policy is written for one year and provides coverage for any 90 days (consecutive or non-consecutive) of travel in Baja and Northwestern Mexico.  ACE’s tourist policy, written for one year, can be used any 120 days during the course of a year and can be used for the whole country of Mexico.  The rates of these polices are much lower than a full-365-day policy and are NOT available to the general public – ONLY TO DISCOVER BAJA MEMBERS.

This type of policy is perfect for people who make multiple shorter trips throughout the year, or one long trip of up to 90 or 120 days. With virtually three or four months worth of coverage, you’ll have lots of time for discovering Baja during the course of the year.

Legal Assistance (includes attorney fees, court costs and/or bail bond, with nothing out-of-pocket) is provided at no additional cost. Towing Service in the case of a breakdown (up to $300 reimbursement) is also included at no additional cost. In addition, our Travel Assistance programs can provide medical evacuation, air transportation home, car rental etc., in the event of an accident.  With our Platinum or Premier packages you receive higher liability and medical coverage, partial vandalism and fixed deductibles.

Perhaps the best reason to choose one of Discover Baja’s HDI or ACE policies is what happens if you, unfortunately, have an accident. You are provided a toll-free 800 number to call in Mexico to report the accident and initiate the claim process. The staff is bilingual so you can handle matters in English while in Mexico. After you return to the U.S. or Canada, any follow up can be handled using their toll-free 800 number to their U.S. claims office.   If you ever have a problem or question about a claim our staff is always ready to jump in and help you.

Better yet, is that after settling your claim here at home, your vehicle can be repaired here in the U.S. Most people aren’t aware that most other Mexican insurance companies will only pay to have your vehicle repaired in Tijuana or other parts of Mexico.

What Else Should I Know About Mexican Insurance?

  • Mexican insurance policies offered by Discover Baja are for tourist use only. They are not valid if the vehicle is used for commercial purposes.
  • Neither Mexican-registered, -licensed or -plated vehicles, nor Mexican nationals residing in Mexico qualify for this insurance coverage. Furthermore, if a Mexican national is driving your insured vehicle, your insurance is null and void. If they are driving any vehicle with U.S. plates, but without a U.S. citizen in it, the car can be confiscated by authorities and may not be returned to the owner.
  • U.S. and Canadian driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico, and any non-Mexican licensed driver authorized by the vehicle owner to operate the vehicle is covered while driving the car. Policy coverage is null and void if the driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • Pilferage of personal items from a vehicle is not covered by Mexican insurance policies. Most U.S. and Canadian homeowners or renters policies will cover such theft in a foreign country, or you can add such coverage to an existing policy.
  • Partial theft (of vehicle parts) and vandalism are excluded for most policies unless special premium or premier coverage for the vehicle is purchased.
  • If your car is leased in the U.S., you need to check with the leasing company and lienholder who holds title to your car to get permission to drive the car into Mainland Mexico (not Baja). Leasing companies may have different procedures for granting permission to cross the Mexican border with their vehicle and for the type of verification you must obtain prior to travel.
  • If your car is rented in the U.S., the rental company may insist that Mexican insurance be purchased from them. If they allow the vehicle to be driven into Mexico, but do not offer Mexican insurance, Discover Baja can provide the necessary insurance with written permission from the renting company. Vehicles rented in Mexico cannot be covered with these policies, since they have Mexican license plates.
  • If you are taking a vehicle into Mexico that is owned by someone else, a notarized letter of permission from the owner stating that you are authorized to drive the car into Mexico is required. The policy will be made out in both the owner’s name as well as yours.
  • Any towed boat, trailer, vehicle etc. must be declared on the policy. If this is not done, all coverage will be voided in case of an accident. The towing disclosure and coverage can be added to any existing policy by calling the Discover Baja office 800-727-2252.
  • Towed boats on a vehicle policy are only covered while in tow—not on the water. On-water, liability or hull coverage, requires separate insurance. See our Boat Insurance page for more information.
  • Do not under-insure your vehicle! You want to insure your vehicle for the Actual Cash Value – which can quickly be determined by using Kelley Blue Book or NADA Guides. We recommend using the higher retail value, because you do not want to risk underinsuring your vehicle.
  • Be aware that in January 2013, Mexican law regarding liability amounts for death coverage changed. Formerly, compensation in case of a death was calculated on 730 days of the General Minimum Wage or the Highest Professional Minimum Wage. The new law stipulates that death compensation will be based on 5,000 days of the above.  Formerly, in general, $50,000 liability was enough but that is no longer the case. To make matters even more complicated, each state in Mexico has a different minimum wage, so each state has a different death liability amount. To give you an idea, in Baja California Norte the death liability could be $143,838 per person while in Baja California Sur it could be $335,223 per person.  We recommend purchasing as much liability coverage as possible, with a minimum of at least $500,000 U.S.D. in third party liability. Call us at 800-727-2252 if you have any questions or need help.
  • An insurance policy cancelled before it has gone into effect will receive a full refund of the premium, minus a $10 cancellation fee. If it is cancelled after it has gone into effect, the refund will be calculated based on the premium earned during the days the policy was in effect. Note that, due to the extremely low cost of annual policies, the premium is fully earned during the first 20 days after the policy goes into effect.
  • Both HDI and ACE provide liability coverage with a Combined Single Limit, rather than with split limits as some companies do. This is a benefit for you because it means that you have more flexibility in how you’re able to use your coverage. The difference between combined single limit and split limits is best illustrated with an example. Let’s say that your car is insured with a company that provides split limits of $35,000 for property damage and $30,000 for bodily injury. The policy will pay up to those limits for these respective areas of coverage. If your car is insured with HDI or ACE with a Combined Single Limit liability coverage of, for example $200,000, then that entire amount can be used for third party property damage, bodily injury or death.  It can be divided between those three areas, depending on the circumstances of the accident. HDI offers an umbrella policy in addition to the Combined Single Limit which covers the Excess Death liability that’s now required, with options from $150,000 to $300,000. The Excess Death Liability can ONLY be used towards a death and may not be used for any Medical or Property damage.

Discover Baja Mexican Auto Insurance Free Quote


Ready to insure your vehicle? You can do any of the following:

-Get your insurance online and print your policy to take with you
-Download and complete our Insurance Application to fax or email back to us
-Call 800-727-2252 and one of our staff members will assist you
-Come into our office in San Diego and we’ll help you out in person