With an accident there are typically various parts of a policy that will be affected, for example physical damage, liability, and legal, so we will go through these separately.
Physical Damage Claims
- An adjustor will be dispatched to the scene of the accident and help you file a report. You will be asked to provide the details of the accident as well as the insurance policy, and a valid driver's license.
- Once this is completed the next step depends on the nature of the accident. If the vehicle is inoperable, the vehicle will be taken to a repair shop to help the company determine whether the vehicle is repairable or a total loss.
- If the vehicle is a total loss, you will be indemnified the market value of the vehicle minus the deductible. The market value of the vehicle will usually be calculated as the Kelly Blue Book private party value.
- If the vehicle is a total loss, one thing you will be asked to do, as a part of the process, is to cancel the vehicle importation permit. This can be difficult, especially if you are far from the border, as it is typically best to cancel the permit at the same entrance where it was obtained. If you have MexVisit they can actually process the cancelation for you.
- In the event of a total loss MexVisit can provide plane tickets home if purchased.
- If the vehicle is repairable then the company will work with the insured and a mechanic to get the vehicle repaired.
- If the vehicle is drivable, then the insured can continue on their journey or return to the US or Canada. Upon returning they will be asked to provide the insurance company with two or three estimates for the repair. The company will then choose which provider they will pay. Remember if a standard policy was purchased then the company will pay a shop rate of $36 to $38 depending on the company. If the extended policy was purchased the shop rate will be increased to a higher limit. This can vary by company, so be sure to understand what is provided by the company you chose.
- In either case (fixed in Mexico or in the US or Canada), the next step is payment. To receive payment you will be required to provide various documents to prove identity, etc. This is where most claims get held up. It is very important to provide the insurance company all required documentation.
- Once documentation is received, payment can usually be released within 2-5 days.
- Together with the check, you will be asked to sign a "finiquito," which states that you are happy with the payment, and which releases the insurance company from further liability. In some cases where additional damage is found, a supplementary claim will be opened to increase the payment.
- Once the "finiquito" is signed the process has been completed.
Liability and Legal CLAIMS
The liability and legal portion of the claim can be really easy or really complicated, depending on the situation.
If it is clear who is at fault then the claim can be adjusted with relative ease. If it is not clear who is at fault then it can get a little stickier
- If fault is unclear then you will be taken before the ministerio publico, or police. The ministerio publico will decide who is at fault and determines losses.
- While fault is being determined you may be placed in a jail holding cell. However, your insurance company adjustor will notify the company's local lawyer and the liability and legal portions of the policy will cover you.
- This is usually done very quickly, as even if you are found at fault, your policy will cover the physical damage bodily injury you are responsible for up to the limits of the policy, and you will have legal representation provided by the policy.
While this may sound scary, trying to circumvent the situation with bribes etc. will only complicate the situation.