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What you need to know before driving into Mexico

Added March 29, 2019
Mexico road sign

Around 20 million Americans travel to Mexico every year, and many of them drive. Here’s what you need before you cross the border:

  • Proper identification: To enter Mexico, travelers must have a valid passport, passport card, or green card. Identification is also needed to return to the United States. 
  • Vehicle import permit: If you plan to travel outside the free or border zone, you’ll need a temporary vehicle importation permit to avoid expensive fines or having your vehicle confiscated by Mexican customs officials. The fee for vehicle importation is $44 plus a Value Added Tax (locally known as IVA), which can vary based on the peso exchange rate. You’ll also be required to pay a deposit to ensure the vehicle is returned to the United States. Deposits are between $200 and $400, depending on the age of the vehicle, and will be refunded upon cancellation of the permit at Mexico’s Banjercito offices.
  • Mexico tourist card: You need a Mexico tourist card (also called FMM) if you plan to visit Mexico for an extended period of time, up to 180 days. It’s a government form declaring that you have stated the purpose of your visit to Mexico is tourism, and you’ll need to carry it with you while you’re in Mexico.
  • Driver's license: American citizens planning on driving to Mexico should carry a valid driver's license at all times.

Mexico tourist insurance

Auto insurance liability laws in Mexico are often described as “guilty until proven innocent.” Typically, when an accident occurs in Mexico, both parties are put before a judge to determine fault and financial responsibility. If you don’t have Mexican car insurance to cover the damages you’re responsible for, you go to jail—and no one wants to spend their vacation in a jail cell. 

If you’re taking a road trip into Mexico, make sure your vehicle is covered. Even though you have insurance here at home, you’ll need Mexican auto insurance for your U.S. registered vehicle.

Mexico insurance

No U.S. insurance company can adequately provide Mexican car insurance to cover you while driving in that country. You’ll need to purchase a Mexico tourist auto policy from a licensed Mexican insurance company before crossing the border. 

Renting a car in Mexico

But what if you aren't driving into Mexico but renting a car once you're in the country? That requires a different set of preparations. The rental agency will likely offer you insurance coverage options. Understand what’s covered. Also, check with your credit card company. Your card’s benefits may cover physical damage and theft—but be aware, you may still need liability coverage in Mexico.

Getting Mexico insurance

Fortunately, companies like MexPro can help you find the coverage you need. All of their Mexico insurance policies are through A-rated carriers. You can get a quote in minutes and you won’t have to worry about carrying Mexican car insurance when you should be enjoying time in the sun.

Related links:

At Dairyland, we feel strongly about your safety, and we promote that through our defensive driving discount. Check out what you might be able to save today.

Also, make sure you have the coverages you need on the road. 

 

This document is made available by Sentry Insurance a Mutual Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates (collectively “SIAMCO”) with the understanding that SIAMCO is not engaged in the practice of law, nor is it rendering legal advice. The information contained in this document is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Legal obligations may vary by state and locality. No one should act on the information contained in this document without legal advice from competent and licensed local professionals. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN THIS DOCUMENT IS DISTRIBUTED BYSIAMCO “AS-IS”, WITHOUT ANYWARRANTIES. SIAMCO WILL HAVE NO LIABILITYTO ANYPERSON OR ENTITYWITH RESPECT TO ANYLOSSES OR DAMAGES CAUSED, OR ALLEGED TO HAVE BEEN CAUSED, DIRECTLYOR INDIRECTLY BYTHIS DOCUMENT, REGARDLESS OF WHETHER SUCH CLAIM IS BASED ON CONTRACT, WARRANTY, TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE AND FOR PROPERTYDAMAGE AND DEATH) OR OTHER GROUNDS.