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.
Recommended Insurance Companies
First of all, we are not in the insurance business. We do, however, have experience with different ones and we can recommend one of the 2 companies below. Both have good reputations and high BBB ratings.
Lewis & Lewis
Lewis & Lewis offer a 10% discount to our caravans. they represent one company, Qualitus.To get the discount you need to mention my name, "Paul Beddows"
This company has a dedicated agent for caravans. They represent 4 companies, including Qualitus. They do not give a discount, but they do donate a portion to a Mexican Charity that supports a facility for abandoned and orphaned kids. It is in Chiapas, the poorest area of Mexico.We stay at this place on our Yucatan Route. It is called Hogar Infatil. So if you want to do some good, instead of save some money, choose this option. Fill out THIS FORM
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. This is one prime reason I personally prefer Qualitus as they offer evacuation to Vancouver. BC. The other locations are San Diego or Houston. Now I have no idea of how good this is, it is based in Mexico, and I have no idea what their criteria are for evacuation.
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. If something serious happens you can pay to be stabilized, then get air evacuated back home to the airport of your choice. Remember that Lewis & Lewis only fly you to certain airports. If you are a Canadian from Ontario, Vancouver may not be convenient. 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. Even though I have Medivac through my Mexican auto insurance, I am not sure what their criteria are. 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. That could be the case if you are in an expensive US hospital, but maybe not Mexico. 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 more with more compassion. I liked the fact this company does not cut me off when I reach 75.
You may contact me personally and I will put you in touch with the appropriate agent. My email is [email protected]
Paul Beddows, Caravanas de Mexico customer representative
If you plan to spend a lot of time in Mexico each season, you may want to check another company https://medevacglobal.com/ or https://www.skymed.com for just evacuation insurance. 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 as well. I use Skymed, myself.
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. 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.
Please be aware the claim settlement is slow in Mexico. Sometimes it can take 2-4 months. 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. Thy 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).
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 your time in the US is short, southbound, you can buy 2 different polices and save money. They won't however, cover you northbound, so you have to find an independent policy to cover that and usually you can only get coverage for $500,000. If you are under 70, you may want to check out this company to insure your entire trip: https://heymondo.com/. If you are over 70, check out this company for short term insurance for your northern transit: International Major Medical Insurance (piu.org)