Ina Opperman

By Ina Opperman

Business Journalist

A car insurance checklist for cross-border trips during Easter

Are you one of the lucky ones who will go away for Easter and drive into a neighbouring country to relax with your family?

If you are travelling to a neighbouring country on a cross-border trip in your car during the Easter holidays, you have to take certain steps to ensure that your car insurance keeps you covered in any other African countries you plan to visit.

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.

ALSO READ: These are common myths about car insurance you should know

Check what your car insurance policy covers

If you do not have comprehensive car insurance and you leave the country, it is probably worth considering to get it before you go. Most South African car insurance policies offer some coverage in our neighbouring countries, but the extent and the nature of what they cover may vary.

Read your policy document before travelling to ensure you understand what is covered, what the limits are 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 some of the countries you will visit excluded from coverage, 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 when you are outside South Africa due to a breakdown or accident? You will usually need to pay to get your car back to South Africa. At this stage, your insurer should have it towed to the nearest repair centre.

ALSO READ: Your top 5 questions about car insurance answered

Buy third-party liability cover

Most policies will cover damage to your car only when you travel outside South Africa’s borders. You can usually buy third-party liability cover at the border or from Outdoor Warehouse.

Third-party liability covers damage done to someone else’s property or causing bodily injury to someone. It is a legal requirement in countries such as Zimbabwe, eSwatini, Namibia, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho and Botswana.

TIP: Research the local laws of the country you plan to visit, especially regarding your car and insurance. You do not want to drive all the way to the border only to realise that you need a certain letter from your bank or an international driving permit.

Get a letter to present at the border

You can usually email 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 letter of permission

If your car is financed, you will also need a letter from the bank granting you permission to take it across the border.

ALSO READ: What all those car insurance terms really mean

Take all your paperwork

You might need to show your car’s registration papers at the border. Also, ensure your car’s licence does not need renewing anytime soon.

Double-check whether your South African driver’s licence is valid where you are travelling or whether an international driving permit is necessary. Some insurers require that you have stickers on your car showing you are insured.

Make sure you have the necessary safety equipment

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

North says understanding the details of your car insurance policy when travelling outside of South Africa’s border will allow you to enjoy your travels without worrying about unexpected costs or legal complications.

Read more on these topics

border insurance travel tips

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits