Mexico is a top destination for its culture, historical sites, beaches, and all-around good vibes. It’s pretty easy to plan a Mexican vacation, especially if you’re from the USA. Flights are abundant, and there are tons of beautiful and affordable spots to stay across the country.
Depending on the type of trip you book, your budget, and the time of year, you could find yourself paying a bunch of money upfront. If spending a pretty penny before you even depart isn’t enough to make you consider travel insurance in Mexico, I’m here to show you how worthwhile insurance can be.
It’s no fun talking about it, but things can go south very fast when you’re abroad. Whether you lose a bag, break a bone, or pay for a frauded tour booking, there is a lot to lose when you’ve spent a bunch of cash on an exciting trip. But not to worry, a solid travel insurance policy will offer you a financial and medical safety net for your adventure.
Do I Need Travel Insurance for Mexico?
Technically speaking, travel insurance isn’t a legal requirement for traveling to Mexico. That being said, depending on the passport you’re traveling on, you might need an entry visa which will usually require you to purchase medical insurance for Mexico in advance. However, you shouldn’t need to show proof of insurance at any borders.
But the real question is, should you consider getting travel insurance? And the simple answer is a roaring yes! In our opinion, medical insurance is a basic necessity for any trip where you won’t be covered by your resident insurance. If Covid has taught us anything, it’s that things can change in the blink of an eye, and it’s always best to be prepared for the worst-case scenario.
As a developing country, Mexico has a high risk of crime, with some areas having an especially bad reputation for petty theft and carjackings.
There’s also always a risk of tour companies, hotels, and airlines going bankrupt, which is a terribly unsatisfying way to lose your money. Flight cancellations, lost or damaged property, or unexpected illnesses can also cause a huge additional expense when you’re on the road.
Let’s be real; if you can afford to travel at all, you should be able to put a bit of extra cash aside for your physical health and personal property. We recommend getting travel insurance no matter the destination. Pretty much one small claim will always end up paying you out more than you initially spent.
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Healthcare in Mexico
As expected for a destination with so many visitors each year, Mexico’s healthcare is generally pretty good. It is home to some incredible medical training institutions, and a good portion of the country’s doctors have trained in the USA.
Just like other countries, Mexico has a private and public healthcare system. Private healthcare costs are typically more affordable than in the US or Europe, but you could find yourself paying high prices for certain specialized doctors. In fact, because healthcare is a lot cheaper in Mexico, a lot of Americans cross the border for specific care.
For example, if you have no health insurance, a routine doctor’s visit will set you back $40, bloodwork will cost between $50 and $80, and a dental filling will cost around $50. Most of the doctors in Mexico speak fluent English, and some are still willing to perform house visits if necessary.
Mexico introduced the Seguro Popular (Popular Health Insurance) Programme a decade ago, to provide all citizens with no-cost access to preventative healthcare and treatment services. However, if you have medical insurance for Mexico, you’ll likely be sent to private institutions.
As long as you are in a big town or city, you’ll be within close proximity to at least one top-rated hospital. In 2021, Mexico had around 3.4 thousand hospitals with 224 thousand hospital beds. If you run into trouble in a remote region, emergency services might have to be deployed, which are generally efficient.
Crime in Mexico
Crime is definitely a factor to consider when traveling to Mexico. The Global Peace Index (GPI) ranks Mexico among the least peaceful countries in Latin America. While there is a slight risk of homicides, kidnappings, and carjackings, the most common crime you’ll need to look out for are opportunistic robberies, petty thefts, pickpocketing, and drug-related crimes.
Most tourists spend their vacations around the Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Tijuana, Acapulco, and Puerto Vallarta regions. While these areas do unfortunately have a reputation for a drug-related crime, common sense can get you a long way.
Like most developing countries, crime may be prevalent, but it’s usually confined to certain areas such as city centers. Residential suburbs and coastal resorts will almost always be safer than dense big cities.
