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Central America and Mexico Topics specific to Central America and Mexico only.
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  #1  
Old 12 Aug 2014
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Any advice please

I am planning on coming to america early 2015 from the UK to buy a bike and tour south and north america. Can anyone offer me some advice on buying and insuring a motorcycle in the states.
If I purchase a bike from a dealer can they sort the insurance out for me as well?
Thanks Martin
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  #2  
Old 13 Aug 2014
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Each state in the US has their own rules regarding vehicle ownership. I own my vehicles through a Montana Limited Liability Company, but that is going a bit extreme for a motorbike.

On insurance, some US states have mandatory liability insurance requirements but no uniformity. Comprehensive insurance for your bike is mostly up to you and many riders don't bother because it can be very expensive, especially south of the border.

Mexico has its own liability insurance that should be taken out before you cross the border. Three or four central American countries also have their own mandatory insurances that you can buy at the border. Others - most of S America, have mandatory liability insurance but it is provided by private countries mostly at or near the border. Possible to get a single policy that covers groups of countries such as Chile, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil and there is at least one US based insurer that will cover all countries (but you still have to pay individually for the four or five countries that handle their own.

Then there is Photoshop Insurance Company which has an allied company called Photoshop Vehicle Registration and Title papers, but only stupid people go to those companies.
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  #3  
Old 22 Aug 2014
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony LEE View Post
Then there is Photoshop Insurance Company which has an allied company called Photoshop Vehicle Registration and Title papers, but only stupid people go to those companies.
Probably the single best piece of advice on this part of the HUBB in a long time. Well said, Tony.
Get caught with falsified docs these days and your ability to resolve your situation will likely escalate out your range. Having to get a lawyer will complicate things. Loss of your mode of transportation is only the where the fun starts.
Same goes for gringos that think they can simply pay their way with bribes out of any situation. Your resources will take an overly large hit because they know you have no clue what you are doing or getting into.
Stay legal, stay legit, respect the fact that nobody gives a damn where you are from because you are in their country and subject to their laws and not your country and your laws.
Listen to Tony's advice on the photoshop route.
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  #4  
Old 22 Aug 2014
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However, in the real world, especially for those who buy their vehicles from other foreigners in South America, it is sometimes necessary to stretch things a little so as to get insurance coverage from where you take possession of the vehicle until you get to the border. Shouldn't apply to the OP though as he will be starting from scratch.
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  #5  
Old 22 Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by MikeMike View Post
Probably the single best piece of advice on this part of the HUBB in a long time. Well said, Tony.
Get caught with falsified docs these days and your ability to resolve your situation will likely escalate out your range. Having to get a lawyer will complicate things. Loss of your mode of transportation is only the where the fun starts.
Same goes for gringos that think they can simply pay their way with bribes out of any situation. Your resources will take an overly large hit because they know you have no clue what you are doing or getting into.
Stay legal, stay legit, respect the fact that nobody gives a damn where you are from because you are in their country and subject to their laws and not your country and your laws.
Listen to Tony's advice on the photoshop route.
Mike,
What is your estimate of how many Mexican drivers actually have, current, legal insurance? Is it even required in Mexico?
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  #6  
Old 22 Aug 2014
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Originally Posted by Redwineracing View Post
I am planning on coming to america early 2015 from the UK to buy a bike and tour south and north america. Can anyone offer me some advice on buying and insuring a motorcycle in the states.
If I purchase a bike from a dealer can they sort the insurance out for me as well?
Thanks Martin
As the moderators here will tell you ... there are many threads on HUBB detailing steps for buying a bike in the USA. Totally doable.

As a foreigner you will pay a bit more than a national for short term auto insurance .. but it's doable, especially if you buy from a dealer, who can arrange insurance on the spot for 30, 60, 90 days or more.

Decide if you want to buy used or new, from a private party or from a dealer. It's not too hard in most US States. Read up on state by state details or read reports from those who've done this.

Be aware, once out of USA, NO US based Auto/Bike insurance is valid. Some countries require insurance, some don't. Buying basic liability insurance is always a good idea no matter what.

