This post has been updated in 2016 but was originally published in 2014.
People were shocked when we told them we were going on a trip to Mexico and that we planned to drive around. And while it’s true that some parts of Mexico should be avoided, other areas are about as safe as driving elsewhere in the world. We traveled to the Yucatan, a relatively safe area to visit. Having the freedom of a rental car is a wonderful way to explore this area. But there are some very important things that you should be aware of, such as the mandatory Mexican Liability Insurance. After lots of research, detailed comparisons, and our personal experience, we wanted to share with you what we learned about renting a car in Mexico.
Go Through a Reputable Rental Car Agency
If you just do a simple Google search for a rental car in Mexico, all kinds of companies will pop up. If you are from the States, then you may think that going with an agency you know like Hertz or Avis would be the best bet. But that’s not always true. Offices are franchised out and just because it is the same company doesn’t mean that the service or product will be good. Definitely look at the reviews of the agency.
Rental agencies on airport property will be more expensive than renting at an off-site agency. But if you rent off-site, be sure that they provide reliable transportation to and from the airport, again look at the reviews. In Cancun, we found that America Car Rental met our expectations.
They picked us up promptly when our flight landed and were very professional and kind to us. As with a lot of things in Mexico, the process was a bit lengthy to complete the paperwork, inspect the car and pick up the rental. So just be sure to allot yourself plenty of time.
You Must Buy Mexican Liability Insurance By Law
This is IMPORTANT! Mexican Liability Insurance is mandatory in Mexico. If you do not have proof that you have this insurance and you happen to get into an accident, no matter how minor, you can be taken to a Mexican jail until the police can determine who was at fault (and who knows how long that may take). Personally, I would prefer not to spend my vacation in a Mexican jail while they sort out the details of the accident. Having proof of the insurance can save you much of the headache.
Mexican Liability Insurance is Not Always Included in Rental Car Quote
When you do a search online for a rental car in Mexico, you will be surprised at how cheap the quotes are. And yes, the rental is cheap…but the insurance is not! Many major online travel booking sites will deceive you when it comes to Mexican Liability Insurance. Their quote may say “including all insurance” but that may not include Mexican Liability – so be sure to read the fine print to see what exactly it does cover.
The cost of this insurance can easily double your total rental price, so be sure to check carefully. If to the total rental car price seems too good to be true, then it likely doesn’t include Mexican Liability Insurance.
Below is an example of a search that I did online for a rental car in Mexico – you can see the price seems great!
How to Buy Mexican Liability Insurance
There are some companies here in the States that will offer to sell Mexican Liability Insurance up front before you leave the States. However, that doesn’t mean that it will actually be honored in Mexico.
We have heard a lot of conflicting reports about this issue and the rules aren’t very clear. Your best bet is to buy the insurance from a Mexican agency, to be sure it will be honored in Mexico.
Before our trip, we actually reached out to some Mexican insurance companies that we found online. However, their service was terrible and they seemed a bit sketchy. In the end, we decided that we didn’t feel comfortable using them.
We were nervous that buying over the phone or internet could be a scam too. So in the end, we decided to save ourselves a lot of headaches and worry by just buying it direct from America Rental Car agency in Mexico when we picked up the car.
Update: While doing some research for a recent post about Why You Need Car Insurance in Mexico, I actually found a company called Sanborn’s Mexican Auto Insurance. They are technically a Mexican company, but they have multiple offices in both the States and in Mexico. While we haven’t used Sanborn’s ourselves, their information seems much more comprehensive and gives me a higher level of trust than what I found online a few years ago.
How Much Does Mexican Liability Insurance Cost?
The cost of Mexican Liability Insurance can vary between rental car agencies. In advance of our trip, we did some detailed comparisons between a variety of rental agency prices in Cancun. When we looked into the details of renting through Hertz, their Mexican Liability Insurance was crazy expensive! But with America Rental Car, it was actually must more reasonable. Not cheap, but reasonable. Overall, the insurance coverage was exactly the same too.
So this solidified our choice in America Rental Car as being our best option.
If you are interested in America Car Rental, click on the banner below to search rentalcars.com. America is currently one of their vendors in the Cancun area, and their quoted price includes the required Mexican Liability Insurance!
Renting a Car in Mexico is Worth It!
Overall, we don’t regret renting a car in Mexico. In fact, during our trip we believe that renting a car in Cancun made our trip a lot better! While there are many options for group tours in Cancun that will take you to see all the main sights (such as the famous Chichen Itza), having the car gave us such freedom to explore as we wanted to. Doing your research in advance will save you time and money, but of course, you are already doing that if you are reading this post!
Read more about our adventure driving around the Yucatan and Tip for Driving in Mexico.
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