Going RVing in Mexico?
What will be helpful to know if you are RVing to Mexico? This section will discuss insurance for RVs and considerations when driving or towing an RV in Mexico.
To lend a little credibility, since 2004 my wife and I have spent 3-4 months each summer towing extensively throughout western U.S. and Canada. We have also towed in Mexico’s states of Baja and Sonora states. Our current rig is a 27 foot bumper pull, which served us very well on a 10,500 mile/17,000 kilometer trip to Alaska in 2016.
In this section you will find information about:
RV insurance for Mexico: Three important considerations
The domestic RV market in Mexico is almost non-existent (so far). While service and repair people in Mexico are very resourceful, very few have experience working on RVs. Parts will likely be scarce or not available.
The typical Mexican auto insurance policy only pays the cost of Mexican labor for collision damage repair, whether repaired in Mexico, the U.S., or Canada. Depending on location, the Mexican labor rate is around U.S. $20 per hour.
From our experience RVing in the U.S., we find it fortunate to find a repair facility that charges less than U.S. $80 per hour and $100+ is the norm. Lazy Days RV in Tucson, Arizona charges a labor rate of $149/hour (as of October, 2019).
All of our companies offer two policy forms for Mexico, “Standard” and “Extended”. Considering 1. and 2. above, we recommend purchasing the Extended policy form because it provides much better coverage in many respects.
If your RV is drivable after suffering damage from a collision or other cause, or drivable after temporary repairs, you'll be more satisfied to have your rig repaired at home . . . and have your Mexican insurance company pay up to U.S. $100 per hour for the labor. This higher labor rate is included in the Extended policy offered by two of our companies, ABA Seguros and El Águila. The policy offered by Grupo Nacional Provincial (GNP) pays up to US $50 per hour for repairs in the U.S. and Canada.
You must report a claim as soon as possible, and definitely before you leave Mexico. This allows the insurance company to investigate the damages.
Do you insure your RV against fire, windstorm, lightning, hail, flood, etc. when it is in your home country? If so, a third consideration for Mexico insurance is maintaining full coverage on your RV throughout your stay in Mexico. Why do we mention this?
Some people think that because their RV will be parked for weeks or even months, they do not need physical damage insurance while parked. As a result, they buy a short term Mexico policy that covers them only while they are driving in to their Mexican destination, and they buy a second policy that covers them only while they are driving out. Some people call this “In and Out” insurance.
True, “In and Out” insurance saves a bit of money in reduced insurance premium.
But, if you live in an RV for weeks, months, or full time, you will likely do a lot of cooking in it. One of the most common causes of RV fires is, you guessed it: Cooking. During our years of RVing, my wife and I have witnessed a number of RV cooking fires.
Besides covering collision damage and theft, a Mexican auto policy providing physical damage, while rolling OR parked, will cover fire, explosion, and meteorological phenomena such as wind, hail, flood, falling branches or trees, earthquake, volcanic eruption, avalanche, etc.
Our job is to help people understand what can happen, and to help them understand the pros and cons of not having full coverage. So here is a key question:
If you are concerned enough to insure your RV against these perils at home, wouldn’t you be equally concerned about these perils while your RV is in Mexico?
Driving or Towing an RV in Mexico
Mexico continues to rapidly build new highways and to widen existing four lane highways throughout the country. These four lane highways are modern and much like what we are accustomed to in the U.S. and Canada. For this reason, the following will only focus on driving the two lane highways (one lane in each direction) you are likely to travel on in Mexico.
Three considerations when driving or towing an RV in Mexico:
There is often no right side shoulder on Mexico’s two lane roads, meaning there is an abrupt drop off upon leaving the pavement.
Dropping a right side wheel off the pavement can result in a serious rollover accident.
Two lane highways in Mexico are typically narrower than what we are accustomed to in Canada and the U.S. Curves are often tighter and grades may be steeper.
If you are towing a trailer, especially a bumper pull, you know the trailer will track inside of the tow vehicle on tight curves and turns.
The longer your outfit, whether a Class A motorhome or towing a 5th wheel or travel trailer, the more care and attention is needed.
Allowing a towed unit or the rear of a motor home to stray into the oncoming lane can easily result in a collision with oncoming traffic. Traffic going the other way does not have a wide right side shoulder either, so they can’t move over to avoid an obstacle in their lane of travel.
Mexico’s two lane highways are designed to facilitate transportation, but they are not designed for high speeds. Keeping the speed down will help assure you have a safe and trouble free trip.
A note on fuel availability. As Mexico’s economy expands, so have the number of vehicles on the road, and so have the number of filling stations needed to serve the motoring public. As a result, with good planning, you will usually find a fuel stop within range of your rig. We all know that motorhomes and tow vehicles consume a lot of fuel. We outfitted our pickup with a replacement 46 gallon fuel tank that gives us much greater range. On a recent trip, not towing, we drove from Guerro Negro, Baja California South to Yuma, Arizona (by way of Gonzaga Bay/San Felipe/Mexicali) without having to stop for fuel.
Shipping an RV to North America
Some customers shipped their RV from outside of North America, i.e., Europe, Japan, Korea, and Australia directly to a Mexican port, or to the U.S. and then drive into Mexico.
If you are bringing your RV from outside of North America you may not find the Make and Model of your vehicle on our drop down list of motorhomes, camper vans, and travel trailers/caravans. This will prevent you from obtaining physical damage coverage (collision damage, fire, windstorm, flood, theft, and more).
If you wish to have physical damage coverage for your RV and do not see your RV on the drop down list, please send us an email asking us to add your vehicle to the list. Please include the Make, Model, and year of your RV. Please send the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are other considerations to RVing in Mexico . . . water, electricity, RV parks, etc., which we do not touch on here. Our objective here is to provide information about insurance and driving conditions that you may not find elsewhere. We hope this is helpful as you plan your Mexico RV adventure.