Buying a car, especially the first one, is one of the most exciting decisions most of us get to make. It usually signals something to everyone around. Friends, business associates, peers, and colleagues usually change how they look at us when we buy a car. Aside from the emotional highs and excitements that accompany the process of buying a car, one small matter sometimes gets forgotten-car insurance. Many aspiring car owners never factor in the cost of insurance when thinking about a new car. Their budgets usually don’t include car insurance until it hits them that they can’t use their car without insurance. Whether you are a new car owner or a veteran driver, there are three key reasons why you can’t do without motor insurance
1. Car Insurance in Kenya is a legal requirement
Kenya, just like most countries in the world, requires all cars (or their drivers) to be insured before they can be used on public roads. If you fail to buy insurance for your car, and then proceed to use in in public, you risk legal action. You are also required by law to display the car insurance certificate on the windshield of your car (or other part that makes it possible for an officer to inspect it from the front or front-left of your vehicle). If you drive a car without insurance, you are risking a fine of Ksh 10,000, and a creative officer can also include charges like “reckless endangerment”, among others, making it a very costly proposition for you.
2. Car Insurance protects your investment in the car
If not for the purposes of making your car street legal, then you should at least think of insurance as a way of protecting your investment in it. Cars are not cheap, and they tend to be the most expensive single item you may own (if you don’t own a house yet). Its therefore in your interest to buy motor insurance to protect that investment. If anything happens to your car, things that are covered by your insurance policy, you will not lose money.
3. Car insurance protects you from costs associated with accidents
Accidents happen. No one wakes up with the intention of causing one. Every day in Kenya, several serious accidents and tens of minor accidents occur on our roads. These accidents are no always caused by careless or drunk drivers. Some of them are caused by otherwise well-mannered people, like you. Having car insurance in Kenya means the insurance company will pick up the tab for costs associated with the accident. This spares you financial agony that you may experience if you had to pay for repairs on other peoples cars and property from your own pocket.
THE DOCUMENTS YOU NEED TO BUY CAR INSURANCE
Did you know that an insurance policy is a legal contract? As with all other contracts, there are some documents you need to present to a car insurance company in order to get a policy. Here are the documents you need have before talking to a car insurance agent.
National ID Card (or any other official ID)
Insurance companies will ask you for a form of identification before they process your motor insurance policy application. Usually they’ll ask for a national ID because it’s the most popular form of identification available in Kenya. You can also use other government issued forms of identification such as your Kenyan passport. For foreigners, if you have an alien ID issued by the Kenyan government, that will work. Otherwise, you passport should be a sufficient for of ID for purposes of insurance.
You also need to carry your logbook as you go to see your insurer. The logbook is proof of ownership and will be required whenever you make a claim. The logbook is also important for the insurance company because it provides details of the car, such as make and model, engine capacity, age, carrying capacity, etc. These elements are used to calculate the value of premiums you will be required to pay.
For the first time you buy insurance, the car insurance company will require you to provide them with a valuation report. In many cases, the will provide you with a list of affiliated valuers who will then carry out an independent assessment of the value of the car, and thereafter send the report to the insurance company. Its probably better to get that list from your insurer rather than going to look for a valuer yourself, because you will be charged less as a client of the insurance company. Some insurance companies will require a new valuation periodically to adjust the value of the total sum assured, factoring in wear and tear, and depreciation.
The car insurance Proposal form
The insurance company will also expect you to fill out a motor insurance proposal form. This form is the one used to assess your risk levels. An underwriter will examine it and will calculate the premiums you need to pay for the risks you would like to be covered. Most companies have the insurance proposal form on their websites for easy download. It is however advisable to fill the form in the presence of an insurance agent to ensure you get full clarity on the matters it raises, and a full understanding of the consequences of each of your responses. Giving false information on your proposal form can void your insurance.