20 November 2012

To Insure or not to Insure (in Mexico)?

We were recently in Cabo San Lucas for Victor's stepbrother's wedding. We rented a car because rates were so cheap, but after we arrived we were obliged to pay for liability insurance that doubled the cost of our rental.  We are returning to Mexico for our winter vacation, so I set out to discover whether we really should have paid for that liability insurance or if we were already covered.

Short answer: we were smart to pay.  Long answer: the collision damage waiver (CDW) coverage offered by many credit cards is not the same as liability insurance.  But even if you knew that (we did), it turns out that liability insurance you already have (bundled with your car insurance or--as in our case--homeowner's insurance) may not be of much help in Mexico.  I called our insurance agent and she confirmed that, Yes, we were covered, but she still advised us to buy the rental company's liability coverage. "They make their own rules over there," she said.  She explained that they tend to go after you in court rather than deal with a U.S. insurance company.

Or something like that.  If you Google the issue, there's quite a bit of chatter, but it comes down to this: buy the Mexican liability insurance.

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