Car Insurance: What you need to know to get the best coverage for your car
Did you know that the type of car you drive has a big impact on how much car insurance costs? The price of car insurance is a function of your car’s cost and its potential risk as an accident target. Each kind of car will have different rates for insurance, so it’s important to know what kind of coverage your car needs. Read on for more information about obtaining the best possible rate for car insurance.
Whether you just bought a new car or are thinking of buying one, getting the right auto insurance is extremely important. After all, what good is having a nice new set of wheels if you can’t afford to repair it in case of an accident or if it gets stolen? Here are some things to know about getting the best auto insurance policy for your needs.
Why do you Need Car Insurance?
Having a clear understanding of why you require auto insurance can help you determine what you want out of your insurance policy. Below are three key reasons why you can’t do without auto insurance.
- First and foremost, having car insurance in Kenya is a legal requirement. In addition to Kenya, most countries require all motor vehicles (or their drivers) to have insurance before they may be driven on public roads. You might be charged with a crime if you drive a vehicle without insurance on public roads, even if you bought insurance for it. The insurance certificate must be displayed on the windshield or in another location visible from the front or front-left side of your vehicle (or any other location that allows a policeman to see it). It is a very risky endeavour if you drive a car without insurance, as you may be fined up to 10,000 shillings, in addition to being charged with things like “reckless endangerment,” among other things, making it a very costly undertaking.
- Having car insurance will help you financially if you have an accident. Without insurance, you would be responsible for any damage to your car and any medical bills that result from an accident. If you cause an accident, you would be liable for any damage you cause to other people’s cars and any medical expenses for passengers in the other cars.
- Car insurance can also protect you financially if your car is stolen or if it is damaged in inclement weather. It’s important to understand that auto insurance is not only about protecting you financially in the event of an accident or theft. It’s also about protecting the other people that share the road with you.
Types of Car Insurance Policies you can Buy in Kenya
Protecting your assets and your health are two of the primary benefits of car insurance. All car insurance products offered by an insurance company fall into three main categories. Although the names of the specific insurance products may differ, all are based on the same three basic categories.
Comprehensive car insurance
Comprehensive insurance is coverage that helps to replace or repair your vehicle in an incident that’s not a collision. It typically covers damage by fire, theft, vandalism, or falling objects like trees. This package is recommended for those who are financing or leasing their cars.
Third-party Fire and Theft
When you cause an accident, a third-party fire and theft policy will meet the costs of damages to other people’s property. If someone is injured or loses his life as a result of the accident, the cover will be used to compensate his family. The cover also protects your car from fires caused by incidents such as accidental malfunction in the car. Your insurer will also compensate you in case your car is stolen (or components of it if such enhancements are included)
A third-party cover is the most basic insurance cover. This protects third parties only in the event your car is involved in an accident. It is also the cheapest cover. Third-party covers are generally not advisable for personal cars especially if they are high-value cars since you can lose a substantial sum should you lose the car to an accident or through theft. It is nonetheless an option for any vehicle owner who has a cash flow problem.
Most insurance companies have developed special enhancements that you can add to your cover if you want additional protection from certain risks. Some of the common enhancements are as follows
- Personal Accident Cover- Most comprehensive insurance covers give you the option of bundling your car insurance cover with a personal accident cover at a discounted rate. Car insurance covers usually don’t cover the owner of the car (passengers are usually covered though).
- Terrorism cover– An enhancement that covers you from losses and liabilities that can result from terrorism. The Westgate mall attack saw some cars damaged. Owners who had terrorism covers were compensated
- Excess Protector-This enhancement removes excess requirements when you make claims (Excess is an amount of money an insurance company will require you to pay whenever you make a claim. Its purpose is to discourage frivolous claims)
- Stereo Cover– Some insurance companies include a cover for car stereo, and will replace your car stereo in case it’s stolen
- Windshield cover-The windshield cover protects the car owner from the liabilities that would arise from accidentally broken windshields
What You Must Consider When Choosing a Car Insurance Company
A great policy is nothing if it does not come from a great company. When deciding to buy an insurance policy, you will do well to consider whether the company is great. To make this decision easy for you, here is a short list of the things you need to consider when evaluating the company to buy insurance from.
A company that pays claims promptly
As a rule, insurance companies are very aggressive when it comes to the collection of premiums. Once you have signed a deal, the company will work hard to make it as easy (and urgent) for you to pay up your premiums. Your premium payment is a revenue for the insurance company. On the other end of the stick, when you make your claim, any insurance company will not be as eager to pay out the claim. For the company, that is an expense. The good news is that provided the company cannot prove foul play on your part, it is obliged to honour your claim.
When shopping asks them about their claim settlement plans and practices and compares the period and conditions, they attach to claims settlement against their rivals. Choose a company that has the best claim settlement practices.
A company that has the good financial health
The financial health of an insurance company is the best guarantee that the company will honour your claim should you need to make one. How do you tell whether a company is in good financial health? The answer is very simple. Google it! If a company is in trouble, you are likely to find information about its troubles online. Also, check the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) website and other reports from leading audit and financial services companies. If you see any red flags, move on.
A company that is growing
If a company is growing, then it is doing something right. You want to be part of a company that is becoming better at what it is doing. Again, you can get this information online to help you evaluate whether to be part of the company or not.
A company that has great customer service
Car insurance companies in Kenya struggle with one thing, more than any other customer service. The nature of insurance makes it very challenging for any company to keep up with all its customers. In many cases, the only time the company interacts with its clients is when it is handling premium payments. You want to be a part of a company that values you as its customer.
Analyze your interaction with the marketing staff, see how you are transited to underwriters, and how well the company serves you. How well do they support you as you make your buying decision? Is their website friendly?
A company that Keeps in Touch
One of the ways of knowing whether you are in good company is by whether your preferred insurer keeps in touch with you, quite apart from when your premiums are about to fall due. Many companies stop communicating with you as soon as they have your business, a terrible mistake. A quick way to tell whether a company is good at keeping in touch is by sending unsolicited emails and evaluating how long they take to get back.
You could also check how quick they are to respond to you on social media and when you fill out the “contact us” form on their website. A company that keeps in touch is likely to be supportive should you need to make a claim.
A company that asks for reasonable premiums
The answer to a good policy is not a cheap policy. We like to think of it as a competitive policy, one that just meets your needs, and at the right price. If two companies are offering you policies that are exactly alike, and one charges lower, by all means, take the cheaper one. However, don’t equate a cheap policy to a good policy. In the same way, don’t assume an expensive policy is a better policy. Find out what is included and what is excluded. Usually, you will find a catch somewhere.
What do you need to start shopping for car insurance
Since an insurance policy is a legal contract, and as with all other contracts, there are some documents you need to present to a car insurance company to get a policy. Here are the documents you need to 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, your passport should be sufficient for 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, they 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. It’s 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.
Which insurance company is the right fit
If you have done your research, you should have a good idea of what type of coverage you need and what your budget is for premiums. Now it’s time to shop for the best company to provide you with that coverage. We at Shimin Insurance Agency believe that you have a right to get the best deals on car insurance in Kenya. Buying car insurance in Kenya can be a very expensive affair if you do not have the right knowledge. Contact us today to get the best deals on auto insurance and we will help you compare quotes from our different trusted partners and help you find one that best suits your needs.
Shopping for car insurance wisely can help you protect your health, your assets, and your wallet, so make the effort to determine the type and amount of coverage that you need. Also, make sure that you review and understand your policy before you sign on the dotted line. If you plan well, you’ll be pleased with the results, should you ever find the need to put your policy to the test by making a claim.