Know the Law in Mexico
Common sense goes a long way, no matter which country you live in. Different countries have different criteria on certain things: procedures and paperwork on house closings, passport requirements; even the proof of ownership for our vehicles, for example. In the US, the owner is provided with a title. In Canada, the owner’s license plate registration is the title. In Mexico, the owner’s original receipt from the dealership is the proof of ownership. In the US and Canada, when we sell the vehicle, the title and/or registration are changed. In Mexico, the original receipt must always be with the current owners, so whenever the vehicle is sold, the original receipt also goes to the new owner.
Now, these documents are obviously extremely important, and we take the proper measures to protect them. The most secure means is to keep them somewhere other than the vehicle. This is simply common sense. Traveling into Mexico with a vehicle, naturally these items above are required, so we need to carry them with us. But please, once you arrive at your destination, remove all of these original documents from the vehicle.
What do these documents include? Or better still, what should we carry in our vehicles? Copies of the following: Migratory Status (Tourist visa, FM3, etc.), Passport, Car Importation Permit (the original sticker stays in the window), all insurance papers, car registration and or title. If you are married and your spouse is also driving this vehicle, a copy of your marriage certificate should also be included. The only original item you should have on your person while driving is your driver’s license.
At this point, some of you may be asking why this is so important. Let us give you two examples of what can happen, through true stories of what happened to two people we have personally assisted.
Example one: The vehicle was parked at a popular shopping place in Guadalajara and was stolen. This vehicle was worth $42,000 USD. The police were called, as well as the insurance company, and all the necessary paperwork was generated. Unfortunately, the owner could not produce the original importation permit, as it was in the vehicle, and the insurance company refused to pay the claim. Check your policies. Most say you will need to produce this in the event of a theft.
Example two: An individual brought a vehicle into a repair shop for some minor repairs. The mechanic then delivered the vehicle back to the owner, but informed the owner that the vehicle had other problems. Naturally, the mechanic would be glad to take the vehicle back to his shop and make these other repairs, which the client agreed to. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, simply trying to get the car back. Excuses were produced, delays on this and that, etc. This individual had left the title and all other original papers in the car, and our investigation revealed that the mechanic simply forged a signature and sold the car, handing the buyer all the “proper paperwork” needed for this transaction.
Simply take a few minutes to be diligent. Take simple common sense precautions to protect yourself from people who might normally not be predisposed to hurt you, like our example number two, but when given the “perfect” opportunity might just take the chance. And remember, no matter where we go, unfortunately there are a few dishonest people out there. Let’s not make their job any easier than it already is.