Friday, June 20, 2008

Five Tips to Keep You and Your Vehicle Safe in Mexico

Mexico is such an attractive place for a road trip that there are more than 80 million vehicle border crossings each year. That number could increase this year because a great drive south-of-the-border is an affordable travel alternative to Europe.

Here are five top tips to keep you and your car safe from GMAC Insurance --

1. Have the proper insurance. In most instances, your U.S. auto insurance policy will not be valid in an accident in Mexico, so you should buy Mexico auto insurance. Check with your insurance company to see if it offers a pre-approved policy for Mexico, or special add-ons to
cover you within a certain mileage from the border.

2. Know the law. In Mexico, a car accident is seen as a criminal offense, and until it is determined who is at fault and whether a penalty can be paid, you could be detained in jail. Check with your insurance company to make sure they will cover bail costs, so you stay in jail longer than absolutely necessary.

3. Stay With Your Car. Mexican law states that a car must be driven by the vehicle owner, or the owner must be in the vehicle. If the owner is not present, the car will be seized by customs and not returned under any circumstances. If your name is on the title, stay with the vehicle at all times.

4. Plan Ahead. Know how long you will be in the country in advance. Give yourself extra leeway in the event an accident occurs and an extended stay is unavoidable. In addition, register with the embassy, so they are aware of your presence and your whereabouts.

5. Study Up. Read your new auto insurance policy carefully, especially the part about your responsibilities in case of an accident or loss. Keep a copy of the policy in the vehicle at all times, and always carry your driver's license, as well - it's valid in Mexico.

These tips can help you avoid a mountain of headaches, from paperwork to jail time to enormous fines and other costs.

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