Proof of Car Insurance in South Africa
When do you need to show proof of car insurance?
In South Africa, having motor insurance is not mandatory for car owners. Risky as it is, you won’t land in jail or get a fine for driving around without an insurance sticker. However, if you will be driving to Lesotho, Botswana, Swaziland or Zimbabwe, you will need to prove to border officials that you have car insurance before they let you in. So whichever insurance policy you have, it needs to cover you from liability to other parties you may cause damage or loss to in an accident.
The basic third party only insurance cover from any insurer in the country should be enough to meet this requirement. But before you begin your journey, ensure you acquire proof of car insurance to show border officials. It will make your life easier at the border station. Importantly, your insurer should be able to provide this without hassle upon request.
Why is proof of car insurance necessary?
Why is this necessary? In the event you’re involved in an accident you will need to produce the proof of insurance along with other documents including your driving license. This, along with the statement you record at the police station of the incident, will be vital in facilitating the claims process. For faster processing of your claim, ensure you contact your insurer immediately the incident occurs.
Speaking of which, will the authorities in the foreign country where the accident occurred recognise your driving license? They will if that country is among the nations that form the SADC (Southern African Development Community). Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, Mozambique and Angola are some of the countries in this body.
Informing your insurer of your intention to travel out of the country is not mandatory but if you will be outside South Africa for more than 6 months, it is important you do so.
What if the car is not yours?
If you are driving a vehicle registered under someone else’s name or if the car was insured under someone else, you need to do the following:
- Get a letter of permission, authorised by your local police department.
- Get the original registration documents of the vehicle
- Present these documents at the border post
- Though not mandatory, it is also advisable to inform the vehicle’s insurer of your intention to travel beforehand.
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