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 best $100k is minimum you should have. The maximum varies from Mexican State to State, so check with your agent to see how much you really need. This has added $75 to $100 to most premiums on a 6 month policy.
Your US or Canadian insurance is usually not valid in Mexico. You do not have to buy Mexican Insurance, but it would be extremely foolish not to do so . 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 & Vagabundos. 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. One company, Qualitus, is based in San Diego with a presence throughout Mexico & Central America.
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.
You should also be aware that Airstreams can only be repaired by Airstream. Ensure you have sufficient coverage and be aware it will take longer to settle claims than with other RV types.
Saving money if you are American
Switch your insurance to Progressive or Blue Sky. Both of these companies provide collision in Mexico, meaning you only need liability. Check their conditions.
Saving money if you are Canadian
Many 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.
Lewis & Lewis
Lewis & Lewis offer a 10% discount to our caravans ( At present, you have to contact [email protected] if you want me to negotiate that for you, but we have asked them to include a box in their on-line application form). They have no cap on labor rates, but it will be more expensive than Vagabundos, and cheaper than Sanborns. The choice is yours. This is the company I use (a wagon master). I have found the owner, Jim Lewis very approachable and the one (minor) claim I have had in 10 years was dealt with to my satisfaction. Since most of our English speaking Caravan participants use this company, I imagine they are more responsive. They represent Qualitus and are the largest vehicle insurer..
Vagabundos del Mar
Vagabundos del Mar can provide insurance for our clients at better rates than most others, although you have to join them. There is no need to be concerned about insurance until a month or 2 before your trip. Although we are tied to Vagabundos, it is up to you where you buy your insurance, and we encourage you to shop around. What is cheapest, may not be the best fit for you. You will have access to their insurance, once you join up. Airatream customers do not have ot join Vagabundos. Please note labor rates are capped at $75 US per hour, at least they were in 2018.
Some of our customers have also used this company. I believe they represent HDI Seguros. I believe they also have no cap on labor rates, but you have to check.
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 Lewis & Lewis as they offer evacuation to Vancouver. BC. Even if you are a Canadian from the east, at least you will be in a Canadian hospital where chances are your provincial medical will pick up the tab.
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. You may also want to check with your own insurance company to ensure they do not cover either collision or liability in Mexico. Some do. You do not want to double insure.
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.
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. You may buy insurance from Travelguard on line. Please note for couples, split the trip cost in half and register both of you. You have 2 options, you may insure just the first deposit initially, then phone them and add on the next 2 payments as you make them (don't forget to do it). You will save money this way, just be aware that any pre-existing medical conditions are looked at each time you make another payment, whereas they are locked in if you cover the entire trip cost on enrollment. If they require a receipt other than that given by pay pal, let us know and we will issue one.
For Americans: 1-800-826-5248
For Canadians: 1-866-878-0191
You can also check this one out https://www.insuremytrip.com