Auto insurance and accidents
Posted by Christopher Decker on June 24, 1997
Does anyone have any experience with any of the following providers/brokers of Mexican auto insurance: 1) ASD Insurance, 2) Sanborn's, 3) Lewis and Lewis of CA, 4) Oscar Padilla Insurance Agency? I have done some comparison shopping and learned that prices vary wildly. Perhaps there is a reason. Can anyone vouch for the good reputation, professionalism, and basic fair play of any of the above? Thank you.
Posted by leo on June 25, 1997
I've used Sanborn's several times and have been given good service from them. I'v never filed a claim with them but find them somewhat expensive.
I recently joined a mexico travel club "Discover Baja", with an annual membership fee of $39. It offers its
members auto insurance through a couple of different Mexican underwriters. My policy is written through Oscar Padilla (which I've used many times in the past and have had good service, but filed no claims). My insurance is good throughout Mexico.
The prices are something like this:
Liability only $53 per year
Full coverage (20 years or newer)
$10,000-15,000 value $132 per year
$15,001-20,000 value $144 per year
$20,001-25,000 value $161 per year
I intend to drive to Guadalajara the end of this month, so I got a policy for one year on my Dodge Dakota pickup for $132, which I consider to be a great bargain.
"Discover Baja Travel Club" (which I have no vested interest in) can be reached at:
3089 Clairemont Drive, San Diego, CA 92117
Posted by Christopher Decker on June 25, 1997Here is the contact info for the firms I mentioned:
Oscar Padilla Insurance Agency
Lewis and Lewis 800-966-6830 or 310-657-1112
Posted by David Eidell on June 26, 1997
I've been covered by all of the above at one time or another. Probably the biggest difference, is deciding whether or not you'll find the services of an extra-cost "club membership useful". Those unfortunates whom had to utilize an attorney because of having an accident commonly state that the "Attorney Option" which is available for extra cost on all policies, was well worth the premium. The biggest bitch going is the difficulty of finding an adjustor (who commonly sidelines as a bull breeder, paleta push-cart distributor, or fisherman) who will respond to your calls for assistance. The contract lawyer supposedly fetches the adjustor a lot quicker thus saving you a lot of time and headache.
Posted by dumois on June 26, 1997
What is this, mis amigos? Do you want to kill me, choked in my own laughter? First it was the crime debate, and now my good friend David stating the very real Mexican ajustadores truth just as it is, in such a manner that I have to laugh out loud.
Gracias, again. Saludos from Guadalajara,
Posted by Mary Giesz on June 26, 1997
Am I understanding all of you, it would be highly recommended to carry auto ins. in Mexico with the Atty. option feature and is that separate from the club membership??? If I am getting correct infor., the majority of Mexican citizens do not carry auto ins., therefore, what is my liability if I am hit?? or, if I cause the accident??? Can anyone clarify this??? Gracias.
Posted by Bruce McGovern on June 27, 1997
Since I have never had a wreck in Mexico, this is only an opinion. I do know some police tend to take you down to the station, for some uncertain length of time, while any unresolved issues are resolved. Several years ago, my daughter was out with friends, in a car driven by a Mexican military officer. The police stopped him because a taillight burned out. He refused to pay mordida, because of his ethics as an officer. Everyone, not just the driver, was taken to the station. When they discovered my girl was a U.S. citizen, they separated her, but everone was held, for some hours, until a magistrate had a hearing and he paid a considerable fine.
Thus, I believe claims in the retire-to-Mexico books that if you are in a wreck, and can't produce insurance and/or adjustor, whether bull breeder or fisherman, it is possible to be jailed for some lengthy time. Especially if someone is hurt.
Those with more expertise, please advise.
Posted by Jerezano on June 27, 1997
Yes, by all means get the attorney option on the insurance. The rule here in Mexico is that if anybody in the accident bleeds, everybody goes to jail. From there, supposedly they will let you call your attorney and your attorney is supposedly able to get you out of jail into a hotel.
