Vital Info for First Time Travelers to Mexico
Mexico is a beautiful country with a favorable climate, tropical forests and attractive coastlines. In fact, you may wish to visit sites that other visitors have visited and enjoyed. For example, if you like bird watching, you could drive south towards Sonora State to Rancho El Aribabi, and watch the wide variety of birds there and also other animals like the jaguar. Alternatively, you could drive to Baja and see the friendly gray whales. Then there are the turtles, the sharks, dolphins, manatees, hippos, and many more animals, found in varied places across Mexico.
For this reason, you need to be driving in a strong vehicle that will not let you down in tough terrain. You may also need a buggy with you depending on the different sites you ultimately select. So, clearly, you will need to have vehicle insurance besides your usual personal or medical insurance because the vehicle is a major part of your tour.
Things you need to have in mind as you plan your Mexican visit
- At the Mexican border, expect to complete a simple form showing why you are entering Mexico.
- You need to equip yourself with your tourist card
- You will spend $15 on the vehicle permit and you can pay for it using your credit card
- You need to carry the vehicle permit with you as you crisscross Mexico
- Once in Mexico, you need to display the vehicle permit on your windshield
- You need to understand the level of care needed to drive on Mexican roads:
- to avoid hitting animals that sometimes jump unexpectedly onto the road
- to avoid crashing onto other vehicles being driven by locals who sometimes take road traffic rules lightly
- You need to know that an insurance policy from the US or Canada will only cover you effectively for a few kilometers from the border – usually not beyond 50km.
- That if you are driving and you have no valid car insurance then you ram onto another car you could easily see the inside of a Mexican jail
- If you are not sure for how long you will be in Mexico, it is advisable to take out a 6mth insurance policy to avoid anxiety as days go by and your visit becomes more enjoyable.
- The 6mth car insurance policy costs about $150.
- There are many stores at the border points of Mexico but you will be better advised to buy auto insurance before you set off from home. Someone might expect buying at the border to be convenient but it comes with extra costs in terms of money and time.
- Only Mexican auto insurance is valid in Mexico irrespective of your country of origin or other insurance policies you hold. You can buy at the border or through the Internet but it is more expensive at the border. You can save on your Mexican auto insurance by getting your insurance from this MexInsuranceStore URL.
- You need to inspect your rental car carefully before you sign for it lest you get charged for damages that are not your fault when you return it.
What will you need before you are granted a tourist card and a vehicle permit?
- Proof that the car is rightfully under your care.
- Proof that the car has American registration
- Affidavit to show you have authority of temporary importation
- A driver’s license that is considered valid in America
- Your legal identification such as a passport.
- If you are newly married and therefore your passport and your driver’s license read differently as far as your name goes, have the marriage certificate with you.
Get Your Mexican Vehicle Insurance
Once at the border, be observant. If the border light turns red, look out for some parking space. The customs official will, very likely, require you to park somewhere and answer a few questions, and possibly search your vehicle. If you are entering the country legally and you are not concealing any contraband, you need not worry. The other thing you need to have, if you want to traverse Mexico without a care in the world, is valid Mexican car insurance.