That most Nigerians not only crave to own and drive choice automobiles, but give top priority, above all other basic essential needs of life is no exaggeration.
Also, its no overstatement to say automobile owners and users hardly can appreciate that the best and most modern approach to secure and protect their valuables assets- motor vehicles against the risk of fire, theft, accidental damage including third party liabilities is by effecting or buying a motor comprehensive protective insurance cover.
The lack of knowledge and or awareness of what a motor comprehensive insurance cover offers in terms of protective benefits, rights and privileges is primarily the reason(s) why prospective buyers often opt to buy the motor Third Party insurance cover, which merely covers their legal liabilities to the general public or third parties as an owner or user of a motor vehicle.
Other factors underlying the preference for Motor Third Party covers or outrightly not buying any form of cover against the comprehensive cover include:
– Inability of motor vehicle owners and users to value or give priority to the effective protection of their asset against potential risks and liabilities which they are exposed.
– The supposedly perceived lack of confidence and assurance that their benefits, right and privileges can be obtained, secured and enjoyed with ease under their motor insurance contracts.
– Most Nigerians inadvertently or ignorantly still perceive the cost of buying a motor comprehensive insurance (i.e. premium) as being outrageously high and unaffordable.
Improving the knowledge of Nigerian buyers of motor insurance and their perception of the insurance market, insurance products, operators & service providers including the functions of their Regulator-NAICOM remains the only lasting panacea, which will require the collective responsibility of all stakeholders. In effect, further education of Nigerians that will enhance their level of insurance awareness will go a long way in enabling them to appreciate the scope and benefits of buying a motor comprehensive cover.
What is comprehensive motor insurance cover?
As the name implies, motor comprehensive insurance is the widest scope of cover available compared to other types of cover in the motor insurance class of products in the market.
The cover or benefits offered by a motor comprehensive insurance which is a lot more embracing include:
– Loss or damage to the insured vehicle by fire, theft, and accidental collision.
– Legal liability for damage to other vehicles and damage to property belonging to Third Parties, often subject to a standard limit.
– Legal liability for death or bodily injury to Third Parties – (often unlimited)
– Legal cost and expenses including solicitors fees incurred in defence of any court litigation consequent upon prosecution after an accident subject to the consent of the insurers.
– Others benefits although subject to a standard limit include medical expenses for the insured and spouse, cover for personal effects, vehicle towing fees to the garage of repairs.
– It is also possible to require for additional cover in respect of liabilities or indemnity for the acts of a passenger. For example, if the passenger opens the vehicle against or hitting an innocent passing pedestrian, or cyclist or motorist.
WHY COMPREHENSIVE COVER IS IMPORTANT OR EVEN BETTER THAN THE THIRD PARTY
Its importance is better appreciated by the fact that it offers the widest scope of covers, among all other types of motor insurance covers, while it leaves room for a number of rights and privileges – which are added-values to compensate buyers in this class.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HAVING A COMPREHENSIVE COVERS?
Being an all-embracing and the most protective motor cover, insureds minds are at peace, and are able to pursue their business endeavors without stress or any anxiety having been maximally protected under their comprehensive motor insurance.
It has also been very useful as a collateral or security required to guarantee financier where vehicles were acquired under a lease or by a loan.
THE NEED TO DEAL WITH A GENUINE INSURANCE COMPANY/BROKER WHEN GETTING A COMPREHENSIVE COVER
It is very important to patronize reputable insurance firms if the buyers are to enjoy the benefits guaranteed under comprehensive covers when the need arises. This requires the reliability, dependability, promptness and prudence on the part of insurers when claims are being lodged and processed with them. Also, the services of brokers in packaging and negotiating covers, claim processing to the ultimate satisfaction of insureds cannot be overemphasized, and should not be compromised because of their knowledge of the market, products available and their expertise.
Good enough and to the benefits of Nigerians are the fact that on-going reforms in the insurance sector which are being enforced stringently by NAICOM-the sectors regulators, have impacted positively on the industry operators and their operations. All the gains of the reforms are to the benefit of insurance buyers in Nigeria, and more than ever before insurers and Brokers are better challenged to render their best to insurance consumers in Nigeria.
HOW TO MAKE A CLAIM IN THE EVENT OF AN ACCIDENT
The following pragmatic steps are essential in processing a claim to satisfactory conclusions
i) NOTIFICATION: the insurer must be promptly notified directly or through a broker or agent where they are involved. The incident must also be reported to the police as their report may be needed to substantiate the claim.
ii) CLAIMS DOCUMENTATION: All claims notified must be supported with documents that will enable the insurer process, access & and adjust the claim for settlement. It is a lot easier and less cumbersome to put the relevant supporting documents together where a broker is involved, as their expertise will be at the disposal of the insured claimant.
The documents required to support a claim normally would vary from the nature and type of claim i.e. fire, theft, accidental damage or Third party claims. Such documents will include among others:
a) Claim forms which is relevant in all cases must be completed, and are meant to furnish all relevant details and circumstances of the event or loss underlying a claim.
b) Estimates of Repairs in accidental damage cases.
c) Payment Receipts evidencing towing or recovery fees following an accident.
d) All vehicle particulars to ascertain ownership.
Vehicle purchase receipts in the event of fire & theft cases to ascertain original value and the year of purchase
e) Statement of claim from third parties in the event of death, bodily injury or third party property damage.
f) Police Report to ascertain genuineness and verify the circumstances.
It is always advisable and helpful to approach Insurers or handling Brokers for guidance on the approach and steps to adopt in processing of any claim, as a lot of time is saved in concluding a claim.
WHAT TO DO WHEN AN INSURANCE COMPANY IS DELAYING YOUR CLAIM
In the event of any delay in claims processing with an insurance company, the first step to take is to ascertain the cause of the delay, and find out if the claims have been fully documented or if there has been a breach of any of the contract/policy terms or conditions. Notwithstanding the findings, from the above enquiries, the insured or claimant has the following options of redress or pursuing their rights.
i) A formal report could be made to the relevant body of Insurers Trade Association-NIA that has in place an OMBUDSMAN panel saddled with the responsibility to investigate and resolve such cases.
– A formal report can also be made to the sectors Regulators-The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) that has always handled and resolved cases brought before the commission.
– The insured or claimant at his discretion can also institute a legal action in pursuance of their right under the motor insurance policy contract.
THE WAY FORWARD
It is high time for the insurers to place more emphasize on consumerism in their practice, whereby they go the extra mile in the packaging and delivery of their products and services to the ultimate satisfaction of their consumers. The adoption of after sales services to compliment their marketing strategies and efforts could be rewarding to all concerned. In like manner, the Nigerian insurance buying public should be a lot more proactive and willing to imbibe insurance education and awareness, while demanding for the utmost from their insurance services providers.