Although this topic of discussion may not apply to everyone or to all states, it is an important discussion for citizens of the the U.S. that are living in states that border other countries.
As a personal injury law firm that is located in Arizona, the country that often comes up in many cases for us at Zanes Law is Mexico. This is likely for firms in California and Texas as well.
In fact, our headquarters here in Tucson is only about a 45 minute drive into the border of Mexico!
Arizonans are not new to a day drive into Mexico for some sun and fun, or a quick weekend trip to see family over the border.
U.S. drivers in their own vehicles in Mexico is not an uncommon occurrence and because of that, it is imperative for drivers of U.S. citizenship to be aware of their insurance policy upon entering another country like Mexico.
The reality is your normal insurance policy that you may hold in your state, in U.S. will not likely cover you at all in Mexico – most simply don’t!
If your insurance policy does cover you in Mexico, it may be contingent on a set amount of miles such as “covered for 100 miles into Mexico”…
But what happens at 101 mile mark in Mexico and you find yourself in an accident?
The best thing to do is purchase auto insurance specifically for Mexico…
Not only is it easy but everything can be done online and you can purchase the policy for the set period of your travel in Mexico…
Print out that policy (heck make two copies!) and have it with you at all times when driving in Mexico!
But what happens if you don’t have car insurance while in Mexico?
The reality is you don’t want to find yourself in that predicament…
If you find yourself in an accident in Mexico, it is common courtesy for you to be taken down to the local police station where you will be asked to produce proof of insurance (hence have it with you, PRINTED) or you’ll be asked to “show me the money!”
Zanes Law has represented countless people who have had accidents in Mexico and we’ve been able to see a few common patterns in cases:
Example 1: One problem we see is that the U.S. driver has indeed purchased Mexican auto insurance but that insurance only covers the driver in the event of injury. It does not cover other passengers in the car. Make sure the insurance you purchase covers your loved ones etc. in the event of an accident in Mexico
Example 2: An accident occurs in Mexico but between it is between two U.S. citizens. In this case we would handle the claim as we would in the United States – filing th claim and all. It becomes problematic if and when the person at fault did not purchase insurance to cover them in Mexico.
Example 3: An accident that is also common is one where a U.S. citizen is volunteering with a group and is in a organizational vehicle. Specifically we had a client in a church van. This van was struck by a Mexican citizen driver in Mexico. However, the driver at fault did not have insurance. This scenario presents difficulties because a Mexican citizen cannot be brought forth in a U.S. based system. Instead, an attorney must seek other means of compensating the party injured (in this case, the church was sued).
Example 4: Drivers who come into the U.S. (into Arizona for example) have the same responsibility and issues. Mexican citizens have the ability to purchase insurance for the length of their trip in the U.S. at the border. We do find that often this is done but it is imperative upon an accident with a Mexican driver in the U.S. to collect ALL DETAILS at the time of the accident.
The process is the same and if not more important because should a police report not be filed, the next important document is their insurance company, full name of driver, address, etc etc.
The process becomes more difficult if the driver at fault lives in another country and cannot be found.
We know that an accident can be scary and confusing as it is – being in another country when it happens can be terrifying.
If you’ve been involved in an accident in Mexico and have been injured, call Zanes Law immediately for guidance.