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Old 28 Jan 2008
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Central America Insurance

Hi, I just got of the phone with sanborn ins.co. and I was surprised that 1 week of insurance for central america is $ 189 per a week for a 1000cc bike. I can't imagine that all the adventure riders that travel in central america for weeks or months at a time are paying $189 per week .??.
Is central america ( or in my case Guatemala and Belize ) have the same policy as mexico, in an event of an accident they will lock you up until the accident has been resolved due to settling the liability if at fault????
What are most doing about there insurance needs?? BTW I'm only concerned about liability and staying out of jail ....
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Old 29 Jan 2008
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In 2 trips through Central America, I only had insurance for the countries that required it at the border, except for Mexico, which I bought an online policy for. Guatemala I had no insurance for. Belize will require you to buy theirs at the border, and they will check you for it at checkpoints, too. In 2003 it was $9/day (!) for short stays. I was there for 3 days. I have heard of people paying ~$70 for a longer policy, and then getting reimbursed when they didn't use the whole time, but I don't know if I would count on getting my refund. The other CA countries tha required insurance at the border were Nicaragua and Costa Rica, but it was cheap. I recall $12 for a month or something close for both.
Andy Tiegs
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Old 29 Jan 2008
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Moto Insurance in Mexico and Central America

When dealing with Sanborne's, (Brownsville, TX office best bet, El Paso office regualarly quotes ridiculously high prices) make sure you ask for separate Mexico and Central American policies.

Sanborne's will sell you the policy for Mexico cheap, but goes through an underwriter in New York for Central America policies, not including Nicaragua.

No insurance company I know of, will sell you insurance for Nicaraugua, except for the Government held Nicaraguan policies you can buy at the border from a guy or gal with a clip board. These are bare minimum liability policies and dirt cheap.

The rumors about going immediately to jail after any reported accident with bodily injury are in part not rumors. The police on the streets in Mexico and most, probably all, Central American countries are not authorized to determine fault in bodily injury accidents. Everyone is carted off to jail, including the injured, if they are not being hospitalized, and even they are under arrest.

Your minimum liability moto policy serves serves as a "get out of jail free" card, once the representative for the insurance company shows up or verifies by fax or phone to the police you have a valid policy. This may not be true in case of a death by what the local detectives and and/or local judge or political official consider negligible homicide.

Here is the good news, seldom do you go to jail for reported property damage, with or without insurance. The police and courts are too backlogged with bodily injury cases to concern themselves much about property damage, unless it involved the favorite cow, pig, sheep, dog, horse or chicken of the son-in-law, or God forbid the daughter of the "elected" political official in the area. Then it is time to "get out of dodge" fast, call in the calvary or hit the ATM machine heavy.

Here is the bad news, if you do not have the minimum liability policy the same overburdened, back logged court that prevents you from going to jail for property damage, will keep you in jail, until the bodily injury accident is sorted out. This may takes weeks or months. Or, years.

Dead serious here, my experience of living in Mexico and Central America for more than 12 years has taught me to always buy a minimum liability insurance policy for my moto as a "get out of jail free card" in the event of any accident with bodily injury, no matter what the individual country requirements/enforcement are or are not.

It might be interesting to note, that shouting insults can be considered a criminal offense in Mexico and Costa Rica with stiff jail sentences if convicted, imposed after you have been in jail for months or years waiting your day in court.

Eat, drink and be Careful. xfiltrate
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Old 29 Jan 2008
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Insurance needed???

Some might believe the following is not an appropriate post on this Mexico and Central America Insurance thread. Please indulge my transgressions. But, our own civil liability courts (USA) deserve some attention when describing the civil courts of Mexico and Central America, just to keep it all in perspective. And laughing is good.

Ruff’s E-Letter
The Stella Awards

Once in a while I include a “Have We Gone Mad” article
in the newsletter. I don’t usually put them in the E-Letter,
but this one was too good not to share. Enjoy!

For those unfamiliar with these awards, they are named after
81-year-old Stella Liebeck who spilled hot coffee on herself and
successfully sued McDonald's in New Mexico where she bought the
coffee. She took the lid off the coffee and put it between her knees
while she was driving. Who would ever think one could get burned
doing that, right?

