RVing in Mexico
A couple decided to spend their 45-year wedding anniversary in Mexico. They had not driven their RV into Mexico before, but knew it was important to purchase additional Mexican insurance for their RV. They purchased liability and physical damage coverage from a Mexican insurance company and headed south.
It was a stormy afternoon in Baja as they drove along a very narrow stretch of highway. About 15 minutes into the trip, they spotted an oncoming 18-wheeler. The couple could see that passing it wouldn't leave much room to move, so he drove his RV as close to the right shoulder as possible in order to give the oncoming vehicle more space. As he drove the RV towards the right edge of the road, the back wheels of the RV dropped off the pavement, due in part to the waterlogged ground, and rolled over on its side.
The damaged RV was towed to a claim center in San Diego where the RV was declared a total loss. The couple then received more bad news.
The traveling couple had done the right thing by purchasing Mexican liability insurance for their south-of-the border trip. A Mexican liability policy is required by law in Mexico and pays for damage to the other driver's automobile when an RVer is at fault in an accident. However, they also purchased Mexican physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision). Unknowingly, their policy with their American insurance carrier automatically included physical damage coverage, which extends into Mexico without any distance stipulations. By purchasing the full Mexican policy-both physical damage and liability insurance-the couple had two policies from two different insurance companies that covered physical damage to the RV.
Clearly, only one insurance company would be responsible paying for the damaged RV-but which company would pay for this claim? Because the RV accident happened in Mexico, the Mexican insurance company's policy became the their primary policy for physical damage and superseded their American insurance coverage.
They contacted the Mexican insurance company about their totaled RV and learned the policy was owned by a company with severe financial problems. After 14 long months of battling with the insurance company in Mexico, the couple were finally told the claim would not be paid. When it was clear the Mexican company was insolvent, their American insurance carrier again became the couples' primary insurance agent, and the claim was paid.
Reducing Your Risk
RV and auto accidents in Mexico are subject to the laws of Mexico, not the laws of the United States. Since Mexican law considers vehicle accidents a criminal offense as well as a civil matter, if you have an accident in Mexico and you don't have vehicle liability insurance from a Mexican insurance company, you may be forced to spend time in jail. To avoid complications and other penalties possible under Mexican law, including the impounding of your RV, you must have liability insurance, as this traveling couple did, from a Mexican-licensed company.
U.S. insurance companies provide varying degrees of physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision) in Mexico. Most limit coverage to visits of fewer than ten days and fewer than 25 miles into Mexico. Coverage for vandalism and theft of personal belongings from the RV are often excluded. If you have a policy through AIS RV Insurance, physical damage coverage goes with you anywhere in Mexico, as long as you have separate Mexican liability insurance continuously in effect. You'll have the same physical theft of personal belongings from the RV are also included.
When you're investigating Mexican insurance, if you purchase a full-coverage Mexican policy (physical damage coverage in addition to the required liability) either through a caravan company, an independent agent, or a Mexican insurance company, your U.S. carrier may become secondary to your Mexican policy for losses occurring in Mexico. In that case, you could be dealing with the Mexican insurance company for your settlement.
Be aware that U.S. insurance adjusters cannot legally enter Mexico to adjust claims. Call your insurance company first to confirm coverage. With the carrier consent, return your RV to the nearest point in the U.S. where repairs can be made. Our policy will reimburse you for the cost of towing and transport of your RV from Mexico and for temporary repairs in Mexico to make the vehicle drivable or towable.
Disclaimer: The information in this article was obtained from various sources. This content is offered for educational purposes only and does not represent contractual agreements, nor is it intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. The definitions, terms and coverage in a given policy may be different than those suggested here and such policy will be governed by the language contained therein. No warranty or appropriateness for a specific purpose is expressed or implied.