RVing in Mexico – Insurance for Your RV and Auto

When traveling internationally, there are many legalities to consider including passports, visas, insurance, customs, etc. Traveling internationally via RV, though it offers exponentially more opportunities to explore, comes with even more hazards to navigate.

To help RVers work through some of these ‘road’ hazards, we reached out to Courtney Wooge of FCIS Insurance. As President of FCIS, and a fellow RVer, Courtney is intimately familiar with the intricacies of traveling internationally via RV. With so many Escapees RV Club members heading south of the border in the coming months, we turned to him to share several key points related to insuring your vehicle and RV for travel in Mexico. 

RV Insurance for Travel in Mexico: Liability and Physical Damage

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Liability Auto and RV Insurance in Mexico

Liability insurance is required by Mexican law for all motorized vehicles. If you do not have proof of your liability insurance policy when you cross the border into Mexico, they will make you purchase a policy on the spot before you may continue your travels.

Because of this, Courtney highly recommends you spend the time researching and acquiring this policy in advance. This will allow you ample time to evaluate your options and purchase a policy that meets your travel and financial needs, versus having to make a hasty decision that may cost you more money, more time, and added stress. Getting caught past the border without liability insurance could also cost you jail time if you are involved in an at-fault collision.

Here’s the kicker – Mexican liability insurance is only provided by Mexican insurance companies. Your U.S. insurance provider cannot issue you a Mexican liability policy (though some U.S. brokers, including FCIS, can help you acquire a policy through a trusted Mexican provider). This is another reason why taking the time to research your options and obtain this policy in advance is important.

To help RVers work through some of these ‘road’ hazards, we reached out to Courtney Wooge of FCIS Insurance. As President of FCIS, and a fellow RVer, Courtney is intimately familiar with the intricacies of traveling internationally via RV. With so many Escapees RV Club members heading south of the border in the coming months, we turned to him to share several key points related to insuring your vehicle and RV for travel in Mexico.

Physical Damage Auto and RV Insurance in Mexico

Now to discuss physical damage coverage. Policies that cover physical damage come in handy when things like road hazards, fire, theft, or other criminal activity cause damage to your RV, particularly if that damage makes your RV unsafe to drive.

Unlike liability insurance, it is not required that you purchase a policy that covers physical damage to your RV or vehicle. Also unlike Mexican liability insurance, some U.S. carriers do offer physical damage policies that will cover your travels in Mexico. There may even be a small amount of coverage in your existing policy.

We will go into more detail regarding both types of insurance as we work through the following tips regarding RV insurance in Mexico.

Where Do I Start Researching My Insurance Options?

First, know what your travel plans may entail. What day do you intend to cross the border into Mexico? Where will you spend the most stationary time of your visit? How much time will you be actively traveling compared to staying at a campsite? What day do you intend to cross back into the United States?

Then, reach out to your current auto and/or RV insurance provider(s). Depending on how you RV and how your insurance policies are arranged, this may mean reaching out to both your auto insurer and your RV insurer. Pull up your policy and read the fine print so you are aware of what your policy does and doesn’t cover. For example, some policies issued by U.S. insurance providers allow policy holders to travel up to 25 miles south of the Mexico/U.S. border and retain physical damage coverage under already-contracted policies. Get your agent on the phone, share with them your travel plans, and ask them what options are available to you.

What if I Want to Use a Different Insurance Provider?

There is nothing wrong with that!

Not all insurance providers offer physical damage coverage in Mexico, or your current provider’s rates may be higher than those of their competitors.

If you’d like quotes from other insurance providers, reach out to an insurance broker who can help you evaluate multiple options simultaneously. Let them do the leg work for you!

Many companies are willing to write short-term policies that meet your needs, in hopes of “wowing” you with their customer service and gaining your future business.

Mexican Insurance Provider or US Insurance Provider?

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This is a tougher question than it may seem. It is a loaded question that requires careful evaluation to make the choice that is right for you. Why, you say?

