Car Insurance Basics

Assess Your Insurance Readiness before Your Road Trip


December 15, 2014

The Christmas and Esther seasons are travel seasons in Kenya, and naturally, motor insurance companies deal with a high number of claims during these two periods. Before Christmas, you would be forgiven to think that something is wrong with Nairobi and everyone has been asked to evacuate the capital. Soon after the New Year, the trend is reversed and people now travel back towards the capital to prepare for work and the reopening of schools.

The number of accidents on Kenyan roads usually shows a clear spike during the travel season, mainly because of the high traffic on the main highways. Since an accident can happen to anyone, it is very critical to examine your Car insurance Kenya readiness before you travel. Here are a few tips on how to be insurance ready before embarking on your annual road trip, or any other road trip for that matter.

1. Check the Expiry Date on Your Sticker

Your sticker is the only proof law enforcement officers have that your car is legally on the road. Even if you have paid for an auto insurance policy and you have your sticker with you, you can still get into trouble for not displaying it on the windshield. Therefore, check the expiry date of your current sticker and if your trip ends after your insurance expires, then make sure you have renewed your insurance and pinned the sticker on your windshield before you leave.

2. Have Your Insurance Agent’s Number on Speed Dial

It is amazing how few people have a number they can dial in case they are in an accident and need access to their insurance agent. After an accident happens, that is the worst time to start looking for a number to dial. What of your windshield has been crushed to smithereens and you cannot make out the writings on the sticker?

Ensure you know whom you should contact in case of an accident and ensure that you have their number at your disposal before you embark on a road trip. This will reduce your anxiety and will enable you to deal with an accident situation much better.

RELATED: What to do After a Car Accident 

3. Be Clear about your Policy Entitlements

The third element of being insurance ready before leaving on a long road trip is to be sure about what your policy entitles you to. This is very important because it essentially tells you what options you have in case you are involved in an accident. It can also save you plenty of money. Let us say your cover includes one free road rescue anywhere within Kenya. If you are aware of this, you will not need to find a breakdown truck to move your car. This knowledge will not only give you peace of mind but it will also save you money.

Some policies may also include ambulatory rescue and many have a medical emergency component. All these benefits can only help you if you actually know you have access to these entitlements. On the other side, failure to understand you policy entitlements may cause you to have false hopes regarding what your insurance company can do for you.

You may think you have access to road rescue only to discover that this is not the case, when you need it. Reread you policy and make a summary of the entitlements you have. Discuss it with your insurance provider if you need to. Just make sure you fully understand what to expect. 

4. Have a Mechanic on Speed Dial

It also helps to have mechanic or two on speed dial. This is not only a travel tip bit one that can help you with insurance decisions every time you are involved in an incident on the road. It is important to develop a relationship with the mechanics who handle your car. Such mechanics can quickly help you out to assess damage on your car and to determine whether you can handle the matter between yourselves or whether you need to involve your motor insurance company.

Mechanics can also provide you with useful contacts of other mechanics that are stationed near where you are. If you do not regularly travel out of Nairobi, chances are that you do not know a mechanic out of the city.

However, if you have a good relationship with you local mechanics, they can link you with contacts in your destination, or along your route. Whatever the case, having a mechanics number on speed dial is a smart way to be car insurance kenya ready when you are on a road trip.

RELATED: Road Trip Accident Car Inspection Tips

5. Take Your Car for Mechanical Assessment

Insurance companies do not pay claims that arise from wilful damage to your car. Ignoring the mechanical state of your car gives an auto insurance company grounds to doubt whether an accident you were involved in was actually an accident or whether it was a logical consequence of driving an unsound car. Have checks done on major components such as brakes, axles, springs, and shocks, and check all you fluid levels.

Your engine oils levels, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and even wiper fluid should be optimal. If you ignore these checks, your car may be unsound for a long road trip and you may find yourself alone, stuck in the middle of a national park with no one-even your insurance company-to come to your rescue.

6. Carry a Flashlight, a  Notebook and Pen at all Times

Once an accident has happened and it is clear that you need to involve your auto insurance company, you will need to read and record the details of the other car to initiate the claims process. It is smart to take pictures of the accident scene in order to corroborate your claim.

A mobile phone may be able to help you with all these “data collection” activities. However, when a car accident happens, you phone may not be in sight. Easy access to a notebook, flashlight, and pen will do the trick. It helps to be prepared and not to been these items, rather than to fail to have them when you need them.

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