Renting a car in Mexico is convenient
Renting a car in Mexico may be the best way to get around if there are a lot of places you want to explore, or you are on a tight schedule. The bus service in Mexico is good, but it will not always go to the places you want to go to, or the routes take too much time. The highways are easy to navigate and well-maintained, so driving is really a great way to see the sights. However, there are some crucial things that you need to know when renting a car in Mexico.
US car insurance does not cover renting a car in Mexico
The most important thing you need to know is that your non-Mexico liability insurance coverage will not apply to any accident you have in Mexico. Without a Mexico auto insurance policy, you will have to pay for the cost of medical treatment and car repairs yourself.
Renting a car in Mexico is generally the same as in the US
Well-known car rental companies such as Hertz and Avis are available Mexico, as well as local companies. You need primarily the same things, such as a passport, driver’s license, and a major credit card for the deposit unless you have the cash for it. Inspect the car for damages prior to driving it off to avoid being charged for it.
Insurance requirements for renting a car in Mexico
Most companies offer insurance coverage when renting a car in Mexico but the only thing that is required by law is third-party liability (TPL) insurance or basic personal liability, which is already included in what you pay for renting a car in Mexico.
Independent Insurance Brokers such as West Coast Mexico Insurance are not provided the ability to offer short term Mexican registered auto liability protection or full coverage protection in Mexico. This question is asked by visitors of Mexico weekly trying to avoid the high insurance rates that the rental car companies in Mexico are charging innocent tourists. Because the cars are registered and plated in Mexico and the claim ratio is so high in Mexico, Insurance companies have opted out from allowing independent insurance agencies the ability to write these short term Mexico auto insurance policies. It is unfortunate that those that decide to rent cars in Mexico are stuck purchasing insurance direct from the rental car companies in Mexico. Hopefully this will change in the near future.
You cannot rely on credit card insurance when renting a car in Mexico
Most credit card companies offer car insurance coverage if you pay for renting a car in Mexico using the card, but it does not cover open-ended rentals, certain vehicle types or business travel, or some countries. They also have high deductibles and can only be used over a short period of time. If unsure of the coverage, get specifics from your credit card company, and use the insurance merely as a supplemental to your other insurance.
Collision damage waiver when renting a car in Mexico
Some rental companies such as Avis bundle in collision damage waiver (CDW) with the rental fee that you cannot refuse when renting a car in Mexico. CDW is an agreement between the rental company and you that waives the cost of damages to the car up to 20% of the car’s value. Most CDWs have exclusions so read the fine print carefully before signing the rental agreement. If the rental company will not let you refuse the CDW which is too limited for you, find another rental company which has a better CDW or makes it optional.
Limits of Third Party Liability when renting a car in Mexico
The rental company may offer some other types of insurance that you may want to consider. Third party liability covers injury or property damage to another person if you are involved in an accident. However, it will not cover any injuries you sustain, or damages on the rental you have.
Other insurance when renting a car in Mexico
Supplemental liability insurance (SLI) may be something that you want to consider including when renting a car in Mexico.
SLI will not cover personal injuries to you or your passengers, however, so you may want to get personal accident insurance (PAI) as well if you have no international health insurance that includes this type of coverage. This will cover the costs of medical treatment and transport.
Renting a car in Mexico is simple and affordable if you do your homework ahead of time. If you plan to bring your car into Mexico, however, make sure that you are covered in all the points mentioned above. The easiest way to do this if you are not renting a car in Mexico is to purchase a Mexico car insurance policy effective for your length of stay in Mexico. You will save a bundle in insurance costs and a myriad of problems if you are involved in an accident.