Baja is a distinct geographical region in Mexico. Bordered by two oceans, it’s known for the abundant beaches and wild coastlines. Look inland and you will find a pristine desert and mountainous interior. It’s no surprise that with everything offered here, Baja is a paradise for outdoor adventure travel.
Many travelers choose to drive from the United States and Canada, crossing the border in personal vehicles, RV’s and camper vans. As with all of Mexico, insurance is mandatory for your vehicle and motorized crafts.
Defining the Baja Peninsula
It’s worth spending a few minutes to define the Baja Peninsula because it lies in what’s known as the “free zone.” Sonora is also located within the boundaries of this zone as is the general border area. Within the free zone, you are not required to obtain a Temporary Import Permit for your vehicle.
This saves time, paperwork and costs at the border. It does not however mean you are exempt from the insurance requirement. You must purchase liability insurance at a minimum before crossing the border.
Baja has several entry points from the border hubs. San Ysidro is the busiest border crossing and it serves Tijuana. Many travelers use this crossing for quick trips down the Pacific coast. Visiting Rosarito and Ensenada is convenient from this entry point.
Tecate to the east of San Ysidro is a small crossing that delivers you directly to the wine country. It’s often quick and easy but isn’t a great option for big rigs.
The Mexicali border crossings (east and west) are excellent for the direct access to Highway 5 and the Sea of Cortez. Bigger rigs can also cross at these entry points and although Mexicali is busy, it’s not overly difficult to catch the highway which has plenty of space and nice pavement. You can reach San Felipe quickly and really enjoy driving this route.
On the southern end of the peninsula, La Paz is a major hub with an airport, services and a ferry terminal that connects to the mainland. Otherwise, Loreto and Los Cabos serve as the primary city centers.
Difference Between Baja Auto Insurance and the Mainland
We deal with policies that bridge coverage between both the peninsula and mainland. On the quote form however, you will notice a field that differentiates your trip between the two. This is because risk increases as you leave the free zone and enter the mainland.
Your answer to this question may influence the overall policy price. Limiting your trip to Baja and/or Sonora can reduce costs. Obviously, this comes down to the insurers and underwriters but it’s something to understand if you plan a trip that enters the mainland.
Next, you’ll need to consider the type of policy for your trip. Lower value and older vehicles often opt for Liability Only policies in Baja and short drive destinations like Rocky Point. They are more cost effective but also will not cover your vehicle in an accident. It covers the other party and provides you with very necessary legal assistance.
As you enter the mainland, traffic increases and so does the liability for fender benders and collisions. Even for lower value vehicles, full coverage is worth considering.
Regardless of your destination in a newer, unique or high value vehicle or RV, consider a full coverage policy or even add extended coverage to maximize your protection at all times. Having your rig covered is important regardless of the destination.
Other types of rigs that need insurance in Baja
Your primary vehicle definitely needs coverage but you will also have requirements for recreational vehicles, ATV’s, boats, motorcycles and more.
RV and Camper Van Insurance for Baja
If you are towing a recreational unit like a travel trailer or fifth wheel, the liability section of the policy from your primary vehicle extends to towed units. This also applies to boats and ATV’s while being towed. It doesn’t cover them when they hit the water or roads themselves however.
If you’re driving an RV or camper van on the highway or municipal roads, they will require a policy of their own. Perhaps you are towing a vehicle behind the RV. In this case, coverage extends to the towed unit but it’ll need a separate policy when detached and being used.
How ATV, UTV and Watercraft Insurance Works
As mentioned earlier, these units have coverage extended while being towed. For ATV’s and UTV’s, they will need a separate policy while being used on municipal roads. If you only drive off road trails, coverage does not reach these areas. Many Baja visitors ride on town streets and will need a policy for those trips.
Watercraft policies can cover 3rd party liability and hull damage. They don’t take effect until the boat hits the water however. Your primary vehicle policy will cover for 3rd party in-tow.
Should You Add Travel Insurance for Mexico?
After covering your vehicle and toys, consider adding a travel insurance policy. On some of the vehicle policies we sell, you will see an automatic add-on that brings roadside coverage to your policy. It’s not optional and is a great thing to carry!
We also have separate travel policies to cover things like trip cancellation, medevac and medical travel insurance in Mexico. This includes Baja and Sonora. Get in touch to chat about options or go directly through our website portal.