Sunday, October 18, 2009

Overland Vehicle Insurance

What insurance is needed for Africa?  In this blog, I provide an overview of third party insurance for a Tran-Africa trip.
A mandatory requirement for every country in Africa is third party insurance.  In theory, this insurance will cover you for any accidents that may occur.  In reality, it's essential cover that will provide evidence at each police check point but will probably not cover you legally if you opt to go to court.  In most accidents, financial settlement will be negotiated and payment made in cash to the third party.

Majority of the African countries are covered by two consortium's, namely, Ecowas Brown Card and the Comesa Yellow Card.

Ecowas Brown Card
Ecowas refers to The Economic Community Of West African States and covers fifteen countries. Wikipedia provide a list of all current and past countries.
The insurance is provided in the first country of entry and is valid from the entry date.  Payment is usually in CFA or the equivalent Euro.
The Brown Card replaces the original Grey Card.  In some remote border posts, the police might refer to the insurance as Grey Card.

The following examples are from the BigSky Adventures 2005 overland trip.

Front Cover

First Page

List of Countries as per the insurance booklet.

Comesa Yellow Card
Comesa refers to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Wikipedia provide a list of the current and past member states.  Payment is usually in the local currency at the first border post or in US Dollars.

The following is an example from BigSky Adventures.

Other Countries
I don't have records of all the other countries we passed through but have the following:

A few EU countries provide third party insurance for Morocco.  Alternatively, insurance may be purchased at the first border crossing.  The process is relatively confusing but once at the correct office, the forms are simple if you have a copy of your vehicle documentation.


I have a copy of the Zambian vehicle insurance but also remember buying the Comesa insurance.  Additional clarification is required so double check prior at the border.

Vehicle Resume
One tip I was given was to create a English / French Vehicle Resume. We printed off about 100 copies and used them at each border, and police checkpoint.  It saves plenty of time and often the Police are happy to take the piece of paper rather than write the details down.
An example is provided below:

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