What Expats Should Know if They are Involved in a Car Accident

If you drove your foreign car into Mexico, you should have already purchased Mexican car insurance before arriving or as you entered Mexico.

Be advised that as a visitor without Mexican car insurance, if you find yourself involved in an accident you will not be able to leave until fault is determined and compensation is negotiated accordingly. This could result in the impounding of your vehicle and/or you being held in custody until it is resolved. This does not just apply to foreigners, but to all persons operating a vehicle in Mexico. Their law is Napoleonic; guilty until proven innocent.

If you were diligent and purchased car insurance, once you notify the insurance company, an adjuster will be sent to the scene, and he will deal with the other parties involved, mainly the police and insurance adjuster of the other person.

When buying car insurance, ensure your legal representation fees and bail bond are included in your policy.

If you are involved in an accident, the best advice we offer is, do not try to solve it yourself. The other driver may offer to settle without the insurance companies or police. However, this may not be beneficial in the long run. The other driver may later deny any fault, and your insurance company will deny your claim because you attempted to settle it yourself, without letting them take care of it.

General procedures to follow after an accident:

First things first, call the insurance company and ask for assistance in your own language. Most insurance providers don’t have such service in English, while only a few do. If your company does offer it, the process will be much smoother for you. Claims must be reported at the time of the accident, and the company will send an adjuster to assess the accident.

Call the police to report the accident. They will also come to the scene to fill out a police report.

Take note of your location, highway marker, intersection or address.

Make note or photograph other driver’s license plate. Also, take photographs of any damage done to your vehicle or other vehicles/property.

Be careful what you say, do not admit fault or make any payment arrangements until you have spoken to your agent.

Do not leave the scene of the accident until the insurance company adjuster arrives to assess the damage.

Always keep a current and valid copy of your insurance policy in the vehicle.

The driver must have a valid driver’s license.

Do not move the vehicles from the collision spot until a police officer or the adjuster arrives and instructs you to do so.

Do not sign anything, especially if the papers are in Spanish. Wait for the insurance adjuster.

Once you receive your claim number, contact your insurance broker to make sure they follow up on your claim.

Do not leave Mexico until the claim is settled. If you or the vehicle leave Mexico and try to make a claim from the US, your claim will be denied.

The broker will direct you to the designated body shops for repairs and advise you of the allotted time period for repairing the vehicle.

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