In many countries in Cent. Am. insurance is sold on the spot at the border.
Once again, varies country to country. NO company sells insurance that covers ALL countries, AFAIK.
Good luck! Safe Travels
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  #7  
Old 23 Aug 2014
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In Central America it is compulsory to have liability insurance in Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and these 3 countries sell it right at the customs terminal where you enter.
It is not touted as required for Guatemala , Honduras and Panama and it is not readily sold to foreigners, very difficult to locate once in the country. Buy it before you set foot there.
SANBORNS Insurance , the Mexico specialists, has an office in Brownsville which is their ONLY representative who will arrange insurance for Central America AND BEYOND . They can get it for you but it is not as quick as getting Mexico insurance and it gets quite expensive.
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  #8  
Old 23 Aug 2014
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Isurance is required in MX

Quote:
Originally Posted by mollydog View Post
Mike,
What is your estimate of how many Mexican drivers actually have, current, legal insurance? Is it even required in Mexico?
Answering part of your question for MikeMike, liability insurance for your motorcycle is required in Mexico. Wasn't always the case, but it is now.
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  #9  
Old 23 Aug 2014
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Well, partially true. If you plan on riding on any federal road, highway, whatever, you are obligated by law to be carrying insurance. However, there are exceptions to this with state roads, things can vary state to state. A lot.
Having said that, it is very likely that if you checked people using federal highways, probably fewer than 3/4's will have valid insurance.
So why carry insurance if even residents of the country don't?
How important is it for you to continue on your trip hassle free and not having problems? How important is it for you to not have to risk hiring an attorney in a country where you likely are not fluent enough in the language to even begin to understand legal terminology not to mention the legal system?
Personally, since I live here and ride here and have done so for more than two decades, I carry everything I need by law, my insurance also has my medical policy, I enjoy the amparo I will have when I need it. And if you have to google "amparo" just buy the insurance, because you don't know the first thing about the legal system here.
Most of all, I carry insurance to also protect the people I am riding with. I don't ride with uninsured riders, the hassle is not worth it. If you have ever had to contact any authorities here for an accident, especially one with injuries, you do not want the added headaches of having to deal with things yourself and not with the immediate assistance of a good lawyer.
If I damage someone's property, I pay. But if a visiting rider or a local rider without insurance damages my property, I have to sue. See the problem?
Not worth the hassle.
Importantly, there has been some controversy about whether or not the new much higher liability award limits are valid, or have been put to the test legally, and certain agencies in the US are claiming you don't need to respect the new higher liability award limits when you buy insurance. My take on this is...why risk it and become the first example? The new liability award limits are much higher than before, but do you have the financial resources to pay them?
You might be thinking how much damage can you do with your bike? Well, think of a scenario where you have been found to be at fault for a car with a family inside it having an accident with injuries or death. Don't think about whether you are guilty or not, think about if you have been found to be at fault by the investigating authority. Can you get yourself out of the legal maze you will find yourself in? Or will you need bonafide professional help? If you have ever seen the Mexican "justice" system "at work", you will know what I mean. And forget calling your embassy. Just ask a currently jailed US Marine how good the list of attorneys was for him.
Bottom line, the choice is yours. I choose to be legal and have the peace of mind. But then again, I ride here much more than any visitor ever will.
My bike is my transportation.
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  #10  
Old 24 Aug 2014
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Quote:
Having said that, it is very likely that if you checked people using federal highways, probably fewer than 3/4's will have valid insurance.
So why carry insurance if even residents of the country don't?
Problem in Mexico - and some other countries - is if you do have an accident and can't produce documentation showing insurance and legal cover, you may spend some time in prison waiting for it to be resolved.In some countries it is illegal to move a vehicle that has been involved in an accident until the police have dealt with it so sneaking away is probably not an option because there will always be eyewitnesses to stop you. In Morocco we sat on a desert road for two hours while two taxi drivers argued over a minor scrape going around a blind corner and they was no way they were going to move even a foot (which was all we needed to get past) until the police turned up.

If countries refused to let you cross the border until you purchased liability insurance, there would never be any problems, but most don't care because it is a private matter between you and your insurer or the one you injure (or as is often the case, a good way for the police to extract some pocket money). Mexico apparently never asks for proof of insurance - motorhomers anyway - but you would be silly not to take it out..
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  #11  
Old 24 Aug 2014
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Thanks guys but has to be said there is no way I plan on going anywhere without the proper paperwork. I have found a dealer in orlando that is going to help me with an addres for the registration of the bike and insurance
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  #12  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Originally Posted by Redwineracing View Post
I have found a dealer in orlando that is going to help me with an addres for the registration of the bike and insurance
Awesome. Have a great ride!!!
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  #13  
Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Originally Posted by Sjoerd Bakker View Post
In Central America it is compulsory to have liability insurance in Belize, Nicaragua and Costa Rica and these 3 countries sell it right at the customs terminal where you enter.
It is not touted as required for Guatemala , Honduras and Panama and it is not readily sold to foreigners, very difficult to locate once in the country. Buy it before you set foot there.
SANBORNS Insurance , the Mexico specialists, has an office in Brownsville which is their ONLY representative who will arrange insurance for Central America AND BEYOND . They can get it for you but it is not as quick as getting Mexico insurance and it gets quite expensive.
Insurance has been compulsory in Panama for about 3 years, $15/month available at the border
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