With so many insurance companies offering different types of vehicle insurance, buying a car insurance policy for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. You need to choose the best policy to cover your vehicle in the event of an incident.
What we should clearly point out is that as the insurance coverage increases, the premium will also increase. Hence, you should customise the insurance plan to include only the extensions that you need and forego unwanted features.
There are basically five types of cover you can choose from. We will start with the minimum cover.
1. Road Traffic Act (RTA) Cover
This is the most common and basic type of motor insurance. It is the minimum vehicle insurance required under the Road Traffic Act (Chapter 13.11). It is commonly known as RTA Cover (meaning Road Traffic Act Cover).
Third party insurance is compulsory in Zimbabwe. You need it to obtain a vehicle licence from the Zimbabwe National Roads Administration (Zinara). This policy covers liability to a third party who has suffered bodily injury, death or property damage through your fault.
Most vehicle owners obtain RTA Cover simply for licensing purposes but it is a statutory cover that protects other parties and can be claimed against. An insurer is expected to honour such a claim if all is in order.
Cover limits are gazetted at $3 000 for third party bodily injury and $2 000 for third party property damage. It is illegal for any insurance company to sell this cover without actually providing for payment up to those limits.
Some touts have been providing cover notes on which it is written that the cover note is only for licensing purposes and cannot be claimed against. Such cover notes do not constitute valid cover. No legitimate insurance company would issue such a cover note.
2. Third Party Cover
Third party cover is similar to RTA Cover but has increased policy limits. It covers only the amount for which you are legally liable to a third party if your vehicle is involved in an accident. If you crash into another car or someone else’s property, the insurance company will pay for the damage to the other car or property. The policy does not cover damage to your own car.
The standard limit for accidental injury to or death of third parties, whether they are pedestrians or passengers, is $10 000. The limit for accidental damage to a third party’s moveable or immovable property is also $10 000.
A vehicle owner can opt to increase this limit at an extra premium to be determined by the insurer.
When you are involved in an accident which it is concluded was your fault or due to your negligence, the third party liability cover will meet the third party costs up to the specified limits.
The policy covers the cost of the repair or replacement of the third party’s damaged property. It also covers the medical bills of the third party due to hospitalisation or medical treatment.
3. Full Third Party, Fire and Theft Cover
This is an extension of third party insurance. It provides the following additional cover: loss of or damage to the insured vehicle due to fire, theft of the vehicle and/or accessories, and damage to the vehicle due to attempted theft.
Third party liability cover is the same as with ordinary Third Party Cover but the vehicle owner can increase these limits at an additional premium.
Accidental damage to your own vehicle is excluded with this policy as cover for the insured vehicle is restricted to fire and theft only.
However, we would urge you to go beyond just price and decide whether a Third Party, Fire and Theft policy provides enough cover for you.
If you have an expensive car then it may be better to obtain Comprehensive Cover. If you have an inexpensive car, Third Party Fire and Theft might be enough cover for you.
4. Comprehensive Cover
Comprehensive insurance covers you for damage caused to other drivers, road users or property and, importantly, to your own car.
Making a claim for the repair of damage to your own car and making a claim for an accident that was your fault are the two biggest advantages of a comprehensive policy.
Motor vehicle comprehensive insurance is sometimes referred to as Full Cover, as it covers all accidental loss or damage to the insured motor vehicle, as well as passenger risks and third party liability. It includes all the cover provided under a third party policy but in addition provides cover for accidental loss of or damage to the insured vehicle.
A summary of the cover provided under Motor Comprehensive is as follows;
- Motor Own Damage Cover – This is cover for the insured motor vehicle against accidental loss or damage up to the market value or sum insured of the vehicle, whichever is the lesser. Accidental loss or damage cover includes cover for theft, attempted theft, accidental impact, flooding, storm damage and collision.
Major exclusions include self -inflicted damage and mechanical and electrical damage to the vehicle.
- Third Party Property Damage limit of $10 000 per accident. The cover can be optionally increased subject to payment of an additional premium.
- Third Party Bodily Injury and/or Death – This covers death or injury of pedestrians or other road users, excluding passengers, up to a limit of $20 000 per accident for private cars and up to $30 000 per accident for public passenger vehicles.
- Passenger Liability – This covers passenger liability for non-public service vehicles up to a limit of $2 000 per passenger and $10 000 altogether in any one accident. The cover is for medical expenses and a death benefit up to the given limits. Passenger Liability for public service vehicles (buses, commuter omnibuses and taxis) is sold separately through passenger liability discs at a price of $15 per passenger for a period of a year.
Motor Comprehensive has the following possible extensions:
- Extension of territorial limits to Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries, excluding Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Burundi.
In terms of this extension, accidents in SADC countries are covered, excluding the exceptions, for a maximum period of 180 days during any one period of insurance and 90 days during any one visit.
- Free towing services up to reasonable costs to the nearest garage and optional Roadside Assistance Services for an additional $40 annual premium (depending on the scheme selected).
- Medical Expenses cover of $1 000.
- Legal fees extension up to a limit of $1 000.
- Free vehicle valuations for insurance purposes for clients on business acquisition and renewals.
5. Laid Up Cover
It is just as important, no matter what its value, for your vehicle to be properly insured even if for any reason it is not on the road, including when it is off the road for repair or restoration. We call this a Laid Up – Accidental Damage, Fire and Theft Policy. It is ideal for owners who have declared their vehicle for a licensing exemption due to its being off the road.
We understand that there is an array of reasons why you may want to keep your vehicle off the road, whilst also keeping it properly insured. Cover arranged by Zimnat Insurance will protect your vehicle, its parts and accessories whilst it is laid up.
So, if a toolbox falling from a shelf bashes your bonnet or if you find that your engine bay has become a retreat for rodents, a Laid Up Policy arranged by Zimnat Insurance will offer you peace of mind in even the most unanticipated situation.
Any vehicle, new or old, can qualify for Laid Up Cover as long as it is garaged, parked in your drive or stored in a secure building.
The cover includes cover for accidental damage and for fire and theft. Premiums reflect the fact that you are not driving.
If your current car insurance policy only covers third party damage, there is every reason to consider upgrading it. By choosing the comprehensive cover, you will obtain the highest level of compensation from the insurance company.
If your vehicle’s windshield is damaged due to an accident, it can be replaced with the compensation paid by the insurance company.
Included in the cover is damage to the car due to the entry of flood waters into the engine and other parts of the vehicle, damage to the car and accessories due to fire, damage due to natural disasters such as a windstorm or earthquake, damage to the vehicle caused by hitting an animal, damage due to a strike, vandalism or riots and damage incurred by a third-party as a result of an accident for which you are to blame..
Comprehensive auto insurance offers maximum coverage. However, there are certain exclusions. You should be aware of these exclusions so that there will not be any unpleasant surprises when you submit a claim.
These exclusions are damage attributable to normal wear and tear or the aging of the vehicle, a breakdown of electrical or mechanical parts, damage to tyres and tubes, damage to the vehicle while being driven by an unlicensed driver or a person under the influence of drugs or alcohol and damage due to war or a nuclear attack.
Car owners should be wise enough to choose the best car insurance coverage options to minimise the risk and maximise the benefits.
While the mandatory minimum liability insurance is the cheapest option, it will not cover the policyholder’s interests. Factors to be taken into consideration in selecting a motor insurance policy include the make and model of the car, frequency of usage and location. By comparing and analysing various kinds of coverage, you can settle for the car insurance policy that suits you best.
For more details send an email to email@example.com or call us on +263 242 707 582/3/5/6
By Johnson Chiutanyi