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Before You Go

Mexican Citizens and U.S. Plated Vehicles

Mexico has harsh laws when it comes to its citizens driving foreign vehicles within its borders or across the border. The rules surprise the average U.S. citizen (and Mexican citizens not familiar with the law) and can make a huge dent in your pocketbook, or worse, you could lose your vehicle permanently.

There are three reasons why you shouldn't allow a Mexican citizen to drive your U.S. plated vehicle,unless you, as a U.S. citizen, are in the vehicle too.
Reason #1: Mexican Insurance

Check to be sure your Mexican insurance company will cover Mexican licensed drivers. Some do and some do not. Mexican insurance is a specific insurance program for tourists and visitors.

Baja Bound's policies, underwritten by HDI Seguros and Chubb Seguros, do allow Mexican licensed drivers, but the primary driver listed on the policy must be a U.S. citizen.

Important: Although some Mexican policies do cover Mexican licensed drivers, it is important that a U.S. citizen is still present in the vehicle. The Mexican authorities in Northern Baja have been cracking down on Mexican citizens driving U.S. plated vehicles without a U.S. citizen inside the vehicle. Vehicles have been confiscated and insurance does not cover this risk.

Reason #2: Mexican Customs Law

The most surprising reason is in regards to Mexican customs law. As is common knowledge, a U.S. citizen may freely cross into Baja with a U.S. plated vehicle. However, if a Mexican citizen crosses into Mexico with a U.S. plated vehicle and there is no U.S. citizen in the vehicle, there is a chance that Mexican customs officials will notice and send the Mexican citizen to secondary inspection. Upon checking documentation, if the Mexican citizen does not present U.S. documentation, the vehicle will be permanently confiscated by Mexican customs with very little chance of recovering it. In addition, the Mexican citizen will incur a huge fine of 80% of the vehicle's value. This fine must be paid or it will be on the Mexican citizen's record.

This may sound unbelievable, but it happens. A look into Mexican customs law helps one understand how the situation is viewed by Mexican customs and the reason behind the fine. When a Mexican citizen drives into Mexican territory with a U.S. vehicle and no U.S. citizen in the vehicle, Mexican customs sees this as attempting to smuggle the vehicle into the country. Since the vehicle is viewed as "contraband" it will be confiscated just like they would confiscate any other type of contraband. Being that it is illegal to bring contraband into the country, the offender will have to pay a fine. In the case of the vehicle, it will be 80% of the vehicle's value.

Important considerations:

  • Confiscated vehicles are permanently placed in a gated and secured lot and will not be removed. Once the vehicle has been confiscated and paperwork completed, there is almost no chance of recovering it.
  • Mexican lawyers have very little influence. A Mexican lawyer may be hired, but unfortunately the way the law is written, the chances of recovery are slim to none.
  • Mexican insurance policies do not cover this risk as it is considered an illegal introduction of the vehicle into Mexico.
Reason #3: Other Mexican Authorities

Mexican authorities, such as transit authorities can impound a U.S. vehicle driven by a Mexican citizen without a U.S. citizen present. If this happens, you may get the vehicle back by having the owner present himself with the vehicle title before the authorities.

4.8 81 Reviews
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    Jose Paez
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    Had a great experience getting insurance at Baja Bound, before I always stoped at the border to purchase my insurance, not anymore. By the...

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    Stefano Pensa
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    I talked with Yara and she was extremely helpful. She took the time to explain the different options available to me and I was able to get...

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    JUSTINE SERRANO
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    I purchased insurance through them & CHUBB for our trip to San Felipe. Unfortunately, we had to cancel due to our vehicle having an oil...

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    Christian Minor
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    Team were on point, provided inside information, prices were great and they had my proposal already in the system when I called back....

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    Joey Digiovanni
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    Easy to work with 😉. Always courteous and helpful

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    George
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    Excellent customer service

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    Kellye Pummill
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    Fast and easy!

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    robert kepper
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    They are very good . There website  doesn't show you need a title to bring  a  vehicle across the border.I was stopped and told I had to...

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    Jennifer Toups
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    Baja Bound is and has been my go to Mexico insurance company.  The website is extremely easy to use, keeps all your info for a quick...

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    Cesar Lopez
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    Very convenient,  great price !!

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    Louis Schneidman
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    I had an awesome experience with Baja Bound.  Family owned and highly personal, top notch customer service.  I have total peace of mind...

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    Phil Noble
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    If you’re looking for Mexican Insurance that you can trust and feel good about while traveling in Mexico, you’ve found the right place....

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    Jeff Bunker
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    Great coverage options . Price buy and print policy , very quick and easy , highly recommend them when driving in Mexico

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    Burrell DeVine
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    Easy to navigate and very competitively priced! I had to call in and add an additional day, they couldn't have been any more pleasant to...

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    Nereyda Torres
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    Me gusta la asuguranza porque la puedes comprar por un dia y te asegura en Mexico por el tiempo que vas ya sea hasta por mes (Translated...

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    james whitmer
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    Best insurance I've had so far

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    Rail1riders
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    Quick, easy, well designed website and not just for Baja. Good rates for temporal residente gringos. We’re not living in Jalisco. Printed...

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    Matt B
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    I always use Baja Bound to source my insurance while traveling to Mexico.  Fortunately, I have not had to file any claims. I do appreciate...

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    Refugio I. Rochin
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    Excellent online and by direct phone. Spanish and English with proven response to questions. Website is very informative about driving in...

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    Kelly Carney
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    Yara is very helpful and explains everything. Love working with companies like this.

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    Slumdog Gump
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    Changed some money. Good rate and friendly people.

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    Jeff G
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    Went down to TJ June 11 2020 No problems going into TJ but the way back was a ordeal 6 hours in line to get back into the USA  but no...

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    don letson
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    Great renewal process, if only south Dakota would do the same for car registration.

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    len buckholtz
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    SIMPLE, STRAIGHTFORWARD. OLD GUYS LIKE THAT. WILL DEFINITELY USE IN 6 MONTHS IF STILL RUNNING AROUND THE WILDS OF BAJA.

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    Susana Judd
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    Easy, quick and fair prices. Easy to deal with if needed.

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    Seismic Waterfinder
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    Very excellent service, needed insurance for Mexico, price was fair. The custumer service rep was Yara

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    Nicolas Dervé
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    Very good ans very fast. We hope all will ben good if we need it.

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    Blake Glassco
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    I will never drive south of the border without Baja Bound in my center console. I was in an accident a couple hours south of Ensenada and...

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    JohnPaul Gemelli
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    Baja Bound could not have made it an easier ... also, I made a mistake and called them having to leave a message ... but, they called back...

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    Jeff Brandt
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    so far so good, however I have read good things about them