Why do I need to have insurance for my car when I cross the border into the USA?
In the USA, The US Department of Transportation (USDOT) http://www.dot.gov/ is responsible to ensure a fast, safe, efficient, and accessible and
transportation system that meets the nation's vital national interests
and enhances the quality of life. The Federal Motor Carrier
Administration http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/ that:
Develops and enforces data-driven regulations that balance motor carrier (truck and bus companies) safety with efficiency;
Harnesses safety information systems to focus on higher risk carriers in enforcing the safety regulations;
Targets educational messages to carriers, commercial drivers, and the public; and
Partners with stakeholders including Federal, State, and local
enforcement agencies, the motor carrier industry, safety groups, and
on efforts to reduce bus and truck-related crashes.
If you have specific questions, http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/faq is an excellent resource for answers.
transiting of commercial vehicles is federally regulated and the
minimum requirements for insurance are the same for all states. All
vehicles must have the proper DOT registration (see http://www.dot.gov/ ) and the minimum statutory limits of insurance for automobile liability.
limits apply per type of vehicle, and, in some instances, according to
the materials being transported. The minimum required limits for
transportation of Non-Hazardous (nonHaz) materials are:
may be other requirements, and you can find out specifically by
visiting the DOT/FMCSA sites indicated previously. Additionally, your
agent can be of assistance in reo\solving any questions you may have.
The owner of the commercial vehicle is directly responsible to
ascertain that the vehicle is in full compliance of USDOT/FMCSA statutes and regulations.
What is the MCS-90?
an endorsement that must be attached to commercial auto liability
policy of certain regulated motor carriers to ensure that federally
coverage (e.g., required liability limits and environmental restitution
coverage) is in place. The endorsement does not actually provide
insurance except on a reimbursement basis.
For more detailed information, visit http://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/m/mcs-90-endorsement.aspx .
MCS-90 is proof of Financial Responsibility; specifically, the Act
requires that a motor carrier's motor vehicle "has in effect the
minimum levels of
minimum responsibility" and that proof
of that required financial responsibility be maintained at the motor
carrier's place of business. It is important
to note that
the attachment of the MCS-90 to the motor carrier's commercial
automobile policy does not necessarily mean that the motor carrier has
with the minimum level of financial responsibility requirements. It is
important to note, therefore, that it is the motor carrier's
not the responsibility of the insurance company, to determine its required limits of liability.
You should consult your insurance agent if there are any questions or doubts regarding compliance with MCS-90.
How do I make sure I am purchasing valid coverage and proper services?
insurance is the same as buying any other service, and must be
purchased carefully. Commercial vehicles operating in the USA
comply with federal statutory and regulatory
requirements, and the limits of insurance are comparative high.
The consumer must take precaution to
that expenditures provide the value-added expected. Principally, in
buying insurance, a person needs to take three basic questions
The insurance agent selling the coverage:
Insurance of commercial vehicles transiting in the USA should
only be purchased through properly
agents. The agent is your first line of service, and you must insure he
will provide the assistance and support you may need.
You must take into account:
Is he a licensed agent?
Does he have the proper knowledge and experience to attend to your needs?
Does he have a properly equipped and staff office in your community to provide services?
In addition, most important: 4) is he recommended by others in the community?
The insurance company providing the
coverage. First of all, because you are purchasing high limits of
insurance, and the coverage must
comply with federal
statutes and regulations, you must ascertain that the insurance company
issuing your policy is a properly admitted and licensed
in the USA; further, you must be certain that the company has a
sufficient "rating" from one of the rating bureaus. You should strive
have an insurer be no less than an A- rated company.
Make certain you know the name of the company, and that its name and
contact data, is included in the policy or
certificate of insurance you purchase. If the policy or certificate
does not include the name of an insurance
company in the
USA, you should not purchase the product, as it is probably not valid.
If you wish to make certain, obtain the name of the insurance
and go to the insurance commissioner's website (they all have Spanish
Versions) and verify that the company is properly licensed to sell
and provide services. If you are not certain, do not purchase and
require your agent to either provide more detailed information, or
another insurance agent.
Carefully review the insurance policy/certificate.
These documents must denote detailed information. Make certain the name
of the company
and its address are plainly shown in the
documents, as well as the phone numbers and email addresses to contact
in case of accident or if you
require other services. The
document should indicate access to toll-free phone numbers both in the
USA and Mexico, and must be signed by an
officer of the insurance company, NOT THE INSURANCE AGENT, BUT THE
INSURANCE COMPANY. If there is no signature by the
do not purchase the policy or certificate. The signature signifies
responsabity in the USA. Do not purchase insurance from people
offer it on the street, or people that fill out the documents by hand; purchase your insurance from a professional agent.
