Insurance (Cancellation, Medical, Auto)
Note: We are not in the insurance business. Whom you use is 100% up to you. We can make suggestions based on experience and size of a company, but it is ultimately your choice. Please be aware that settlement of accident claims is very slow in Mexico. It can take several months. If it is body damage to a truck, chances are you can have that fixed in Mexico for less than the deductable. You may just have to book ahead at a location you will be camped for a few days. We know of good body men in both Melaque and Lo de Marcos. If you are involved in an accident it is very important to notify the insurance company right away and get an adjuster on scene. If necessary one of the Wagon Master couple or a Green Angel will remain with, you while the remainder of the caravan moves on. If there is time, the whole caravan will remain.
Note: New limits placed by the government in 2013 on maximum liability have increased considerably. $500k liability is the minimum you must have in many Mexican states. 750K is even better
Your US or Canadian insurance is usually not valid in Mexico. You do not have to buy Mexican Collision Insurance (you must have liability), but it would be extremely foolish not to do so. You must use a Mexican insurance company to purchase liability insurance, even if your own insurance covers you for collision. When you take your vehicle to Mexico, you need to keep enough insurance coverage in place to maintain the vehicle’s legal registration in your home country. This document published by a Mexican insurance Company contains a lot of useful information. A 3 or 6 month policy is usually the most economical. Expect to pay about $120 - $135 for each $10K insured (6 month policies). It is important to note that when you are buying Mexican Insurance, you are not dealing with the actual Insurance company, you are dealing with a US based agent. How reliable that agent is, and whether or not they will look after your interests or the companies interests, in a claim situation is very important. I have only witnessed dealings with 3 companies in this regard and that is Lewis & Lewis, Mexpro & Sanborns. All represented the clients interests, but that does not mean they are the only ones that do so. This is also why it is important you have an English speaking person in the US who is accessible should you be involved in an accident. Claims will take longer to settle in many instances.
Important: Please ensure you are covered for all the Mexican States you will traveling in. If you are not sure, ask us. For example Lewis & Lewis have 2 different rate territories. One for all of Mexico, and one for a restricted number of States. This may or may not be the case with some others.
US labor rates for RV's are around $125 an hour. Some companies only cover $75 or even $35 an hour so be aware. Some companies may require you to have active valid insurance in the US or Canada, others do not (Lewis & Lewis do not, for example. You may wonder how this situation could arise; possibly your RV is being stored in Mexico in off season. Please be aware that Mexican Insurance policies do not necessarily start at midnight of the first day insured. They are more likely to start at noon.
Saving money if you are American
I have heard for years that Progressive covers Mexico, but investigation indicates all they are doing is selling you an add-on provided by a Mexican Insurance company. Other companies like Allstate also do this. You may want to check with your provider if it is cheaper to have them do this. They may however be simply getting a commission for themselves. On the other hand if they will suspend premiums on their coverage in the US and Canada for the same period, they may well be cheaper overall. Check the labor rate coverage especially.
Saving money if you are Canadian
Some Canadian Insurance companies will rebate you for the time your vehicle is out of Canada or the US, so you can in many cases, end up breaking even. This is certainly the case with ICBC in BC. (download ICBC Refund Request) Make sure you keep receipts which prove when you were in Mexico and that you were continuously down there for that period. Remember you may not be able to cancel your insurance back home and still be eligible to purchase Mexican Insurance. This is not a problem with ICBC since it is an "after-the-fact" rebate.
Vehicle Insurance Companies
First of all, we are not in the insurance business. As of Sept 2022, it is now company policy not to endorse or recommend any particular auto insurance companies. We do not take commisions from any company. Some offer our customers discounts, but that does not mean we endorse them. That could create a minefield for us if anyone had a settlement issue. It is up to you to do the research and look on the web for experiences of others, etc. I have used 2 or 3, I have had one claim which was with Lewis & Lewis (Qualitus) that was settled, but it was a minor one. I have heard both good and bad stories about most of the companies. I have heard bad ones regarding ANA and GNP, and one involving Qualitus, which we have rcommended in the past. This is why we do not want to pin ourselves down. I can tell you that most of our French Canadian Caravan customers use Sanborns, which is pricier, but I have heard no complaints about them. Lewis and Lewis represent Qualitus and they will give our customers 10% discount, but the choice is still yours. (https://www.mexicanautoinsurance.com/). Another agent that represents 3 different Mexican insurance companies and has a decent reputation is Charles Lundy ( MexInsurance). Other companies represent Chubb, HDI, and others. Search under Mexican insurance company reviews and find one you like, then look for the American companies who are agents for them.. The choice is yours. Keep in mind that settlements in Mexico take a lot more time. Often it comes down to how hard the American agent works for you if you have a claim.
Some policies provide medical evacuation services. Check where they evacuate you to, especially if you are Canadian. You do not want to be evacuated to a US hospital, unless you have good travel insurance.
I have checked out 2 other options for Medical Air Evacuation. This is a good option especially if you plan to spend a lot of time abroad or become a regular Mexican Snowbird. Many people self insure themselves in Mexico where medical care is certainly a lot cheaper than in the US, for sure. If you are a legal Mexican resident like myself, this is a good adjunct for Mexican Medicare, but i still insure myself for about 75K (see link at bottom of page). If something serious happens, you can pay to be stabilized, then get air evacuated back home to the airport of your choice. The one I chose to utilize myself is Sky Med. For myself, this fits all my needs and it costs my wife & I about $500 US a year to cover both of us. They cover us for 6 months in Mexico, and we choose if we should be medivaced if it is a serious condition. Most travel insurance policies do include evacuation, but they are only going to do it, if it is in their best interest to do so, and they may only medivac you to the closest hospital, which can be pricey if it is in the US and you have no insurance there. You are just dollars & cents to them. They may look at your situation, figure it is cheaper to have you treated in Mexico, and leave you there. This company seems to treat you with with more compassion. I liked the fact this company does not cut me off when I reach 75.
