Mexico Tourist Auto Insurance

Q: Why should member agencies use this product?

A: The IIAT/IIG online Mexico tourist auto insurance program enables an agent to offer a wider variety of products to customers without additional investment. Most often agents are sending Mexico tourist auto insurance business to other agents who traditionally have specialized in this market. This is primarily due to the laborious process involved in becoming an authorized agent, meeting production quotas and issuing the policy via an application process with pre-printed forms. The IIAT/IIG system removes these obstacles. The system is paperless except for the policy itself which is printed out on the agent's computer printer. The policy is issued and all accounting and production monitoring is built into the online system, enabling the agency to simply look at its online production report at any time for number of policies sold, gross premium, taxes, fees and commissions earned. This streamlines agency operations and reduces operating costs. The IIAT/IIG system eliminates the need for an application and pre-printed forms entirely. Additionally, direct writers have now entered the Mexico tourist auto insurance market having realized its size and potential.

Q: What is the potential market? How many agents have the product now and market this product?

A: The Mexico Tourism Department estimates that 26 million autos enter Mexico from the U.S. annually. Of these, 14 million proceed to the interior of Mexico. A customer's U.S. insurance is not recognized in Mexico. This product is currently available through thousands of independent agents, primarily close to the U.S./Mexico border; however, many agents now offer this product in markets some distance from the border regions.

Q: What is the member advantage in offering this product?

A: Examples of member advantages would be better rates, lower costs, higher commissions, lower volume commitments, etc. This is one of the most important questions. IIAT/IIG is the only distributor of Mexico tourist auto insurance to offer online, immediate quotes from multiple underwriters plus and issuance of the actual policy.

Q: What does it cost an IIAT member agency to become an authorized agent?

A: There is absolutely no cost involved other than the time it takes the agent to become familiar with simple policy issuance procedures and production tracking features. This can be accomplished in 10-15 minutes.

Q: Who is IIG?

A: International Insurance Group (IIG) was formed in January 2000 by Jim Labelle, CIC, president, to take advantage of the booming Mexico tourist auto insurance market. Prior to forming IIG, Labelle managed a Mexico insurance unit for Arthur J. Gallagher, the world's 4th largest insurance broker. IIG's partner company, Internet Software Designs, George Howington, president, designs, develops and hosts numerous insurance industry-related websites. IIG also operates a website ( that markets U.S. insurance for Mexican nationals visiting the United States.

Floyd Woods, MGA, and marketing director, was general manager of Sanborn's Mexico Insurance for more than four years. In only three years IIG has become the largest MGA specializing in this market, due primarily to IIG's focus on agent relationships, quality products, higher commissions and a simple distribution system.

Q: Is the product endorsed by any other trade association or used by any large companies?

A: Yes, currently the following are using IIG for issuing Mexico tourist auto insurance: Automobile Association of Arizona (, American Family (, Superior Access ( and Market Scout ( A number of MGAs with more than 1,000 agents/producers are also using IIG. The Independent Agents & Brokers of the West is also offering this product . Recently, Independent Insurance Agents magazine named the IIG web site "One of the Top 100 Insurance Websites for 2003." The Insurance Journal (May 19, 2003 Technology Issue) featured a review of IIG and its online capability. It reported how the company is using the latest cutting-edge technology in the distribution of insurance products and how receptive agents are to this technological change.

Q: What are Mexico's entry requirements?

A: The Government of Mexico requires that all U.S. and Canadian citizens present proof of citizenship and photo ID for entry into Mexico. A passport is recommended, but other U.S./Canadian citizenship documents such as a certified copy of a birth certificate, a Naturalization Certificate, a Consular Report of Birth Abroad, or a Certificate of Citizenship are acceptable.

U.S. and Canadian citizens do not require a visa or a tourist card for tourist stays of 72 hours or less within "the border zone," defined as an area between 20 to 30 kilometers of the border with the U.S., depending on the location. U.S. citizens traveling as tourists beyond the border zone or entering Mexico by air must pay a fee to obtain a tourist card, also known as an FMT; available from Mexican consulates, Mexican border crossing points and Mexican tourism offices.

If your declared destination is Central America you will need to obtain a Transmigrant Visa at a Mexican Consulate and use a Customs Broker to get your merchandise through Mexico.

Q: How do I get a tourist permit?

A: Tourist cards are available at immigration offices/booths at the border, at airports or other points of entry.

