The Citizen (KZN)

A car insurance checklist for cross-border trips


If you are travelling to a neighbouri­ng country in your car during the Easter holidays, there are steps you must take to ensure your car insurance keeps you covered.

Ernest North, co-founder of Naked, has these tips for taking your car to countries such as Angola, Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, eSwatini, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe:

Check what your policy covers

Take out comprehens­ive car insurance if you don’t have it. Most policies offer some coverage in neighbouri­ng countries, but the extent and the nature of what they cover may vary.

Read your policy document to ensure you understand what is covered, the limits and if there are any additional costs. Some things to check include:

Is there a time limit for how long you will be covered when travelling outside South Africa?

Are any of the countries you are visiting excluded, for example, due to civil unrest?

If you travel for work, does your policy cover business use? Most do not.

What happens if you need a tow? You will usually need to pay to get your car home. Your insurer should have it towed to the nearest repair centre.

Buy third-party liability cover

Most policies will cover damage to only your car, but you can usually buy third-party liability cover at the border or from Outdoor Warehouse.

Third-party liability is a legal requiremen­t in Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Botswana.

Research the laws of the country you plan to visit. You do not want to drive all the way to the border only to realise you need a letter from your bank or an internatio­nal driving permit.

Get a le er

You can usually e-mail your insurer to get a cross-border letter. If this document specifies dates and countries, make sure the details are correct.

Ask your bank for a le er of permission

If your car is financed, you will need permission to take it across the border.

Take all your paperwork

You might need to show your car's registrati­on papers at the border. Ensure your car’s licence does not need renewing. Double-check whether your driver’s licence is valid where you are travelling or whether an internatio­nal driving permit is necessary. Some insurers require you have stickers on your car showing you are insured.

Safety equipment

In some countries, it is a legal requiremen­t to have a triangle and a reflective vest in your car for emergencie­s.

Enjoy your travels without worrying about unexpected costs or legal complicati­ons.

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