Insurance (Cancellation, Medical, Auto)
Note: We are not in the insurance business. Whom you use is 100% up to you.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.
This section contains a lot of information. Insurance is a minefield at the best of times, and that minefield often contains sharks. We have attempted to break out as much information as possible to assist you in making decisions. We hope this steers you in the right direction, but you do need to check things out closely. A medical condition or a traffic accident or breakdown can cost a considerable amount, not to mention the stress of dealing with it. It is however, your choice on what to protect yourself against if unexpected or unfortunate circumstances occur. Many do not think of trip interruption insurance, for example, or assume that is included in other policies, which it usually is not. People who would never dream of going on an international trip without coverage may never consider it for a driving vacation. Maybe they should.
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
IMPORTANT NOTE: I have recently been made aware that some policies do not cover RV;s that are parked inside an RV park and/or disconnected from the vehicle. I am aware of 2 RV's that caught fire in RV parks in 2022 and would not be covered under policies that exclude this. Neither of them were our customers. Please make sure that any policy you buy, includes loss or accidents while inside an RV Park, disconnected or not. Both Sanborns and lewis & lewis cover for this.
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 commissions 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 recommended 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. For our Yucatan caravans, they will send an agent to the departure RV park, the day before departure to write policies for those who are interested. 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.
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. Regardless, accidents have happened on all caravans. The way to minimize the chanceof an accident is to be extra cautious the first 3 days. Those are the most risky as you get used to Mexican roads, Mexican driving habits and being in a caravan. Remember that it takes an RV a lot longer to stop and you should aim at 8-10 seconds separation. Commercial trucks and buses have a tendency to come up in the left lane rapidly, so use extra caution before moving into the passing lane and spend as little time in it as possible. Minimize fuel stops by topping up your tank at each one even if almost full.
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).
Evacuation Insurance - Skymed
Some Auto 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.
Another excellent option is Skymed. 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 graphic at bottom of page for information on an inexpensive option). This can be a lot cheaper if you are over 70, when you compare to normal travel insurance. If something serious happens, you can pay to be stabilized, then get air evacuated back home to the airport of your choice. I chose to join Sky Med. For myself, this fits all my needs and it costs my wife & I about $500-$600 US a year to cover both of us. I am happy with them and have met 2 couples who have used them. They cover us for 6 months in Mexico, and we choose if we should be medivaced if it is a serious condition. We are covered year round in your home country.. They will also return your pets and there are some vehicle repatriation provisions. I like this one over a couple of other air evac options, as I am guaranteed being able to renew at the same rate with no age restrictions, forever. 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. That can be pricey if it is in the US and you have no insurance there. You are just dollars & cents to a lot of travel insurance companies. They may look at your situation, figure it is cheaper to have you treated in Mexico, and leave you there. Skymed seems to treat you with with more compassion. I liked the fact this company does not cut me off when I reach 75.
You may ask, why would I join Skymed if I already have air-evac included in my Travel policy? Well apart the reasons above, you could find yourself in a position where your insurance company does not cover you due to a small fine print error you made. Here is a prime example of one such incident. Had they had Skymed, he would have been on a medical Lear Jet home, maybe within 24 hours, if his wife signed a release. Read this horror story from a GoFundMme page their grandaughter created. LINK
Paul Beddows, Caravanas de Mexico customer representative
Contact Christine Laberge . Christine is my contact at Skymed. I appreciate you mentioning my name (Paul Beddows). If you sign up, I believe we both get extra months coverage. Contact Christine below and quote my member number which is 703790767 . Christine does seminars in Barra Navidad, often when our caravans are at Boca Beach or Melaque in February and March. Contact me for the details in any particular year.
Note: There is a 90 day exemption on pre-existing conditions you are on medication for, so you want to sign up at least 90 days before traveling. After those 90 days are up, no restrictions forever, even if your conditions or meds change. You can also buy a shorter term policy that has no restrictions.
Trip Cancellation Insurance : Please note that at least 2 of the companies mentioned here and under trip interruption also sell comprehensive products covering both those and medical insurance to both Canadians and Americans.
