Mexico is a lovely country to visit. From the ancient Mayan ruins, the cool cenotes, and the beach, Mexico can provide a truly unforgettable experience.
One thing vacationers, or folks traveling on a business trip, may wonder is if they need travel insurance for Mexico.
There’s no hard “yes” or “no” to that question. Whether or not you feel like purchasing Mexico travel insurance depends on many things: time of year, if you’re traveling with children or the elderly, what you’ll be eating, and several other factors.
Read through this guide we have provided. It’ll show you the pros and cons of travel insurance for Mexico, how much it might cost, and situations where you might not need it.
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Do You Need Travel Insurance For Mexico?
Reasons You May Need Travel Insurance For Mexico
When you start looking for the best travel insurance for Mexico, it’s good to look for what you will actually need financial assistance with if there is an emergency.
Remember that many times insurance helps you to pay for things that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to pay for yourself. In the case of traveling overseas, it can help give you some peace of mind, provide healthcare coverage, and pay for any lost luggage or flight delays.
Lost luggage or flight delays, though inconvenient, you can probably afford to take care of yourself. And many times, the airlines will compensate for any incidentals caused by travel delays.
Even then, travel insurance can make things go a lot smoother if you don’t have to use your trip money (money that would’ve been spent on hotels, attractions, and souvenirs) to replace your luggage or buy a new plane ticket.
Medical emergencies or car trouble (if you’re driving a rental) can be much more expensive problems to deal with and, without insurance, would set you back significantly.
To recap, here are a few possible issues you may find yourself needing insurance coverage for while in Mexico:
- Medical emergencies (food poisoning, allergic reaction to something new, injury due to accident, etc.)
- Evacuation (your case is so severe you need to be brought back to a U.S. hospital)
- Repatriation of remains (should someone in your group die in Mexico)
- Car Insurance (for rentals or your own car)
- Flight or travel delays
- Lost or damaged luggage
If you’re concerned about possible medical emergencies while in Mexico, you’ll want to look into purchasing travel insurance that covers such things.
The healthcare system in Mexico is provided by Insituto Mexicano de Seguro Social (IMSS), and it’s only available to Mexican residents and legal immigrants. Anyone else seeking medical care will be required to pay for it out of pocket. Some health centers may even require you to pay before being seen by a doctor.
Though medical costs are far less expensive in Mexico than in the U.S., they may still get you back in an emergency situation. Having travel insurance that will cover medical expenses in Mexico will help a great deal.
That said, there are a few things you can do to prevent getting sick or injured while in Mexico:
- Get pre-travel vaccinations. Recommendations are:
o Hepatitis A
o Hepatitis B
- Don’t eat any foods served at room temperature, anything raw or unwashed, or unpasteurized dairy products. If you buy food from street vendors make sure the food is fresh and prepared in front of you, not sitting.
- Don’t drink tap water, well water, any drinks made with untreated tap or well water, or unpasteurized milk.
- Make sure you have plenty of insect repellant, as insects in Mexico are known for spreading diseases.
- Wear proper clothing for the climate, use sunscreen when necessary, and bring with you a basic first aid kit.
- Protect yourself against heat stroke with plenty of bottled water, snacks, and loose lightweight clothing.
- Wear shoes on the beach, swim only where designated, and don’t swallow any water while swimming.
- Stay away from undomesticated animals, rodents, bats, or any animals that seem diseased, as some could have rabies.
- Use basic common sense hygiene practices that you would follow at home, but be far more attentive.
- If you take regular medication be sure to bring those with you on your trip. If you’ll be away for a long time, have your doctor order you an extra prescription to fill before you leave. This way you don’t have to worry about trying to refill any prescriptions while in Mexico.
Delays or Luggage Trouble
In a perfect world, there would be no flight cancellations or delays, and everyone’s luggage would arrive at their destination 100% of the time.
Unfortunately, that is not the case. This is why many travel agencies will offer insurance that covers trip cancellation, trip interruption/delay, or lost luggage.
Nearly all airplane tickets are non-refundable, and even if the airline provides you with some sort of compensation should a flight be canceled or delayed, it is very unlikely to expect a full refund. Travel insurance, however, will completely reimburse you for any delays or cancellations.
Some credit card companies, if you purchase your trip with that card, will also offer reimbursement should your flight be canceled for any reason.
Should your luggage ever get lost, if you have travel insurance, you’ll receive full reimbursement if your stuff is permanently lost, or they may give you just enough money to buy essential items (clothes, toiletries, food, etc.) until your luggage arrives.
A few restrictions to be aware of regarding luggage coverage:
- Limits will be placed on how much the policy pays for lost luggage. For example, there may be a $1,000 maximum limit, but also a $300 per-item limit.
- Certain items may not be covered, such as credit cards, keys, false teeth, contact lenses, and more.
Does Your Current Insurance Cover Mexico?
Perhaps you want to save money and just use your own insurance in case something happens while you’re in Mexico.
We understand. Vacations are expensive, and you certainly don’t want to buy anything you don’t have to.
However, you should know that not all US health insurance companies provide coverage for trips overseas.
If your health insurance company doesn’t provide coverage while you’re in Mexico, and you opt not to buy travel insurance, your trip costs could end up being higher than you ever budgeted for.
Before you leave, contact your current insurance provider and ask if they provide coverage overseas or in Mexico.