Paul Beddows, Caravanas de Mexico customer representative
So here are the links to 2 medivac companies: https://medevacglobal.com/ or https://www.skymed.com . They will fly you to any hospital you wish and I get the impression they will do it with any condition a doctor recommends you be taken home. They are actually quite reasonable. I use Skymed, myself and you can use this representative.
Contact Catherine. I appreciate you mentioning my name (Paul Beddows). If you sign up I believe we both get an extra months coverage.
Extending existing car insurance policies
On some of our shorter tours that run concurrent with longer ones, we allow customers to change their mind and pay the difference for the longer tour. If you are potentially in this situation, check with the insurer to make sure you can extend your policy to cover the extra time, hopefully without penalty.
Recent changes to Mexican law means everyone should carry $500,000 in liability.
If you are in accident, the first call should be to your broker as you wait for the police. A good reason to have a cell phone. If you are shopping around for insurance, their availability is a consideration in your decision. You also want to check how many adjusters each company has in Mexico, do they speak English or provide an interpreter and how fast will they respond.
If you are in an accident, do not move the vehicle until the police attend. It is illegal and you will be fined (about $100), it does not matter how much traffic you are blocking.
Quite frankly your chances of an accident in Mexico are not that high if you are in a caravan. Most people tend to drive much more defensively, especially in an RV. In a caravan I think you are even safer. Using toll roads also cuts your risk down. From my observations, most accidents involve passing on blind corners, either you or the guy coming the other way. This is far too common in Mexico. You can cut your risk considerably by being aware this can occur every time you approach a blind corner and planning out your response or escape route. I even use my horn on some roads to make oncoming cars aware I am there. Most of our accidents have been fender benders in RV parks as people get impatient to get settled.
Please be aware the claim settlement is slow in Mexico. Sometimes it can take 2-4 months or even longer. You may have to pay for repairs, then be reimbursed, or wait.
A dash cam is a great idea. They are cheap and many Garmin GPS's now have them built in. I have one of those. They can be invaluable in an accident that is not your fault. If it is your fault, you may want to hide it quick ( I did not just say that).
TRAVEL INSURANCE (Cancellation/Medical)
Keep in mind that it has tradionally been our company policy to allow people to push ahead a season if for some reason they have to cancel. That includes the deposit. We may charge a minor service fee to do this, but our philosopjhy is we get you sooner or later, LOL. In many cases you may have to cancel, but it will not stop you from the following season. For example we had one customer whose son overdosed and had to go into rehab. We were happy to push all his payments into the next season. The only exception may be if you have to cancel fairly close to departure and we have already put out money for hotels, trains or whatever. Even in that case we will still credit you with the balance for the following season. This is one service we offer that I believe none of our competitors do.
Note: You may need a dated receipt from us. Contact [email protected]
Many credit cards offer cancellation insurance if you pay for the entire trip on your credit card. Check with them first. It is UP TO THE CLIENT to purchase cancellation Insurance if they wish. Considering most cancellations we receive are medically based, due to the demographics of our customer base, it can be advisable.
1) You can buy insurance from Travelguard on line. Upon request we will issue you a receipt upon your first payment, including whatever amount you paid as a deposit. Since we allow the final payment to be made upon departure, this may be all you need to insure. If you are concerned about trip interruption, then you may want to insure the entire amount. In that event we will show the amount still owing. Send requests to Paul at [email protected]
2) Since some payments are non-refundable we really advise taking out cancellation insurance for your trip.
3) You have to be careful as many companies will require you to purchase coverage within 48 hours or 7 days, or some other limitation period of paying the deposit. This is why we will include the deposit and first payment as a single amount dated for when you made first payment or we will date it a few days later if needed. If they demand a paypal receipt of something like that, you may not be able to include the deposit. We will just label both as "Payment" collectively.
4) Trip cancellation is often cheaper when purchased in conjunction with Travel Medical Insurance.
5) Some options:
For Americans: 1-800-826-5248
For Canadians: 1-866-878-0191
You can also check this one out https://www.insuremytrip.com
Many companies will sell you medical insurance. This often includes evacuation insurance. You need to shop around, and it is different for Canadians and Americans. Canadians need to insure they have sufficient coverage for US transit. Most Canadian companies require you to buy coverage from the time you leave home then stick you with rates for the US for the time you are in Mexico. If you do want to use a Canadian Company, I personally recommend TourMed.
Now there is another alternative for both Canadians and Americans, and the link is below. They offer a few alternatives once you fill in your info. However, look at Visitors Secure. Their rates are really good. They will cover for 75K or 100K US depending on age, which should cover most emergencies in Mexico. The one fly in the ointment is they do not cover pre-existing conditions if over 70, however if you have never had a heart attack or stroke that may not matter. Most other conditions you can hop a plane home before it kills you. It gives the impression that Canadians and Australians cannot use it, but it actually means you can’t sign up for it, if you are visiting one of those 2 countries, once you are in them. They also do not do medivac if over 70. For myself that does not matter as I belong to Skymed. Click the graphic below.