In case of an accident, what must I do?
First, be prepared. No matter how careful you are, car accidents may happen.
Check for Injuries. Check that
everyone involved is not hurt, including yourself. If there are
injuries, call 911 and notify authorities as quickly
possible. If you do not have a cell phone, ask anyone nearby to make
the call for you. If the crash has happened at night, make sure to turn
your hazard lights so others will be able to see you.
If the car's gas tank has been damaged in the crash, exit the vehicle
as soon as possible in the
event the car catches on fire.
If others are injured and unable to move or are unresponsive, do not
move them until help has arrived unless the car
is on fire or there is a danger of that.
Do not Leave the Scene. Do not
drive off and leave the scene of the accident. This will cause more
trouble that can include heavy fines, jail
or having your
license suspended. Stay put until authorities have arrived. Even if you
are not at fault in the accident, you have to tell your side of
the story. Otherwise, you will look less believable and might be charged with causing the accident itself.
Do not volunteer any information or
accept any fault. Give details of the accident from your perspective
only to the police officer or to the
claims person assigned by your insurance company.
Documentation. Have all
documentation that relates to your car and yourself ready for
authorities when they ask for it. This includes proof
your vehicle is insured, a driver's license, and your vehicle
registration. Carry these documents at all times while operating your
vehicle. If you
do not have them, you could get a ticket
even if you are not the one at fault. If for some reason your insurance
is no longer current or your license
or registration has
expired, expect to be ticketed for the infraction and possibly have
your registration pulled. This can happen even if you are not
the one at fault.
Keep Your Composure. Remain calm.
Keeping a cool head will make the situation better for everyone
involved and give you more credibility
when you tell your side of the story to the police
Report the accident immediately.
Regardless of fault, you must report an accident as soon as you
are reasonably able to do so. Your
have detailed information about the different ways you can report the
incident. Prompt reporting with ample information will
assist your insurance company in attending to the claim and in looking out for your interests.
Exchange Information. After the accident,
exchange the following information: name, address, phone number,
insurance company, policy
number, driver license number
and license plate number for the driver and the owner of each vehicle.
If the driver's name is different from the name
insured, establish what the relationship is, take down the name, and
address for each individual. Also make a written description of each
including year, make, model and color — and the exact
location of the collision and how it happened. Finally, be polite but
do not tell the other
drivers or the police that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was.
Photograph and Document the Accident. Use
your camera to document the damage to all the vehicles. Keep in mind
that you want your
photos to show the overall context of
the accident so that you can make your case to a claims adjuster. If
there were witnesses, try to get their
contact information; they may be able to help you if the other drivers dispute your version of what happened.
File An Accident Report. Although law
enforcement officers in many locations may not respond to accidents
unless there are injuries, drivers
should file a state
vehicle accident report, which is available at police stations and
often on the Department of Motor Vehicles Web site as a
downloadable file. A police report will help your insurance companies speed up the claims process
What options do I have if I do not receive the proper services, or am not attended properly?
Call or visit your insurance agent. Your
insurance agent is your first line of service. Call the agent at his
office, or visit personally, and request
grievance you have be handled properly and promptly. This is the
principal reason one must select qualified agents who have a
in your community. Your agent is responsible to ascertain that you are
purchasing the proper coverage, that you are paying a market-
price for that coverage, and that you are being supported in all
functions of service and attention. In most cases, the agent will be
resolve any issue, but If need be, the agent can contact TEXCAZ and help resolve any issue.
Contact US. If, after talking with
your agent you still feel you need resolution to an issue, contact us
by accessing our website and clicking the
Contact Us tab,
or by clicking HERE. A qualified person will contact you via email or
phone, at your option, and help resolve the issue.
Contact Regulators. The TEXCAZ
Transborder auto program is filed with the Texas Department of
Insurance (TDI), and TEXCAZ, the
Program Manager, is a
duly licensed insurance agent in Texas. Should you feel the need to
contact regulators for any reason, you may do so by
going to the TDI website, http://www.tdi.texas.gov/ where you can find detailed information on a wide range of subjects.
Contact Claims Administrators: The claims
administration for our program is managed by Vaccaro and Associates, an
respected claims management organization vaccaroandassociates.com. The phone contact information is found in all of our certificates of insurance, or
you can call 1-866-552-6985 (toll-free).
Questions about Commercial Vehicle insurance