There are a few places which you should avoid, or take extra special caution while visiting. The following cities and areas have high rates of kidnappings and homicides:
- Ciudad Obregon
- Ciudad Juarez
- Ciudad Victoria
All-in-all, travel insurance in Mexico can be super useful in the case that you get your personal belongings stolen.
Common Issues that Travelers Face in Mexico
It’s no surprise that the tourism landscape has changed in recent years. These are the main concerns that travelers face when they visit Mexico:
- Travel disruptions and canceled flights – The way we travel, where we travel, and how often we travel have changed significantly post Covid. People are more cautious about spending money and are more aware of the fact that trips can quickly get canceled depending on local restrictions.
A couple of years ago, you would never have worried about canceled flights and travel disruptions the way we do today. But alas, it’s one of those things we have to prepare for (both mentally and financially).
In more normal times, around 1% of flights get canceled due to maintenance and other factors. However, that percentage rises as soon as there’s a big storm in the area, and all flights can be canceled without prior warning.
Luckily, Mexico City (the main port of entry for tourists) is high above sea level and far from the ocean, which means it isn’t super susceptible to harsh weather conditions. That being said, the area can get super foggy, which can cause flights to be delayed or canceled altogether.
- Natural disasters and extreme weather – Flights aside, there is always a small risk of getting stuck in extreme weather conditions or even a natural disaster. Geographically, Mexico sits between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, both of which pose threats of tropical storms, hurricanes, and occasional flooding.
On top of its coastal position, Mexico sits along the global Fire Belt, which is an area that accounts for over 80% of the world’s seismic activity. This means that there will always be a small risk of tsunamis, landslides, earthquakes, volcanoes, and meteorological disasters.
An interesting and scary fact – Mexico has an average of 23 thousand earthquakes each year, most falling between 3 and 4.9 on the Richter Scale. But in all reality, if you’re going to worry about a meteor landing near you, you won’t be safe anywhere in the world!
Because of its geographic vulnerability, Mexico is well prepared for natural disasters. The country has advanced mechanisms for risk assessments and reconstruction plans.
- Theft and carjacking – As mentioned, petty theft is common in even the most touristic resort towns. A good tip is never to show those around you that you’re carrying cash, keep your smartphones hidden away while walking on the streets, and avoid dressing too affluently. You heard me – best to leave that diamond ring at home and rock some costume jewelry on your vacation instead.
Being street smart comes into play here too. I learned these tips by living in a developing country myself:
- Stay aware of your surroundings by not listening to music in headphones while you explore certain areas
- Don’t walk alone at night if you can avoid it
- Never get into a cab with two people in it. Ideally, use traceable apps like Uber and Lyft
- Take a wide birth of any sketchy characters
- If you’ve rented a car, stay in gear at red traffic lights at night and check your mirrors whenever you come to a stop
Popular Activities to do in Mexico
While some visit Mexico purely to relax on the pristine beaches or explore ancient temples and historic sites, tons of thrill-seeking tourists go to enjoy outdoor activities and adrenaline-pumping fun, such as:
- Surfing, kitesurfing, windsurfing
- White water rafting
- Diving, snorkeling
- Rock jumping, bungee jumping, skydiving
- Rock climbing.
Of course, this makes having the best travel insurance for Mexico even more necessary. Not only do all of the above activities pose their own health and safety risks, but they also require you to use expensive equipment.
Most of the time, the companies you hire equipment from will have their own private insurance for damages and losses. However, if you’re bringing your own surfboards, diving equipment, or anything else, you should check that your insurance policy covers loss, theft, and damage to those items.
Have we forgotten something?
- Renting a car – Renting a private vehicle is common in Mexico and can be a convenient way to get from point A to B without relying on expensive transfers or dicey public transport. Just like renting a car anywhere else in the world, car rental agencies offer a range of insurance options for you to consider. If you aren’t sure about their policies, rather check that your private insurance provides comprehensive car insurance for travel to Mexico.
You’ll need to make sure that the car itself is protected from damages, as well as any other cars that might be involved in an accident, and of course, the personal injuries of you and your passengers.