If they do, that’s great and may give you some peace of mind during your trip. It might still be good to look for some supplemental health insurance specifically to be used in Mexico.
Why? Well, many US companies that extend or offer coverage in foreign countries do so with strict limitations.
Limitations such as:
- How long you can stay in the hospital
- Which hospitals or clinics you’re allowed to visit
- Reimbursement for services (instead of letting a clinic bill them), which can take months to process
- How much they’ll pay or reimburse for
Also, many US insurance companies won’t front the cost to evacuate you out of Mexico to a US hospital if needed.
Having supplemental insurance for Mexico can help you to fill the gaps left by your US insurance company.
What About Medicare or Medicaid?
If you have either Medicare or Medicaid, don’t bother giving them a call before you leave for Mexico. They don’t offer coverage outside of the United States.
Also, if you have Medicaid, be aware of how much time you spend out of the US. Too long and you may lose your eligibility and have to reapply after returning to the states. If you require any sort of healthcare in Mexico, you will need to purchase a policy from a separate agency.
Medicare is a little easier to deal with, but there are still some restrictions. You won’t lose your enrollment upon leaving the U.S., but they won’t pay for any healthcare received overseas unless:
- You’re on a cruise ship and the ship is in U.S. territorial waters when you receive treatment.
- Non-emergency inpatient care if the hospital you’re in is closer to your home residence than the nearest available U.S. hospital.
As for supplemental coverage for Mexico, Medicare recipients do have the option to purchase a Medigap policy. Choose Medigap plans C-J, M or N, and you’ll receive:
- Coverage for any emergency care overseas for up to the first 60 days of your trip.
- 80% of the billed charges will be paid for by Medigap after you pay a $250 deductible for that year.
- Coverage costs (after deductible) of up to $50,000 in your lifetime.
Auto Insurance for Mexico
If you plan on doing any driving in Mexico, you will be required to have at least liability insurance should an accident occur.
However, your United States car insurance policy will not travel with you. You will have to purchase separate car insurance for Mexico.
Several U.S. car insurance companies (like Progressive or Geico) do sell policies for Mexico and can tailor it to your specific needs, like if you only need it for a day or a few weeks, rather than a whole year.
There are also car insurance companies that only sell auto policies for traveling to Mexico. Or, if you purchase travel insurance, you can easily add an auto insurance package.
Additionally, you can purchase a full coverage policy through the rental company if you’re renting a car. This is a great option if you are only going to need auto insurance in Mexico.
Finding Cheap Travel Insurance to Mexico
When you start looking for travel insurance options for Mexico, it is important to know what you’ll be doing while you’re there.
For example, if you’ll be participating in risky activities like diving, surfing, caving, horseback riding, and more, you’ll want an extensive plan that provides complete medical coverage should something go seriously wrong.
Also, be aware of how much you’ll be willing to pay upfront should you need to seek emergency medical care. A visit that could cost you $1,000 or more without insurance, may only cost you $60 after insurance. But you still need to have the $60 on hand to pay.
It’s a good idea, even if you have health insurance in your travel plan, to budget a couple of hundred dollars for emergency medical costs, just in case.
Make sure you shop around and compare different travel insurance policies before committing to one. Make sure that the policies have everything you need. Travel insurance companies should offer coverage for:
- Cancellations or delays
- Emergency medical expenses
- Lost, stolen, or damaged luggage
- Pre-existing medical conditions (like if you need treatment for an asthma attack)
- Personal liability
There are a couple of websites where you can easily compare travel insurance from various companies. You can select the type of trip you’re taking, where you’re going, how many people will need to be covered, and any other types of coverage you want to include.
The website will then provide you with an email or display a list of options for you to choose from. It’s up to you if you select the cheapest option or the most expensive option.
Depending on what types of coverage you include, the average cost for travel insurance is about $140-$160. The more inclusive plans will probably cost closer to $200 or more, but this is a ballpark.
Should You Get Travel Insurance for Mexico
Visiting Mexico, whether for business or pleasure, should be fun and enjoyable. Given the health and dangerous risks in Mexico, especially for the adventurous types, buying a travel insurance plan should be budgeted into the travel expenses.
Without insurance, if anything happens, even as small as losing your luggage or as big as breaking a limb, you’ll be paying a lot more money than you planned. And something as big as an injury will cost you hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars above your budget. Travel insurance can help alleviate some of those financial burdens should an emergency arise.
Even if nothing happens, having an insurance plan for medical expenses, travel delays, lost luggage, and the car can give you the peace of mind you need to fully enjoy your vacation.
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Travel writer and owner of the blog. My work has been featured on Fodors, Eater.com, International Living, and Great Escape Publishing, among many others. My story? Nearly six years ago, I left my job at an Oklahoma City law firm and embarked on a journey around the world. At the time, I thought I would only be gone for 6 months, but the more I traveled, the longer my bucket list became. Flashpacker describes how I travel. Rather than traveling as the normal world wise backpacker and staying in hostel dorms, I prefer a more comfortable experience, and typically stay in private rooms, take Ubers instead of taxis, and now use a suitcase instead of a backpack. Foodie, on the other hand, describes one of the key reasons why I travel. I love to pick a central “base camp” and then explore the surrounding area, really immersing myself in the culture and interacting with the people, and enjoying and exploring the food of an area is an essential part of this experience.