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 philosophy 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:
6) NOTE; Travelguard also covers Trip interruption, see the information in the Trip Interruption section below.
For Americans: 1-800-826-5248
For Canadians: 1-866-878-0191
Also check out this company All-inclusive travel insurance - Securiglobe
Trip Interruption Insurance
This may be more important than you think This is often part of a Cancelation Insurance package, but it is often not and people find that out the hard way. Although we had never previously had an accident on the road beyond a minor fender bender, on a recent trip there was an accident (on the first day) that was serious enough that the rig needed extensive repairs and they could not continue. This of course had expenses beyond the vehicle itself, hotels etc, plus any loss from what they pre-paid for the trip itself. They did not have trip interruption insurance. Based on that experience, you should try to cover yourself for this eventuality. We suggest you discuss this with your insurance agent. It may be a bit different from a fly-in all inclusive type vacation. Some suggestions are below.
Americans: You may find some options by clicking the graphic at the bottom of this page and selecting "Trip Insurance" at the bottom right of the page that opens. Most, if not all, require you to be an American resident or citizen. See also the description for Travelguard under Canadians. There is an American equivalent product.
Canadians: I have been researching options. So far I have found TourMed and BCAA will sell something as an add on. You are best to call them and talk to an actual agent. I imagine other provincial auto associations offer similar products to BCAA. Now I have found that Travelguard (see the 2 links above this section) sells what seems like a good product. Let's say, for example you have a traffic accident and your rig is not drivable. Maybe it needs 2 or 3 weeks of repairs and you have to use a hotel in the interim. Besides being rebated for trip cost you have all those expenses as well. Here is their wording:
If the traveler has purchased the Silver Deluxe Cancellation/Interruption coverage and his trip is interrupted due to and automobile accident but not a medical condition there is a benefit for that.
Covered Risk 24. Transportation Delay – 1. You miss a connection or interrupt Your Trip because of the delay of a private automobile resulting from the mechanical failure of that automobile, weather conditions, a traffic Accident, or an emergency police-directed road closure, causing You to miss a ferry, Cruise ship, bus, limousine, taxi, or train, when the delay is caused by the mechanical failure of the vehicle
Benefits for Covered Risks 23 and 24: If You suffer Trip interruption due to one (1) or more of Covered Risks 23 and 24, occurring while You are on a Trip, We cover: 1. the non-refundable unused Trip arrangements for which You have already paid and additional travel transportation expenses via the most cost effective itinerary to return You to Your next destination (in or outbound) of the Insured Trip, less Your prepaid unused return transportation; 2. a Subsistence Allowance for Your commercial accommodations and meals, essential telephone calls and taxi fares, up to a daily maximum of $250, to a maximum of $500 (original receipts must be submitted for all eligible expenses).
Whether or not that would cover transport of a disabled vehicle back into the US or not, I do not know, but at least you are covered for a lot of other stuff.
Medical Travel Insurance
Many companies will sell you medical travel insurance. This often includes evacuation insurance. You need to shop around, and it is different for Canadians and Americans. Canadians need to ensure 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 physically located in one of those 2 countries, when you apply. In other words you have to wait until you arrive in Mexico or the US to sign up.. They also do not do medivac if over 70. For myself that does not matter as I belong to Skymed. Click the graphic below. Please note that this may not be adequate for Canadians in US transit. In conjuction with Skymed it may be. Your auto insurance may be adequate if you are in an accident in the US. You have to weigh up all your risks.
IMPORTANT NOTE TO CANADIANS: You cannot purchase this if you are PHYSICALLY in Canada. Some quirk of Canadian law. You have to do it as soon as you leave the country. You may purchase one or two days insurance to cover the transit from Goose. You will likely need 2 days as you will not be able to start coverage until the day after you arrive. I did this myself this season and it worked well. I am 73 and it cost me about $650 US for 6 months coverage. I might be inclined to cover myself for US transit, at least southbound, with a company like Tourmed which will cover more than 75K or 100K. Still if you are a Skymed member, that may be enough to get stabilized and put on a plane back to Canada.