This article is from the July 1999 The Mexico File
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A Reader Reports
I noticed in the classified
section you mention Vagabundos del Mar auto insurance. I would like to caution
you about this car insurance and perhaps you may want to pull your listing for
The former carrier they had
went bankrupt and left many people in the lurch (ourselves included) in Mexico.
Yes, the price was good – in fact, perhaps too good. They were 1/3 the cost of
the reputable Sanborn’s (McAllen, Texas). They sent us a form letter in March
stating that the company was bankrupt and they would “try” to give people a
two-week window to get back to the border.
Supposedly now Vagabundos is
offering another Mexican carrier, but this little lesson was good enough for us.
Don’t always go with the cheapest price. Also, who knows if this next carrier
they have will pay should someone have an accident. I would be very wary.
Unfortunately, at our
bookstore, we really talked up Vagabundos and I feel responsible for any one I
told about their “great pricing.” I am sure that their books and maps are
still wonderful – but as far as Mexico auto insurance, not so sure. After
living in Mexico for a couple of years now, I strongly urge your readers to go
with the tried and true Sanborn’s. Why take chances – in Mexico, no less?
(Editor’s Note: We thank Jeanine for this information. We tried to contact Vagabundos to see how they would respond to this – but they failed to respond. We have deleted their advertisement from our Classified Ads. If you have had any problems with insurance plans in Mexico, please let us know. D.S.)
Vagabundos Del Mar Responds
(Editor’s Note: Jeanine Kitchel reported in the July 1999 issue of The Mexico File that the car insurance carrier used by Vagabundos Del Mar Boat and Travel Club had gone bankrupt. We contacted Fred Jones at Vagabundos and asked for an explanation. This is his response. We have heard many good reports over the years about the travel services offered by Vagabundos Del Mar, and we appreciate the explanation offered by Fred Jones. Vagabundos can be reached at 190 Main Street, Rio Vista, CA 94571; 707-374-5511 or 800-474-2252; fax: 707-374-6843.)
Thanks for the opportunity
to respond to Jeanine Kitchel’s letter about our insurance problem. It’s
certainly logical on the surface to hold the Vagabundos responsible for the
company’s collapse and I am not trying to make excuses when I explain the
Mexican insurance companies
cannot do business in California, where we are headquartered, unless they go
through a Surplus Lines Broker. In insurance jargon, Mexican companies are
“non-admitted carriers.” The Vagabundos are not Surplus Lines Brokers and
cannot deal directly with Mexican insurance companies. So, we have to deal with
someone who has such a license.
Since 1972 we have been
dealing with Oscar Padilla Mexican Insurance. He makes the arrangements with the
Mexican companies. He has provided us with programs with about five separate
companies over the years and we have relied on his judgment in selecting those
companies. The last one failed due to circumstances in Mexico which neither
Padilla nor Vagabundos were aware of until it happened. As soon as we found out
we immediately stopped selling it and sent an Advisory Notice to every member
and posted it on our website advising them what to do.
Padilla did the best he
could for the people with policies by paying claims as long as he could. In
regard to our present insurance through Ada Vis Global Mexican Insurance
Services, my wife Gloria and I inadvertently put it to the test by having a
substantial claim in June. The company responded quickly and effectively and to
our complete satisfaction.
Vice President/General Manager