The Dollars – and Sense – of Retiring in a Mexican Fishing Village
Ellaine and her husband Doug started out as snowbirds, flying from Canada to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, for the winter.
As they spent more time in Mexico, they realized they were taking a risk with their health insurance. Their Canadian plan at that time (years ago) cost about US$120 a month for the two of them, and they were covered for everything in Canada except prescriptions.
But as they got older they thought, what if something happened while in Mexico? So they bought travel insurance. It saved Ellaine a lot of pain and bother – while she was still in Canada.
“I had a tooth break in Canada while we had travel insurance from Novamar. They had it fixed with one of the best dentists in town. The dentist opened up one hour early and fixed my tooth the next morning. That had never happened to us before.”
Years later they retired to Mexico. They built a 6,000-square-foot dream home in Guayabitos, an hour north of Puerto Vallarta.
“In Canada, the cost to build a home these days is $235 per square foot,” Ellaine said. “Here it’s $67 per square foot, and that includes appliances, granite countertops and your furniture.” She said the cost of living was so reasonable in Mexico that she and Doug pay $50 a year in tax on their huge home. “My maid is $18 for seven hours. We spend $300 a month on groceries, including 10 pets. Three dogs and seven cats, all rescued.”
Ellaine and Doug really enjoy watching the storms that brew off the coast.
“We have an ocean view, though we’re not right on the water,” she said. “We turn out the lights and watch storms. Near Vancouver, Canada, there are bed and breakfasts on the coast that charge $750 a night during storm season. The storms we have here are so much better!”
With their permanent change of locale, they knew they needed to change their medical insurance.
“We started out with IMSS, a Mexican medical plan. We had it for maybe two years. Not bad except they don’t speak English, which is a real problem since our Spanish is bad. And they run out of medications often,” Ellaine said.
“We decided we needed something else. We had gotten travel insurance with Novamar, so we tried them. We got an amazing quote of $166 per month. And it covers prescriptions. And it covers us in Canada, where we go back for family events. It’s seamless. We go back and forth and don’t have to think about it.”
Ellaine and Doug are in a tiny fishing village, yet they have access to medical expertise. “We have our family doctor, who charges 350 pesos, or $28, for a visit. You can do that, or you can go to a pharmacy where they have a doctor – no appointment needed – and pay $3.50 to see him. That’s what we generally do.”
The unexpected does happen, however.
“I got typhoid fever, and Novamar arranged payment for the ambulance to take me to Puerto Vallarta, to an American hospital. The room, the attention I got, my own nurse, medication, the doctors all speak English, they were trained in the States! It was amazing, and it was all covered. It would have included an ambulance to take me home as well, but I didn’t need it.”
Ellaine says she appreciates receiving her insurance policies already translated into English. “This is unbelievably good. I don’t have to do Google Translate. There can be a lot lost in Google Translate.”
Novamar also does home and auto insurance.
“Doug had a fender bender yesterday. Novamar contacted the police and the other driver and had the whole thing worked out without our having to do anything but make one phone call.”
Novamar also provides medical tourism coverage.
[Image courtesy of iStock © Yuri]
Novamar Insurance Mexico, MGI Agente de Seguros, S.A. de C.V., is a Mexican insurance brokerage firm specializing in all the insurance needs of the American, Canadian and U.K. community in Mexico. We work with the most established Mexican insurance companies and have designed specific insurance products for this expat and snowbird community based on their unique needs, which are different from the rest of the market in Mexico. Our quotes and policies are in English and Spanish, and we have a 100% English-speaking staff. Novamar Mexico is an affiliate company of Novamar Insurance Group, Inc. a U.S. insurance broker with a combined experience of more than 75 years in the insurance industry.
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