These are awards for the most outlandish lawsuits and verdicts in
the U.S.

7th PLACE: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas was awarded $80,000
by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle tripping over a
toddler inside a furniture store. The store owners were
understandably surprised by the verdict, considering the running
toddler was her own son.

6th PLACE: Carl Truman, 19, of Los Angeles, California won $74,000
plus medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a
Honda Accord. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at
the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's

5th PLACE: Terrence Dickson, of Bristol, Pennsylvania, was leaving a
house he had just burglarized by way of the garage. Unfortunately
for Dickson, the automatic garage door opener malfunctioned and he
could not get the garage door to open. Worse, he couldn't re-enter
the house because the door connecting the garage to the house locked
when Dickson pulled it shut. Forced to sit for eight days on a case
of Pepsi and a large bag of dry dog food, he sued the homeowner's
insurance company claiming undue mental anguish. Amazingly, the jury
said the insurance company must pay Dickson $500,000 for his

4th PLACE: Jerry Williams, of Little Rock, Arkansas, garnered 4th
Place in the Stella's when he was awarded $14,500 plus medical
expenses after being bitten on the butt by his next door neighbor's
beagle - even though the beagle was on a chain in its owner's fenced
yard. Williams did not get as much as he asked for because the jury
believed the beagle might have been provoked at the time of the butt
bite because Williams had climbed over the fence into the yard and
repeatedly shot the dog with a pellet gun.

3rd PLACE goes to Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania because a
jury ordered a Philadelphia restaurant to pay her $113,500 after she
slipped on a spilled soft drink and broke her tailbone. The reason
the soft drink was on the floor: Ms. Carson had thrown it at her
boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.

2nd PLACE: Kara Walton, of Claymont, Delaware sued the owner of a
night club in a nearby city because she fell from the bathroom
window to the floor, knocking out her two front teeth. Even though
Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the ladies room window to
avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge, the jury said the night club
had to pay her $12,000, plus dental expenses.

1st PLACE: This year's runaway First Place Stella Award winner was
Mrs. Merv Grazinski, of Oklahoma City, who purchased a new 32-foot
Winnebago motor home. On her first trip home from an OU football
game, having driven onto the freeway, she set the cruise control at
70 mph and calmly left the driver's seat to go to the back of the
Winnebago to make herself a sandwich. Not surprisingly, the motor
home left the freeway crashed and overturned. Also not surprisingly,
Mrs. Grazinski sued Winnebago for not putting in the owner's manual
that she couldn't actually leave the driver's seat while the cruise
control was set. The Oklahoma jury awarded her, are you sitting down,
$1,750,000 PLUS a new motor home. Winnebago actually changed their
manuals as a result of this suit, just in case Mrs. Grazinski has
any relatives who might also buy a motor home.
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Old 2 Feb 2008
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insurance for CA

