Are you thinking about whether to buy travel insurance for Mexico? Be sure to read this guide to figure out whether you really need to bring travel insurance to Mexico or not.
I love traveling to Mexico and make several trips to the country each year (especially to the gorgeous beaches of Tulum). Recently I decided to spend this winter in gorgeous Merida, Mexico. I’m pretty careful about spending my money, so I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I really need travel insurance for Mexico. I ultimately decided to purchase a Mexico travel insurance policy through World Nomads, the same company I used to buy my annual worldwide travel insurance policy for my big trip around the world.
But not everyone necessarily needs to bring travel insurance to Mexico, so read on to figure out if it’s worth a purchase in your circumstance.
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A Basic Primer on When Travel Insurance Makes Sense
Before deciding whether you need travel insurance for that Mexico trip of yours, it’s worth briefly discussing what insurance is and isn’t good for.
Insurance is a good deal if it helps guard you against a financial exigency that you couldn’t otherwise afford to cover if it occurred. For example, it is generally a bad idea to buy insurance for household appliances like microwave ovens. Why? Well, if a microwave breaks you can probably afford to fix it. And since insurance companies build a profit margin into their premiums, you’ll be saving over the long term by just self-insuring for small risks like this.
On the other hand, brain surgery is probably something that you can’t afford to self-insure. If you suddenly need it, it could result in financial ruin. That’s why health insurance is generally advisable.
Ok, enough with the lecture: what does this have to do with buying travel insurance for Mexico?
Well, it means that you should probably not worry too much about certain types of insurance coverages that the insurers will try to sell you on. For example, a lot of travel insurance companies will trumpet benefits like:
- Lost luggage protection
- Flight delay and cancellation protection
- Theft and personal effects coverage
But, you know what? I think travel insurance is usually a raw deal for these things. If a bag gets lost, it’s not going to result in financial ruin. If you have a delayed flight, it probably isn’t going to cost you much at all (and usually the airlines will help cover any incidental expenses). So, bottom line: I wouldn’t worry too much about having these coverages.
What you SHOULD be concerned about are risks that you can’t self-insure against. For travel to Mexico, that probably means three things you should consider:
- Emergency medical expenses
- Repatriation of remains
- Car Rental Insurance
All of these things can be catastrophically expensive if you end up with a huge medical bill, liability for a car wreck, or if your family needs to repatriate your remains after a tragic incident. These are the things you should be looking at when pricing out travel insurance for Mexico (or anywhere else).
Do You Already Have Travel Insurance for Mexico?
I generally think it’s advisable to have some insurance coverage for the sort of catastrophic losses I described above. But in some circumstances, you may already have sufficient travel insurance for Mexico without knowing it. Here are some questions to ask yourself to find out:
First, does your health insurance back home cover you in Mexico? Many American health insurers exclude coverage when you are abroad, but in the past, I’ve had coverage that applied to Mexico. The best way to find out is to call your health insurance company and ask.
Second, do you have sufficient travel insurance coverage for Mexico through a credit card? Some cards, like my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, provide limited travel insurance coverage that can help cover you for things like collision damage on an auto rental or some limited medical expenses.
Third, does your car insurance policy from back home cover rentals in Mexico? Some do, some don’t. Again, best to call to find out.
If you have health insurance and car insurance that applies to Mexico, you may decide it doesn’t make sense to spend the money to bring travel insurance to Mexico.
Special Considerations for Buying Travel Insurance for Mexico
Unlike some countries, Mexico does not list travel insurance as a requirement for entry for US citizens. With that said, it may still be a good idea to bring travel insurance to Mexico depending on your circumstances. Here are a few considerations to bear in mind:
- Mexico effectively has two medical care systems: a higher-end private one and a public one.
- The public healthcare system can be quite affordable and you may be eligible for it if you are planning to retire in Mexico on a resident visa. Read more info here.
- If you’re just traveling to Mexico, be aware that, while health care costs are generally cheaper in Mexico, for serious incidents the cost of care can still be very expensive.
- Car rental companies typically offer full coverage policies that you can buy separately if you just need coverage for your rental.
Why I Chose to Buy Travel Insurance for Mexico
Ultimately, I decided to shell out for the peace of mind of travel insurance for Mexico. Why? Well, my health insurance won’t cover me in the event of a serious incident here and I frequently rent cars to take day trips from my base in Merida.
I simply decided that saving a few extra bucks wasn’t worth the life-altering risk of a catastrophic bill.
Fortunately, I found that World Nomads has quite reasonable prices for Mexico-specific travel insurance. I paid significantly less on a monthly basis for a policy than I did when I bought a multi-country policy the year before.
If you want to check out how much it would cost to buy travel insurance for Mexico, you can price it out directly from this little widget:
One thing to note: unfortunately, World Nomads does not cover those over the age of 70. Other than that, I’ve been happy with my experience with World Nomads and would certainly recommend them. With that said, there are a bunch of travel insurance companies that will provide coverage for Mexico, so it may pay to shop around a bit. Just use the above quote widget to get a base price to inform your shopping so you don’t overpay!
If you have any questions about finding travel insurance for Mexico, please just drop me a line in the comments!