If you are a citizen of a country other than the U.S. and Canada, check with a Mexican consulate for regulations that may apply to you.

To obtain tourist permit immigration form (FMT), you must present a certified copy of birth certificate or a passport for each individual traveling into the interior of Mexico. The fee is approx. $30 USD* (per person) which must paid in pesos (*Exchange rate is $11.4 Pesos to $1 as of Aug. 1, 2004) at a Mexican bank.

Banjército banks are available to receive tourist permit payments. You can now fill out your vehicle permit online. (This link leads you directly to the form page.) Once you fill out the form, print it and present it to the Banjército official when you get to the Banjército office at the border. This will help expedite your permit process.

Banjército office schedules at the following Texas ports of entry:

Cd. Acuña/Del Río, TX

24 hours all week

Cd. Juárez/El Paso, TX

24 hours all week

Colombia/Laredo, TX

8 a.m. till midnight all week

Gral Rodrigo Guevedo/Harlingen, TX

24 hours all week

Nuevo Laredo/Laredo, TX

24 hours all week

Matamoros/Brownsville, TX

24 hours all week

Miguel Alemán/Roma, TX

24 hours all week

Ojinaga/Presidio, TX 

7:30 a.m. till 9 p.m. Mon-Fri; 
7:30 a.m. till 4 p.m. Sat;
8 a.m. till 4 p.m. Sun.

Piedras Negras/Eagle Pass, TX 
(Located in Allende, Coahuila, 
approx. 45 min. past Piedras Negras)

24 hours all week

Reynosa/Pharr, TX

9 a.m. till 5 p.m. all week

Reynosa/McAllen, TX

24 hours all week

Q: What about business travelers?

A: Upon arrival those traveling on business must complete and submit a form (Form FM3 or FMN 30 days) authorizing the conduct of business, but not employment, for a 30-day period. Travelers entering Mexico for purposes other than tourism or business or for stays longer than 180 days require a visa and must carry a valid U.S. passport anywhere within the country, including the border zone. US citizens planning to work or live in Mexico should apply for the appropriate Mexican visa at the nearest Mexican consulate in the United States.

The government of Mexico strictly regulates the entry of vehicles into Mexico.

It is important for visitors to remember the following steps when crossing the border between the United States and Mexico by automobile. There are no compliance procedures if you are traveling within the Border Zone or Free Trade Zone (including the Baja California Peninsula and the Sonora Free Trade Zone). If you wish to travel past these zones, you will need to adhere to certain procedures. It is important to note that in the case of Baja California even though you can take your vehicle all the way to the end of the peninsula without a vehicle permit (see vehicle importation regulations), you must have a tourist card if you plan to go south of San Quintin.

Tourists wishing to travel beyond the border zone with their car must obtain a temporary import permit.

Q: How do I get a vehicle importation permit?


  1. To acquire a permit, the owner's original Vehicle Title or Registration Receipt is needed.
  2. If the vehicle is financed, is a rental car, is leased, and/or a company car, a notarized letter of permission is required from the lien holder or lending institution.
  3. Valid Driver's License (with photo and same name of title).
  4. Payment of guarantee for the return of the vehicle (approx. $30 USD) by international credit or debit card (AMEX, DC, MC, VISA) forwarded abroad under the importer's name, or by making a guarantee deposit. 
  5. The permit is valid for up to six months. The vehicle may be driven across the border multiple times during the authorized period of the permit. You MUST return the vehicle back to the United States before the 6 months expiration, or high fines may be imposed on you. A receipt will be issued when the permit is cancelled. Failure to turn in your vehicle's permit before the expiration date may result in denial of entry into Mexico on your next trip or fines.
  6. No borrowed cars or borrowed credit cards are accepted. Other persons may drive the car as long as the owner is in the vehicle. Other foreigners with the same “tourist” status as the vehicle owner may drive the vehicle without the owner present in the car.

You can now fill out your vehicle permit onlinePermits also may be purchased at any entry point into Mexico or by calling 800/44-MEXICO.

Once you fill out the form, print it and present it to the Banjército official when you get to the Banjército office at the border crossing of your choice.

*This is subject to change by the Mexican Government without notice.

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For More Information Contact:

Lisa Webb_Headshot-01
Lisa Webb
Director of 
IIAT Advantage Markets

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Donna Biles, CIC
Marketing Operations
Member Services