On other accidents, the guys are telling you like it is. One never knows. The way it is supposed to work is that if you have an accident and you and the other driver can come to an agreement as to who pays the costs and how much---and that payment is made right then and there, the cops are supposed to let you go if no one was injured. SUPPOSED. But once the cops enter the picture, mordidas enter from all directions. Therefore, most drivers try to settle and leave the scene without letting a cop find tjhem..
Traffic infractions are different. Mexico City and lately Guadalajara, tourists are always being pulled over for nonexistant infractions. Guadalajara was charging last summer a minimum of 50 pesos for whatever the cop could think of. Didn't matter if the driver did it or not. They usually pull you over, and if it is a very busy area with lots of witnesses, they ask you to follow them down the street and around a corner into a parking lot, a side street, or somewhere where they can hit you for the mordida without a lot of witnesses.
Yes, you are right. Most Mexicans drive without auto insurance. Too, the insurance companies have a bad reputation of refusing to pay a legitimate claim. For all of this, the attorney insurance, which is separate and above your comprehensive and your liability is well worth the extra charge---in my opinion. I carry it. And yes, it is separate and above your club fee---if you are talking about the iinsurance you get through Sanborn's which is expensive---but again my agent. You might try Allen W. Lloyd in Guadalajara. They have a comparable insurance without the club fee and without the medical air lift. Therefore, it is quite a bit less expensive. Good luck. Jerezano
Posted by John Cummings on June 27, 1997
Your posting hits the nail right on the head. It spells out the real situation very accurately, especially about the way things are supposed to be and how they really are.
That is why I seldom drive in Mexico. No matter what precautions you take and what insurance you have, a cop can change all of that around in a hurry. I use airplanes, busses, taxis, city busses, rented cars WITH driver, etc. to get where I want to go. Let somebody else worry about insurance etc. I can enjoy the sights. I travel very extensively all over Mexico on both pleasure and business. It is a very rare occasion that I can't find some suitable mode of transportation other than driving.
Posted by David Eidell on June 28, 1997
For a number of years, "Mexico Travel Clubs" have glombed onto surplus line insurance brokers (Mexico auto insurance) to offer their members a block discount on automobile insurance. Currently, some independent brokers are offering the same low rates to individuals without requiring them to join a club or association to purchase insurance at the low rate. These "clubs" have absolutely no connection to the Mexican insurance companies involved, except to write policies and split the policy profit between themselves. The policies are independent of the travel clubs, and so are any optional "riders" that you may add at extra cost (such as increased liability, lawyers, or towing clauses).
Let's settle the issue of "going to jail" in Mexico, if you are an "involved driver" in a serious accident. The law applies to everyone, Mexican, Gringo, Swahili. Mexico's Napoleonic system of laws does not afford the accused's promise to appear before a judge. If YOU ran over a person in a crosswalk and YOU were facing a homicide charge (involuntary) and YOU stood a chance of spending say, two years in a Mexican jail, would YOU "hang around" until your court date? Hell No! With auto insurance, the pesos would flow freely and lubricate those arms of the justice system that would otherwise be indignant of having someone "walk" without paying some form of penalty. Without insurance the accused would flee for the border posthaste. One of the shortcomings in the Mexican justice system is that small time hoods could flee across a state line, and depending on the infamy of the crime, remain as a fugitive until things cooled down at home. The historic reluctance of authorities to release traffic accident participants has conditioned Mexican drivers to flee the scene of accidents here in the United States. After all if the investigating cops were "dumb" enough to cite them at the scene then let them go, then how bad can it be, right? This seeming "nose thumbing" at our traffic and justice systems, is little more than foreigners interpeting a situation according to their own customs at home. If a Mexican citizen pulls a gun in a gas station south of the border, and robs the cash box, the Mexican justice system won't let him see the light of day until he's served out his sentence. Here in the States, he can post bond and Presto(!).........
"Make A Run For The Border". Prejudice and racism is a two-way street. Most of it is caused by individuals whom are too lazy to study other cultures and have the fortitude to respect and obey the other culture's tenets, while visiting or staying in that country. Many Mexicans sneer at the culture in the United States, and they are just as pitiful as Americans who sneer at Mexican culture in Mexico. Aren't we glad that we aren't part of the problem?