Please note that it is not recommended that you drive for your surgery. Other patients have done so and without incident, but most of them do return to recommend a lot of caution or use of the shuttle. There have also been patients who have been in an accident, so please drive cautiously. For those who choose to drive, we offer the following driving tips for your convenience. READ THE INSURANCE SECTION CAREFULLY!
Tips for Driving yourself to Mexico:
Notice: first and foremost, we strongly advise against driving yourself. It’s not safe simply because driving conditions are hazardous, the highways are isolated and easy to get lost on, and cell phones do not work after crossing the border (after about a mile there are no towers). The shuttle is safer, more reliable, and has many benefits….but mostly ~ it’s just safer. Driving a US car across the border does make you stand out, and a lost tourist or a US tag is a great target for thieves.
Bring a friend– if you drive yourself to the hospital, you ‘must’ have someone with you to drive you home. You will not be allowed to have surgery if you have not brought a guest with you and you are not using the shuttle.
Border crossing: Do not try to cross the border at night (after dark) or try to find the hospital in the dark. Stay on the US side of the border if you arrive late and are driving yourself…and get up early and drive over the next morning. The border opens at 6 am.
Insurance: Mexican law requires you to have Mexico liability insurance for driving your personal vehicle or rental (and permission + insurance from your rental agency if you rent). This is the law, and not doing so could result in confiscation of your rental or personal car; mandatory jail time, and the rental company can make you pay for the car in full if there is an accident or theft. Never take a rental car across the border without a letter of written permission from the rental company.
Even if your insurance company says they cover you into Mexico, this is not the case! The only liability insurance accepted in Mexico is Mexico liability. Mexico insurance costs about $35 per day. If an accident occurs, it is possible that you and your party will be taken directly to jail until the police determine who is at fault. If you do not have insurance or it does not cover accident damage, you will have to pay out of your own pocket immediately for damages or stay in jail until you do pay it. Please do all your research and make sure you have the proper paperwork. You will find a lot of information and be able to purchase your additional insurance here: http://www.sanbornsinsurance.com/
If plan to drive your car, truck, van, SUV, motorcycle or motorhome across the border, even if you will be staying inside the free zone the entire time, you will need to have a valid in-force policy that includes Mexican liability insurance coverage. It does not matter if you are only driving a few feet across the border, you are required to have Mexican liability coverage anywhere inside of Mexico. It is also important to remember that by Mexico law, no U.S. insurer can sell Mexican liability insurance, and the mandatory coverage may only be obtained from an actual Mexican insurance company. So, even if your U.S. insurance includes an extension of physical damage coverage for Mexico, you still must purchase a separate policy that includes liability coverage from a Mexico insurance carrier. If you would like to learn more about what is included in Mexico Liability insurance policy, as well as the other coverage items that are available, please visit the Mexico Insurance Professionals website at: https://www.mexpro.com/mexico/coverage.html The page also has links to an online form where you can get quick and easy comparative quotes for Mexico Tourist Auto Insurance from all “A rated” Mexican Insurance Carriers. You can even purchase and print your policy, right from your own computer, anytime, day or night.
Permission papers: make sure you get a letter of consent from your rental agency to take their car out of the country. Be sure it makes note of the location you are going and the expected return date. You must also do this for your personal car if there is a lien holder (you are still making payments) on it. Call your company and get them to fax your papers asap.
Accidents: The chances of being in a wreck are higher than normal, driving in Mexico is aggressive. If you aren’t familiar with it….an accident could easily happen. Yes, we have had patients get into wrecks before while driving themselves. Fortunately there have been no serious accidents. See the insurance section above.
Registration: Make sure whoever’s name is on the registration of your personal vehicle….or the rental agreement of a rental car…..is the same person who is DRIVING the vehicle at all times. This means it should not be in the patient’s name, because you are not able to drive after surgery.
Maps: Use the instructions, maps, travel tips, etc on this page to download and print (for personal use only) Please be aware that getting lost is almost a certainty. 98% of patients who have attempted this in the daylight have gotten lost, 100% of those who tried it after dark have gotten lost.
Contacts: Be sure to take Dr. Levi and Marcos’ cell numbers, just in case you need them. Also, please know that once you pass the border crossing within the first couple of miles your cell phones will lose service, even if you have international service – there are no towers in the area.
Speed limit: Do the speed limit. Remember, the speed limits change to kilometers so adjust your speed accordingly.
Stop signs: Alto means stop. but it does not actually mean that everyone ‘will’ stop. Never cross an intersection (with or without signs) without stopping first to check for oncoming traffic unless you want to be in a fender bender!
Other: Beware of large potholes and fast drivers once you get off the main highway. The townsfolk are extremely wonderful but they do have different driving styles.