In Rwanda, we rarely hear of motor vehicle thefts, but as we expand into the bigger East African market, we might be stretching size of operation of our motor vehicles. In Rwanda, the most common form of theft is that of the side mirrors and sometimes the indicators or lights.
These are minor items that could be replaced without much ado. In countries like Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda, the vehicle may get completely vandalized, i.e. the engine, doors, interior, the wheels etc.
With such a vandalized vehicle, the cost of repairing the vehicle may be as high as that of buying another vehicle altogether. If your vehicle is stolen you should report it immediately to the police. The police will notify the Licensing Authority (normally the Revenue Authority) of the details of the theft and any recovery of the vehicle on your behalf.
Before calling the police to report the theft of your vehicle, make sure you have all the vehicle details at hand i.e. registration number, make, model and colour of the vehicle. The police will give you a crime reference number which you will need in the event of insurance claim. It pays to have an insurance policy!
To be on the safe side, you need to have an insurance policy for vehicle. Many people take the Insurance policy for granted, they normally take the “Third Party” Insurance police because it is mandatory; forgetting that, the insurance police is the only “cushion” against any eventuality that could occur, leading to a partial or total loss of your cherished vehicle. Taking a “Total Cover” (Omnium Policy) could not only insulate you against accidents but against things like fire, theft, rollover; situations that could occur without being caused by any third party. In our case, once your vehicle has gone missing, and you have reported the matter to the Police, you will need to contact your insurance company immediately for advice. If your vehicle is not recovered, your insurance company may pay out a claim or compensation in accordance with your policy.
According to many insurance companies, their policies will not cover any motor vehicle thefts that occur outside the country of jurisdiction.
It is highly advisable, before you travel out of the country, to another country, contact your insurance brokers and seek for their advice as to how far as their policy can cover your vehicle. Determine as to whether they will be able to offer you the same cover while abroad.
If not, ask them to recommend a trusted partner (if any) in the destination country. It is useless taking out a policy that will not give you adequate cover.
Sometimes, you may chose between accepting partial cover from your home Insurer and then taking out yet another partial cover (for the lacking portion) abroad. With the coming of the East African Common market, the situation may change such that, we could end up having the same insurers covering the whole region in a single policy.