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Motor Third Party Insurance Faces Test As VIO Rams Into Private Car by Canonspace: 5:26pm On Sep 20, 2022
You're probably aware that you need to have motor third-party insurance to drive on the roads in Nigeria, but do you know what this type of insurance actually covers?

So I walked into the VIO headquarters at Mabushi District, Municipal in the FCT to renew my vehicle particulars. I was referred to the vehicle licensing office. I met a small queue and waited patiently for my turn. After a while, I was called into the cubicle where the officer asked me to tender photocopies of my expiring documents. I did. After entering the information on the AUTOREG vehicle database, I was asked to proceed with payment.

The entire process took a little less than thirty minutes. In the end, I was issued with a new;

1. General Motor Receipt
2. Roadworthiness certificate,
3. A sticker, and
3. Insurance document.

While perusing through the papers to see if there was anything new or out of the ordinary, the car insurance document caught my attention. On it, the inscriptions "Certificate of Insurance" "Third Party Insurance" and "Third Party Only" are boldly written. Though vehicle particulars are documents I am somewhat conversant with. Before now, I had never taken the time to read through this insurance document to ascertain its coverage and limitations.

Motor Third Party Insurance: what it really is

The Motor Third Party Insurance is a compulsory class of insurance for all vehicle owners in Nigeria. It is the most popular among six compulsory insurance policies stipulated by the insurance Act 2003, which is still the template guiding insurance operation in Nigeria.

In other words, Motor Third Party Insurance is the minimum level of vehicle insurance cover you are required by law to take before putting your vehicle on the road. It is a legal requirement and is meant to protect the other (third) party on the road whose vehicle you may damage.

Who is the third party?

The term, ‘third-party' refers to a person involved with a car insurance claim who is not the holder of the policy or the driver. So, this is usually the other party involved in an accident.

In essence, the third-party car insurance policy ensures that if you are responsible for an accident, any damage to the other person’s vehicle or property will be paid for by your insurer.

Misconceptions about the third-party motor insurance policy

Before now, I had assumed that the Motor third-party Insurance Certificate provides some form of coverage for my vehicle in the event of an accident. But that's far from the case.

And I don't think I am alone in this misconception. Many other vehicle owners misunderstand, misinterpret, or are outrightly ignorant of the terms stated in this policy document.

Many vehicle owners take this policy to be comprehensive motor insurance and as such, when their vehicles are involved in an accident, they will present their Motor Third Party Insurance certificate to the insurance company demanding repair. According to Industry sources, some vehicle owners also proceed to file for claims if their vehicle gets stolen or burnt.

Where insurance firms fail to pay in any of the above cases, the claimant will take it that the insurance managers have denied him his claims.

Insurance firms on the other hand have been cashing out hugely from the ignorance of vehicle owners who aren't equipped with the right information to file genuine claims. Their arrogance stems from the fact that this type of insurance is a basic requirement by law, and vehicle owners have little to no power to select a company of preference.


VIO issued third-party vehicle insurance: a fraud?

Many vehicle owners in Nigeria say they have been denied their rightful funds when they are involved in accidents and file for a claim on third-party motor insurance.

But Kolawole Abass – who was involved in an accident disagrees. He claims a second party had used his third-party insurance policy to access funds to repair his (Kolawole's) vehicle.

Kolawole Abass is a regular shuttle bus driver along the Berger-Ikeja route – an artery he plied almost seamlessly for about two years until August 20, 2021, when he was involved in a collision.

Hardly had he started work that morning when his yellow commercial bus popularly known as danfo had a brake failure along Obafemi Awolowo Way, Ikeja, and rammed into an interstate Toyota Hiace bus from the rear.

The impact resulted in major damage to the Hiace bus’ bumper and windshield. Abass was transfixed, brooding over the monumental loss he had incurred.

True to his fear, the cost of repairing the bus was estimated at N250,000 which was way above the means of the father of four whose family depends on his daily income.

According to the report, Abass was running around to raise money to repair the damaged bus when a relative drew his attention to the third-party motor insurance policy he had obtained five months earlier for N7,500.

The relation told him the policy could work wonders and relieved him of the burden of repairing the Hiace bus, but he found the claim pretty incredulous.

On the guidance of his relation, Abass reluctantly reached out to his insurer via the number on his insurance certificate and was put through the process to make a claim. All along, he took the assurance that the company would take up the repair cost after necessary documentation and verification with a pinch of salt.

“My relation helped me to send pictures of my vehicle and that of the Hiace bus taken at the scene to the insurance company,” Abass recalled in Yoruba.

“We also submitted the particulars of the two vehicles and a police report. The company then asked for the repair cost and in about two weeks, the money was paid. I was extremely happy,” he said, flashing a broad smile.

“That was how I managed to avoid a debt that would have taken me many months to settle. I only borrowed money to fix my vehicle which the insurance doesn’t cover.”

The Hiace bus owner, Deji Ajisafe, confirmed Abass’ account to our correspondent. He admitted that until the accident occurred, he never knew third-party auto insurance was that beneficial.

The Truth will be laid bare in the coming days

Earlier today while writing this article, I came across a news item that has a direct bearing on this story. VIO Officials who were in a hot chase of a Golf Car took a one-way street driving against traffic and accidentally rammed into an oncoming Toyota Corolla car at Federal Housing Bus Stop, Lugbe, ABUJA.

This case is particularly interesting for two reasons;

1. The VIO -- a government agency that issues third-party motor insurance is directly involved and is clearly at fault.

2. The third party who might have sustained injury and whose vehicle has been damaged is asking for compensation.

Would the VIO file for a claim?

Would the insurance company grant the claim? and

Would the insurer indemnify the victim in terms of repairs and other forms of compensation?

Or would the case go as far as the Victim exploring the legal option in court?

Let's wait and see the outcome.

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