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.
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.
Third party cover
This 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.
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.
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.