In most cases, a Mexican provider will insist that all repair work for your RV or vehicle be completed while your vehicle is still in Mexico. The same is true for most U.S.-based providers- they will want the work on your vehicle or RV to be completed entirely in the U.S. at one of their approved repair facilities. So, how do you decide?

Think about where your travels will take you. Are you going deep into Mexico for several weeks or longer? Will you be in areas where reputable repair facilities are accessible? Choosing a Mexican insurance carrier could be beneficial in that you won’t necessarily have to cut your adventure short if minor repairs are needed. Do you plan to stay nearer the U.S. border, or have a shorter trip in mind? A U.S.-based carrier could be the better option for you, then. Keep in mind that if you choose a U.S.-based carrier, and your vehicle or RV is inoperable, the cost of towing it to the border may have to come out of your pocket.

Though it may not be the case for all U.S. insurance providers, most do not offer physical damage policies for automobile travel in Mexico for some reason. You may find that your best option is a Mexican provider, regardless of how far your travels will take you into the country.

How Much Will a Physical Damage or Liability Policy Cost Me?

The quick answer is… we don’t know. Just as with your standard auto or RV insurance, there are many variables that can affect your premiums. The longer, and more helpful, answer:

Your provider will base your cost on a few factors, including replacement cost of your vehicle and/or RV, the area in which you will spend the most time in Mexico, how long you will be traveling in Mexico, and such. Typically, policies that cover a shorter length of time will be less expensive, BUT that isn’t always the case. There is often a point at which the length of the contract earns you a price break.

For example, you may be joining your fellow RVers for the Xscapers Convergence in late January. You’re going to spend a week in sunny San Felipe before heading back to the U.S. Then you want to join the Mexican Connection caravan which starts a week after you return. In this scenario, purchasing a 1-2 month policy may be more cost effective than purchasing two separate policies that only cover the exact days you will be in Mexico.

Also, if you see yourself making multiple trips over the course of a few months, choosing a policy that covers the full length of time, versus only those individual trips, will likely save you money. Plus, you’ll be prepared if you decide to do a quick day trip back into Mexico! The most important point here is to evaluate your options. Get quotes for all the different scenarios you may encounter so that you can make an informed decision.

Speaking of scenarios, there is one that came up in our conversation that is not recommended. If you know that you will be stationary during most of your visit to Mexico, it may be tempting to purchase two one-day policies- the day you drive to your destination and the day you return to the U.S. Throughout the time your RV is sitting at your campsite, it would not have liability coverage. This is not a good idea.

A situation may arise in which you unexpectedly need to relocate or return to the U.S. before your intended time. If it is an emergency, calling to change the date on your liability policy will be the last thing on your mind and if you are caught driving in Mexico without liability coverage, you may find yourself in an even messier situation that could include jail time. It may be a tempting option so you can save some money but think about the possible consequences before you commit to it.

Summary: A Checklist for Obtaining RV Insurance for Travel in Mexico

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  1. Decide what dates you want to travel in Mexico, where you want to spend most of your time, and whether you want liability insurance only, or if you want physical damage coverage, too.
  2. Review your current auto and RV insurance policies with your provider to understand what coverage you may already have.
  3. Ask your current provider what options they can offer you for physical damage coverage on your RV and/or auto. Decide whether you want a U.S.-based provider or a Mexico-based provider based on your travel plans.
  4. Research, or contact a broker like FCIS Insurance, to see what options you have for required Mexican liability insurance and optional physical damage coverage on your auto and/or RV.
  5. Sign your insurance contracts, obtain your proof of coverage, and hit the road! Enjoy your adventures in Mexico!

 

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One Response to “RVing in Mexico – Insurance for Your RV and Auto

  • It’s very easy to get a quote and buy Mexican insurance online. If you do go the travel days only liability route, you can easily purchase and print a new day if needed. We found the six month or annual policy was more cost-effective for longer stays. Progressive includes Mexico which is a big bonus for us.

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