When involved in an accident, many individuals tend to cover the expense of repairs from their own pocket, despite having insurance coverage. While this is a common practice, it is incorrect, a big mistake and one that primarily benefits insurance companies.
As a first step, let us provide you with a brief overview of third-party motor vehicle insurance in Nigeria. Third-party motor insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers the policyholder against legal liabilities that may arise from damages caused to third-party individuals or their property in the event of an accident. It is mandatory for all vehicle owners in Nigeria to have third-party motor insurance as per the Motor Vehicle (Third Party Insurance) Act, 2004. National Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 & 2016.
I. Be Informed: National Insurance Commission Raises Premiums
Since January 2023, the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has implemented changes, increasing the premium for compulsory Motor Vehicle Third Party Insurance cover from N5,000 to N15,000. The limit of claims an insured can enjoy on a policy for private vehicles has now been increased from N1 million to N3 million for the new premium of N15,000.
II. The Smart Move: Making a Claim on Third-Party Insurance
Contrary to common belief, third-party motor insurance is not merely a legal formality; it is a strategic financial move. If you find yourself in an accident, making a claim on your third-party insurance can be a smart decision for several reasons.
III. Benefits of Making a Claim:
1. Financial Protection: Your insurance policy is there to provide financial protection. Making a claim ensures that the financial burden of repairs and medical expenses is shifted from your shoulders to the insurance company.
2. Legal Compliance: Beyond financial benefits, making a claim fulfills the legal requirement for motor insurance in Nigeria, preventing penalties associated with non-compliance and ensuring that you are driving legally.
3. Preserving Personal Finances: Accidents can be financially draining. Making a claim allows you to preserve your personal savings for other essential needs and long-term financial goals.
IV. Your Road to Smart Insurance Habits
Being smart about insurance means understanding the purpose of your coverage and maximizing its benefits. It involves making informed choices that align with your financial well-being.
V. When Involved In A Motor Accident In Nigeria, Follow These Steps:
1. When You Are at Fault:
a. Ensure Safety: Check for injuries and administer first aid if necessary. Move to a safe location to avoid further accidents and hazards.
b. Contact Emergency Services: Call the police and medical assistance if there are injuries or significant damage.
c. Exchange Information: Share relevant information with the other party, including names, phone numbers, addresses, and insurance details. Avoid assigning blame at the scene.
d. Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible, providing accurate and detailed information.
e. Document the Scene: Capture pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and any relevant road signs or signals to aid in filing an insurance claim.
f. Cooperate with Authorities: Provide accurate information to the police about the accident. Be truthful, as dishonesty can complicate matters.
g. Seek Legal Advice if Necessary: If the accident involves serious injuries or legal complications, consider seeking legal advice to understand your rights and responsibilities.
2. When the Other Person is at Fault:
a. Ensure Safety: Check for injuries and administer first aid if necessary. Move to a safe location if possible.
b. Contact Emergency Services: Call the police and request medical assistance if needed, ensuring an official report of the incident.
c. Exchange Information: Obtain the other party\’s name, phone number, address, and insurance details. Remain calm and avoid confrontations.
d. Document the Scene: Take pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and relevant road signs or signals for insurance claims.
e. Notify Your Insurance Company: Report the accident promptly, providing accurate information and sharing details you gathered.
f. Cooperate with Authorities: Provide your account of the accident to the police, sticking to the facts and avoiding admission of fault.
g. Seek Medical Attention: Even for seemingly minor injuries, seek medical attention promptly, as some injuries may not manifest immediately. A medical record is essential for insurance claims.
**In both scenarios, remain calm, gather information, and prioritize safety to streamline the claims process and fulfill legal obligations in the event of a motor accident.**
VI. To Make A Claim With Your Third-Party Motor Insurance Provider, Follow These Steps:
a. Report the accident: Report the accident to your insurance provider as soon as possible by calling their customer service hotline or sending them an email.
b. Provide necessary details: Furnish your insurance provider with the necessary details of the accident, including the date, time, and location, as well as the names and contact details of any witnesses.
c. Submit supporting documents: Submit supporting documents such as a police report, photographs of the accident scene, and any applicable medical reports.
d. Wait for claim approval: Once you have submitted all necessary documents, your insurance provider will review your claim and approve it if it meets the terms and conditions of your policy.
e. It is also permissible to make the repairs and later recover the expenses from the insurance company. To do this, you will be required to provide pictures of the accidented vehicle, before and after the repairs. You must provide an invoice or bill direct from the company or person that did the repairs. You must provide the vehicle particles and police report.
Conclusion: Your Journey to Smart Insurance Ownership
VII. Be Smart, Drive Safe
In conclusion, being smart about your insurance in Nigeria involves more than just having coverage—it\’s about knowing when and how to leverage that coverage. Making a claim when needed ensures that you are not only compliant with the law but also actively protecting your financial interests.
As you navigate the roads, remember that being smart extends beyond the driver\’s seat. It involves making informed decisions about your insurance coverage. Drive safe, stay informed, and be smart about your insurance choices.