Things go wrong on the road ALL THE TIME. Be prepared for what life throws at you.
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What Should My Mexico Travel Insurance Cover?
Your travel insurance should, at the very least, cover the following:
- Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expenses
- Loss or Damage of Luggage and Personal Property
- Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
- Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
- Trip Interruption/ Curtailment and Trip Cancellation
Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expenses
Depending on your health plan, many American health providers offer very little or no health benefits once you’ve crossed the border.
In a subtropical region, you could easily pick up a mosquito-borne disease such as malaria or dengue fever, as well as nasty tummy bugs from iffy water. Not to mention the plethora of things that can go wrong on the road or on one of your adventures.
This is why medical insurance for Mexico will, without a doubt, be the most crucial part of your policy. By nature, there’s no way to anticipate an accident, and health expenses can easily set you back a ton of money. An emergency accident plan will offer 24/7 ER assistance, so you won’t need to worry about getting to the nearest hospital yourself.
Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical insurance should provide coverage of at least $100 000, but most will offer even more.
Loss or Damage of Luggage and Personal Property
Whether the airline loses your bag, you drop your phone in the ocean, or your jewelry gets stolen, your travel insurance should offer your peace of mind that all your personal property will be replaced if lost or damaged.
This is essential for anyone traveling with expensive items such as laptops, camera gear, and jewelry. Replacing a laptop alone can be super-pricey and inconvenient, so imagine replacing an entire lost bag!
Basic plans don’t typically offer more than $1000 worth of cover for lost or damaged property, so you should consider upgrading this coverage if you’re traveling with thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment.
This also includes your car insurance for travel to Mexico. If your rental car gets detailed or stolen altogether, your insurance should be able to cover the costs.
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Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation
Depending on where you are in Mexico, you might be located far away from the nearest medical facility should things go south. Especially if you have any preexisting medical conditions, you’ll need to make sure that your travel insurance will pay for you to return to your home country to receive treatment there.
Take note that your travel medical aid might charge additional premiums if you have underlying medical conditions.
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
Non-medical emergency evacuations are when you have to leave the country due to a sudden and unexpected international crisis. For example, if a war breaks out in Mexico, or there is a catastrophic terror attack or natural disaster, a comprehensive insurance plan should pay for you to be evacuated to your home country.
The recent Covid crisis paints a perfect picture of this, where millions of travelers were either stuck or repatriated to their home countries from across the world. Overnight, flight prices soared as travelers abroad tried to get home, but those with insurance would have been reimbursed for these exorbitantly priced flights.
Trip Interruption/ Curtailment and Trip Cancellation
No matter how much you want to travel, there’s always the chance a personal event will come up and require you to cancel the trip. I’m talking about family issues, the death of a relative, or an apocalyptic virus that brings the world to a halt (sound familiar?). Top travel insurance companies will have policies to reimburse you for the non-refundable costs that would otherwise leave you out of pocket.
Of course, you’ll have to prove to your insurance that you’ve canceled the trip for a serious reason, and not just because you had a change of heart about leaving home.
There are times when your trip will be delayed or canceled by an airline, hotel, or tour company. In this case, you might be left stranded without a place to sleep, requiring you to dig into savings for an extra night of accommodation, your insurance should pull through and pay for these unexpected costs.
What is Not Usually Covered in Travel Insurance?
Above, we’ve mentioned the basic coverage that decent travel insurance should include. However, there are a few extras that you might want to consider. Cheap Mexican insurance might offer you basic medical coverage, but it usually won’t cover the following:
Adventure Sports and Activities
Take note: not all policies cover accidents and injuries caused by adventure sports and adrenaline activities. If you plan to do any adrenaline-related activities, check that your insurance provider covers accidental injuries. If they don’t, make sure you add a top-up or get external insurance for these.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Onto a more morbid topic, accidental death coverage refers to the payout that your next of kin will receive if you happen to die while on your trip. It’s pretty much a form of life insurance that’s only valid while you’re traveling.
Similarly, if you lose a limb or become disabled in any way, dismemberment coverage will pay you out for your personal loss. It doesn’t get much weirder than this, folks.
Gear and Electronic Devices
By nature, gear and electronics can be pricey. For this reason, not all insurance policies cover the loss or damage of devices. Most will offer an additional premium to cover your expensive devices, and if you’re planning to travel with a laptop or camera equipment, it will definitely be worth the extra cash.
What is the Best Travel Insurance for Mexico?
Now, the big question is, which insurance company should you choose? While they might all offer similar benefits, there will be some more affordable policies that will make it inconveniently challenging to get paid out, and others that offer benefits with a ton of small fine print.
Of course, when you do need to claim from your insurance, you’ll have to pay an ‘excess’ fee relative to the claim, which will differ between policies and companies.
Unfortunately, insurance is a complex product, and we can’t tell you if one is better than the other. The best policy and insurance company will depend entirely on your trip, where you’re going, and what you intend to do there.
That doesn’t mean we can’t toot the horn of two of our favorite travel insurance companies, though!
|What is Covered?||World Nomads Standard Plan||World Nomads Explorer Plan||SafetyWing|
|Trip Protection / Cancellation||$2,500||$10,000||$0|
|Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expenses||$100,000||$100,000||$250,000|
|Emergency Evacuation / Repatriation||$300,000||$500,000||$100,000|
|Baggage and Personal Property||$1,000||$3,000||$3,000|
|Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation||$25,000||$25,000||$10,000|
World Nomads travel insurance has been designed by travelers for travelers, with coverage for more than 150 activities as well as emergency medical, lost luggage, trip cancellation and more.
World Nomads provides travel insurance for travelers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
Safetywing specializes in covering long-term travelers such as digital nomads, and they also offer open-ended cover sold on a monthly subscription basis. Take note that their offerings for delayed flights or trip cancellations are limited because they target those embarking on longer trips.
We love this insurance company because they excel in the way of health insurance for travel to Mexico. Things like dental treatments are covered by the basic policy, and kids are even covered for free.
- Trip Protection/Cancellation – $0
- Trip Interruption – $5,000
- Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expenses – $250,000
- Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation – $100,000
- Baggage and Personal Property – $3,000
- Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation – $10,000
How to Choose the Right Mexico Travel Insurance for You
There’s no such thing as the best travel insurance for Mexico. The best option for you will depend entirely on your needs and preferences while on vacation. It’s also one of the few things that you buy, hoping you’ll never need to use it.
The most effective way to work out which scheme to go with is by figuring out how much you’ll be spending on your trip, what equipment you plan to take with you, and what adrenaline activities and sports you’ll be doing.
First and foremost, you’ll need to be able to afford your insurance and the excess costs that come into play when you claim for something. If you’re going on a spa vacation and won’t be risking anything other than a nasty sunburn, cheap Mexican insurance could suffice. However, if you’re planning to explore the ins and outs of the beautiful country (like we expect you are if you’re reading this post), you’ll be better off with a more comprehensive plan.
Final Words on Choosing Travel Insurance for Mexico
Common sense is essential for anyone who plans to travel abroad. Heck, it’s so important it should be taught in school. But being street smart and aware of your surroundings can only get you so far, and we shouldn’t ignore the unfortunate risk of theft and injuries while traveling.
Whether you’re planning to live abroad as a digital nomad for a year or heading off on a two-week adventure with a backpack and a camera, having travel insurance is the best way to cover your back and give you peace of mind on your merry way.
The only thing worse than falling ill away from the comfort of your own home is footing an insane medical bill at the end of your treatment. Hopefully, you won’t need the insurance that you stick your back out to get before you travel. But if the day comes that you do, you’ll be forever grateful to your past responsible self for the smart decision to get health insurance for travel to Mexico.
And for transparency’s sake, please know that some of the links in our content are affiliate links. That means that if you book your accommodation, buy your gear, or sort your insurance through our link, we earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you). That said, we only link to the gear we trust and never recommend services we don’t believe are up to scratch. Again, thank you!