Mexico: Safety and Travel Insurance Advice for Visitors
Whether for an extended vacation or as a long-term home, Mexico remains a very popular destination thanks to its rich culture, friendly people, and breathtaking natural scenery. However, travelers, students, retirees and expatriates alike should be aware of the specific details surrounding Mexico’s health care system as well as particular safety concerns facing foreigners in the country in order to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay.
Preparing – Before You Arrive
Vaccinations Required for Travel to Mexico
Mexico does not require that those entering the country show proof of vaccinations; however, certain vaccines are well-advised for all visitors due to common health concerns in the region, while those traveling to particular areas of Mexico might need additional vaccinations.
Hepatitis A: Vaccination against hepatitis A is recommended for most travelers as this disease can be transmitted via contaminated water or food throughout the country, whether you are planning to stay in a rural village or a luxury resort.
Typhoid: Like hepatitis A, typhoid can be contracted via contaminated water or food throughout the country. Vaccination is recommended for most travelers, particularly those who are planning to stay in a local’s home, those who are visiting rural areas and smaller cities, and those who enjoy sampling local, adventurous dishes.
Hepatitis B: Transmission of hepatitis B is possible via contaminated needles, sexual contact and exposure to bodily fluids (such as blood). Vaccination is recommended for those travelers who are planning on getting a new tattoo or piercing or having a new sexual partner while in Mexico, as well as those who might have a medical procedure while in the country.
Malaria: Avoiding mosquito bites is the best way to prevent malaria. If you’re planning on spending significant time outdoors–and particularly if you plan to camp outdoors–you may need to take a prescription medication before and during your trip in order to prevent malaria.
Rabies: Bats, dogs and other mammals throughout Mexico do carry rabies, but the risk is small for most travelers. However, those who are planning on spending significant amounts of time outdoors (such as hiking), those who are planning a long stay in a remote area and those who will be working around animals are recommended to have their rabies vaccination up-to-date.
Specific Safety Concerns Facing Travelers and Expatriates in Mexico
International news stations often cover stories on the tolls of the drug war in Mexico, and concerns about this potential safety issue often give would-be visitors pause. However, keep in mind that the violence related to the drug war is typically contained to those involved in Mexico’s drug trade and Mexico’s security forces; visitors to the country are rarely targeted. Paying attention to emerging news stories, traveling only during the day and sticking to major highways can help mitigate the risk of falling victim to drug-related violence.
Pickpockets and bag snatchers are more common threats to visitors. Crowded buses and trains, bus stops and terminals, airports, local markets and crowded streets and plazas in large cities are common locations for pickpockets to find their targets. These thieves generally work in teams to distract would-be victims. Staying alert to your surroundings, minimizing the cash and valuables you keep on your person and avoiding having any expensive gadgets in plain view can lessen your risk of pickpocketing.
For the most up-to-date information about specific threats in particular regions, consulting the warnings issued by the U.S. State Department or U.K. Foreign Office can provide more detailed guidance for those about to leave for Mexico and those already in the country.
Related: Hospitals in Mexico and Safest Places to Live in Mexico
Healthcare in Mexico – Mexico’s Health Care System
Mexico provides national health care to its citizens and legal immigrants via a system called Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social. However, temporary travelers and non-permanent residents are not entitled to take advantage of the medical assistance benefits of this system. Furthermore, the country lacks any reciprocal agreements regarding medical care with foreign countries. This means that travelers, students, and expatriates staying in Mexico have two options regarding medical care: pay out of pocket for treatment or obtain a health insurance plan that covers treatment while in Mexico.
Related: Health Insurance for Expatriates and Foreigners in Mexico
International Insurance Options While in Mexico
In order to avoid a potentially large medical bill, travelers and long-term visitors to Mexico are wise to obtain some form of medical insurance that is accepted by healthcare providers in the country. This can take one of several forms.
For residents of the United States and certain other countries, some private health insurance carriers extend their domestic medical coverage to medical treatment abroad. Such coverage typically has strict limits, however; it generally will not cover long visits, and travelers may be dramatically limited in the clinics or hospitals that they can visit. Moreover, a patient is typically required to pay upfront for medical services and wait for reimbursement from their domestic health insurance provider.
Because of the limitations of such coverage, it is often beneficial to purchase travel health insurance that provides more comprehensive medical coverage during your stay. The particular type of travel health insurance that is best depends on the expected length of your visit. Short-term visitors should look into travel health insurance plans, while those planning on residing in Mexico for an extended period should consider an international health insurance plan.
Mexico Travel Medical Insurance Plans:
Travel Insurance for Visitors to Mexico
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Before arriving in Mexico, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide on all things you should know and consider when it comes to health insurance, safety guidelines, and travel medical insurance for short-term, as well as long-term, stays in Mexico. Purchasing a health insurance plan to cover your stay in Mexico will relieve unnecessary health care hassles. Mexico is typically a safe destination for travelers, students, expats, and retirees, but below we’ve outlined what you should be aware of before you plan which tapas place to visit first.
Mexico Travel Medical Insurance Plans
Atlas Travel Medical
- You choose between the basic essentials and more extensive coverage.
- Meets Schengen visa insurance requirements.
- 24/7 worldwide travel and emergency medical assistance.
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Health Care for Expats in Mexico
If you are looking for a Mexican expatriate health insurance, the Cigna Global Plan is a comprehensive annually renewable plan. This plan provides an unlimited amount of coverage annually and benefits include for doctor office visits, prescription drugs, maternity, surgery, hospitalizations, diagnostic testing, lab work, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, etc. This plan will cover you all over the world – including Mexico – and you can choose to include or exclude the US in coverage. Learn more about Mexican Health Insurance Plans for Internationals.
Best Health Insurance for Foreigners in Mexico
If you are looking for a Mexican expatriate health insurance, the Cigna Global Plan is a comprehensive annually renewable plan. This plan provides an unlimited amount of coverage annually and benefits include cover for doctor office visits, prescription drugs, maternity, surgery, hospitalizations, diagnostic testing, lab work, emergency medical evacuation, repatriation, etc. This plan will cover you all over the world – including Mexico – and you can choose to include or exclude the US in coverage. Learn more about international health insurance plans.
Cigna Global Medical Insurance Plan
- Access to Cigna Global’s network of trusted hospitals, clinics, and doctors
- The flexibility to tailor a plan to suit your individual needs
- The convenience and confidence of 24/7/365 customer service
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Knowing what to look for in travel or international health insurance plans is important as well. Ensuring that the insurance company has the proper infrastructure in place to serve travelers is critical. One key component of this is a toll-free number that provides assistance in your home language 24 hours a day. Providing assistance in locating a doctor who speaks English or another language is another point to look into.
Finding Emergency Assistance in Mexico
The primary number for all types of emergencies in Mexico is 911; calling this number will connect you with emergency assistance from the police, fire department or medical professionals as needed.
In certain emergency situations, your home country’s embassy or consulate can provide invaluable assistance. Over 80 countries maintain embassies in Mexico City; here are links to the contact information for some of the largest:
- United States Embassy and Consulates in Mexico
- Canadian Embassy
- British Embassy
- Australian Embassy
Resources for Travelers to Mexico:
- Tropical Medical Bureau – Vaccination Advice
- CDC: Health Information for Travelers to Mexico
- Diplomatic Missions in Mexico
- Lonely Plant Safety Tips for Mexico