UPDATED: Jan 25, 2019
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Mexico is a popular destination thanks to short flights from many American cities and affordable destinations, but even a budget vacation can turn into a huge expense in a hurry if something goes wrong.
While many people think of a trip to Mexico as a quick jaunt over the border and therefore not a major trip requiring travel insurance, all it takes is an accident or injury to cost you thousands of dollars. The question, therefore, shouldn’t be that of whether or not you need travel insurance for a trip to Mexico, but what kind you should buy.
The Basics of Travel Insurance for Mexico
As with just about any trip outside of the U.S., the biggest financial risk that comes with travel to Mexico is a medical emergency.
Some insurance companies may provide you with coverage in Mexico, but that coverage may be limited, and it may be difficult to find a provider who will work with your insurance. Odds are good that you will find yourself paying out of pocket for a large portion of your bill. Furthermore, medical providers in high tourist areas have been known to increase their prices for tourists. Travel medical, therefore, is a must for Mexico.
Rental car coverage is another aspect of travel insurance that is often overlooked by visitors. Your U.S. car insurance policy will not cover you in Mexico, either in your own car or in a rental. If you are used to relying on your own insurance when renting a car in America, it is easy to overlook the fact that the rules are not the same.
Beyond those two major factors, there are a lot of other things to consider when weighing your travel insurance options. Certainly, it is possible to purchase a major medical travel insurance plan and purchase rental car coverage separately. Whether you need to add on things that trip cancellation or interruption really depends on the cost of your trip and whether it would be a big financial loss to you if you had to cancel or come home early. The length of your visit makes a difference as well; the longer you are away, the higher the chances are of something going wrong.
Standard travel insurance policies cover things like non-refundable flights, lost baggage, trip delays, and the cost of a return flight home in the event of an emergency. They also commonly cover medical evacuation, which can be included in both medical and package travel insurance, and also pays to return you home for continued treatment as needed. Even from a place that seems close by, like Mexico, the cost of an air ambulance to bring a medically fragile person home can be astronomical. It is a coverage we highly recommend to travelers.
Since medical coverage and medical evacuation are two of the biggest financial risks of travel to Mexico, we chose travel insurance companies with comprehensive, affordable medical programs that include medical evacuation coverage.
We also looked for travel insurance plans that either include or offer rental car coverage as an add-on to the package.
Since Mexico is a popular family destination for U.S. travelers, the availability of coverage for children was also a consideration. Some travel insurance companies will cover children with a paid adult at no extra charge, which makes a big difference to the family travel budget.
Since an emergency that affects your travel plans is already a major inconvenience, we made sure to choose companies that have a good reputation for handling claims easily and quickly, as well as for taking care of their customers.
Our Top Recommendations
These travel insurance companies offer excellent package deals and include all of the must-haves and add-on options travelers to Mexico need the most.
Travelex has a range of good plans, all of which include primary medical coverage – meaning it does not come second to another insurance plan – and medical evacuation. The Travel Select plan covers children under 17 at no additional charge, making it a great pick for a family traveling together.
Rental car coverage can be added to any plan, along with a list of other upgrades to customize the policy. All of this comes with a solid reputation, including positive reviews for their claims handling.
RoamRight’s range of package options makes them a good pick for a wide variety of travelers to Mexico. They offer a medical plan that also tacks on some trip interruption coverage, which is a good bet for those not worried about cancellation. Rental car coverage is also offered as an add-on.
The Preferred plan allows one minor child for each adult insured to be covered at no charge, and it is a good overall value. RoamRight also comes with a strong number of positive reviews throughout the web.
Like our other picks, Allianz has a range of options including one (the Prime plan) offering coverage for children under 17 at no additional charge. They also offer the option of a medical-focused plan that includes some basic trip coverage as well without the cost of a full coverage travel package. Rental car coverage at Allianz is a separate policy that can be purchased with or without any other plan, making their options very flexible.
Allianz Travel is also part of one of the largest insurance companies in the world, and they have been writing travel insurance for a long time. Their reputation is solid, and they have all the options you need for travel to Mexico.
Shopping for Travel Insurance to Mexico
Your travel insurance needs vary greatly based on the length of your trip, the cost of your trip and how often you travel. It is important to figure out what coverage you really need before you start shopping around.
For those who visit Mexico frequently within the same year – not unusual for those who have family there or enjoy a timeshare vacation home, for example – a multi-trip policy is probably the best financial bet. If you are traveling on a budget and are mainly concerned with covering yourself for a catastrophic medical event, a base medical policy will probably fit the bill.
Since travel insurance coverage limits vary widely, it is important to know what coverage is included and at what limits when you compare rates. This type of insurance more than almost any other is really comparable more on value than on the rate alone, since there is such a variance in coverage.
Another big thing to consider when shopping for travel insurance is your timing; never wait until the last minute to buy. Almost all travel insurance will cover pre-existing conditions if you buy the insurance within a specific timeline. That is usually between 14-21 days of the initial deposit on your trip, so get started on shopping for travel insurance the moment you book your travel to Mexico.
The Bottom Line
Traveling to Mexico without at least a basic amount of travel insurance is risky. With many affordable options available, it is easy to purchase medical insurance at the very least, and a lot of options can be added on as needed.
Mexico is such a popular destination that most of the major travel insurance companies offer great deals on coverage for travelers headed south. Our top picks will offer you great value as well as good rates on the coverage you need for peace of mind.
For a list of companies that we recommend, visit our Best Insurance Companies page.