Priceless list ! The USA is not the only country with some weird cash handout rules though.
A number of years ago somebody in Ontario ,Canada won a substantial whack of dollars after claiming in a court suit against the estate of a person killed in a motorcycle crash that they had been traumatized and were suffering after having watched the accident occur ... and they were not even involved in the accident, just spectating . (don't know if it got reversed in an appeal, but still...)
Andy T is right on with his recommendations.Belize,Costa Rica and Nicaragua demand you buy their liability insurance when you enter , at reasonable prices. Note that the $9 per day you mention is indeed the daily rate but you find that if you stay several days it is much cheaper to buy the policy for a whole week at $3 per day or so.
As for the $189 per WEEK quoted you by Sanborn's , I have no info on current rates but am left wondering if perhaps you asked the wrong question of them. I mean perhaps you told them you wanted insurance for a week and they gave you the numbers. Perhaps if you had asked about insurance of a more economical rate and for a longer period you might, I say might, have been given better numbers since this insurance does diminish in cost for the longer stays and their $30 service fee will stay fixed.
Xfiltrate's concern about separate MX and CA policies is unwarranted, the two can NEVER be covered by a single insurance policy. The CA policies for CA are, as he says , written by some other company in New York , or Hong Kong or London....
It used to be possible to drop in at an insurance office inGuatemala to buy the cover but a few years ago they changed the rules and cut off that option for tourists.
Due to some postings on the HUBB last fall I got wind of the possibility of getting Mexico insurance for several vehicles . This past December I did some on site investigation in Calexico California and happily discovered that some agencies sell what is called a 'Drivers License Policy" which insures the person by placing his name and drivers license number on the policy , NOT the vehicle name ,type and serial number. Furthermore this type of policy is a LOT less ( mucho, mucho menos !!!)
costly than the vehicle nominated policy and you are free ,on different visits to Mexico, to bring different vehicles . With such a DRIVERS LICENSE POLICY I was insured for a WHOLE YEAR ($180) for less than was charged for one month of vehicle nominated insurance ($187). For more detais check out www.mexicoautoins.com
As for Sanborn's , the good folks there can sell you the CA policy over the web but it will take at least a week to get the final papers . If this is too short a notice and you want to be on your way you can still get going and pick up your policy en route from the printout terminal at a ciber cafe. I know, the computer literate have been doing this for a long time but I am not that swift on the computer and it was a novelty for me .Even could FAX it to a cibercafe if you provide the FAX number to them

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 2 Feb 2008 at 18:43.
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Old 3 Feb 2008
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Sjoerd is right

Yes, Mexican and Central American policies are probably 100% of the time handled by different underwriters. I did not know there was a law forbidding an insurance company to cover all qualifying countries under one policy.

Sjoerd is right. I should have been more clear. I should have said Two separate policies with different dates. No sense having the Mexican insurance after you leave Mexico unless you get a smoking deal for a year and plan on riding back through Mexico. No sense being covered for central American countries while you are in Mexico.

The other point I did not make, but should have, is that anything other than bare minimum coverage (coverage required by law), coverage for theft of your bike, vandalism etc is very expensive if available.

I have used Sanborns since the 1970s, and have always managed to find someone at a Sanborn's office who could sell minimum required insurance really cheap. It might be that commissions are paid to the Sanborn agents based on the dollar amount the insured pays for the policy. In other words, the agents are rewarded for selling more expensive policies.

This is just a guess based on communication with agents in the past who have quoted really high prices and upon further investigation based on speaking with someone else in the same office discovered a much less expensive policy was indeed available. xfiltrate
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Old 4 Feb 2008
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no luck

Hi, I called sanborn ( this time the McAllen office ) and they said they don't sell c/a policies and directed me to AIU. com and they said they don't sell policies for motorcycles.
It turns out only the Brownsville office can sell it and I asked again and $189 per a week is the price, it comes with 500K liability and 2K medical, I then asked if I could have a lower liability and drop the medical the she said no, that's the only way I can buy it. i'm thinking of gambling and paying off anybody that I get in an accident with.God forbid.
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Old 12 Feb 2008
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Call Sanborns in Brownsville again

1. Call Sanborn in Brownsville again and say you know they do not sell motorcycle insurance for Central America for motorcycles, (you might get a different agent) but could they give you the number of the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania, Offices 70 Pine Street New York, NY 10270 call that number and say: I know you probably don't sell minimum liability insurance for motorcycles for Central America (add that you will buy the Government offered insurance for Nicaragua at the border) but could they please give you the name and phone number of any insurance company who covers motorcycles in most of the countries of Central America. they will probably know a company who does.

2. Also try AIG WorldSource at 212 770 2806 this is the "claims" department for the United States but it is the only number I have. They will tell you they don't know, but will be able to give you the phone number of an insurance company that does sell motorcycle insurance for most of the countries in Central America. Nobody will cover you in Nicaragua except the Nicaragua Government and it is a dirt cheap policy you can purchase at the border.

3. Ask your local insurance agent to help you find a motorcycle policy for Central America.

4. Add two wheels to your motorcycle, call it a car, and buy an "auto" minimum liability policy for Central America. (just kidding)

5. Ride a horse.

4. Get used to it. xfiltrate
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