Buyers Guide: Mexican Boat Insurance Online

Planning a Mexico adventure and want to bring your boat along? Liability insurance is mandatory for boats and you will also need a Temporary Import Permit for watercraft entering Mexico. Luckily, the process is straightforward and the permit lasts for a long time with the potential for an extension that may outlive the boat the itself.

When shopping for Mexican boat insurance online, you will encounter three primary types of coverage: Liability, Hull Coverage and Comprehensive. We will dive into the details of each option and also outline the process for crossing the border and completing the legal requirements to bring your watercraft into Mexico.

How to Enter Mexico with a Boat

You can enter Mexico with pretty much any watercraft but everything 15-feet or longer requires a Temporary Import Permit. Inflatable watercraft 14-feet long or less are allowed without the permit as are human powered or motorized watercraft like jet skis and small boats at 14-feet or less. For folks fishing near shore on calm waters, taking a small watercraft like a kayak or smaller boat can save some hassle.

For all vessels 15-feet or longer, here’s what you need to obtain a TIP:

  • Passport
  • FMM – Your personal tourist visa
  • Boat registration and title
  • Trailer registration and title
  • Serial #
  • Letter of permission from lienholder if you have a note on the boat

The TIP is obtained at the border and you can also get your FMM at the same time. You must use a border crossing with a Banjercito office where they can process your TIP in person. You also have the option to do some of this online but we recommend completing everything at the border to avoid online scams.

Obtaining Your TIP (temporary import permit) for the boat and trailer

When you reach the border crossing, the first step required is to obtain your FMM tourist visa at the immigration office. Without your FMM, you cannot cross the border or register the boat. FMM visas are available for duration ranging from one week to six months. You are not guaranteed to receive the maximum amount of time but always ask for more days than expected when driving to account for delays.

If you are entering and only traveling in Baja and/or Sonora, your vehicle does not need a Temporary Import Permit. Traveling outside of these areas means your vehicle does need a TIP (and your boat). The boat requires a TIP regardless of where you cross the border and travel.

At the banjercito office, present your boat and trailer registration/titles along with the serial number for the boat. They will check your passport against the documents and charge your credit card for a 10-year TIP. The fee is usually $45 to $55 USD with some fluctuation based on exchange rates. You can leave and re-enter Mexico on the same TIP without any additional paperwork. If you live near the border and cross frequently, this is a major convenience.

After your TIP is issued, the boat is legal to cross into Mexico. At this point, you want to make sure it’s insured on the road (on your vehicle policy) and also insured in the water (separate watercraft policy).

Choosing a Border Crossing while Towing Your Watercraft

Not all border crossings are the same and it pays to really know which ones are best for crossing with a boat. You are looking for borders with space, ample parking and a banjercito office available. A good strategy is to research RV friendly border crossings as they typically check all of these boxes.

Many boaters are entering Baja and it’s good to understand that the Baja peninsula does not require vehicle TIP permits. There are still Bancercito offices at many (but not all) of the crossings however. In Baja, Tecate offers a mellow crossing but parking is limited. It’s not great for large watercraft but smaller boats can park on the USA side, do all of the paperwork and pass through inspection.

Mexicali (Calexico East) offers a good option for boats and it places you on Highway 5 south. This is a direct route on great pavement to the Sea of Cortez. If you want to fish the north section of Pacific Coastline, Otay Mesa is a more direct route but anyone wanting to hit the east side or make miles south to the junction with Highway 1 will want to pursue this route.

Other friendly crossings include Lukeville which places you course to reach the Sea of Cortez on the eastern shores at Puerto Penasco. Eagle Pass and Piedras Negras are spacious crossings in Texas for boats driving to the Gulf or Yucatan Peninsula. You will find plenty of options for border crossings but these are a few of the easiest for towing and general logistics.

Insurance Requirements for Watercraft in Mexico

Liability Coverage is Mandatory for Boats in Mexico

You made it across the border and have a TIP for your boat that is good for 10-years. Now it’s time to remain legal and protected with the appropriate insurance policy.

These are your options for coverage on and off the water:

Coverage on the road – While you tow down the road, coverage is obtained through your auto policy (which is also mandatory). When you purchase an auto policy, sometimes the coverage automatically extends to towed units. You should still add the boat and trailer to the policy so they are listed and have the same levels of coverage as your vehicle.

Mexican Liability Watercraft Coverage – When your boat hits the water, it requires watercraft coverage. Third party liability is the minimum legal requirement and most common level of coverage obtained. The policies we offer have three levels liability covering:

  • Bodily injury per person
  • Bodily injury per accident
  • Property damage per accident

The policies are available for sail boats, power boats, yachts and personal watercraft. Boaters can purchase by the day or opt for six month or annual policies.

Full Coverage for Watercraft in Mexico – Coverage for the hull, theft, vandalism, damage incurred in hurricanes and more are available. More expensive yachts and high value watercraft tend to pursue higher levels of coverage than your average fishing boat.

Finding underwriters for unique policies of this nature is more difficult. If you desire coverage beyond the liability policies we issue, please reach out for custom Mexican watercraft insurance options.