How To Find The Right Insurance Policy To Save You Money

Compare annual rates

Before you settle on a cover, take your time to compare prices with other insurers. This will help you ascertain that you are getting the best deal. Many insurance companies give guidelines on available services and stipulated prices. You can also use online insurance comparison tools before settling on a policy. 

Pick a trusted insurer

When picking out an insurance company, take time to conduct research and read user reviews so as to know more about the company. A top-rated insurance company will tend to have better services, fair rates and process claim issues faster.

Set a good deductible rate

To avoid paying more money from your own pocket in case of an accident, set a higher deductible. This will also help you save up to 40% especially if you have never caused an accident.

Regularly review your insurance cover

Life is unpredictable. Every day you are on the road is a gamble. Therefore, review your insurance cover regularly to confirm that you have sufficient liability coverage for both property damage and bodily harm. Having minimal coverage equates to minimal protection.

Update the company on reduced mileage

In case you are not using your car as frequently as you used to, alert your policy provider. You could have lost your job, changed jobs or are just working from home but telling your policy provider may help you bargain for a lower premium thus saving you some money.

Be watchful during car repair services

After an accident, be alert when your insurance company recommends a car repairs shop for you. Some mechanics may give you fake spare parts that are not durable or even a good fit for your car. This may lead to yet another accident that may cost you your life.

Pick the right car

One of the major determining factors for the price of auto insurance is car damage and cost of repairs. When shopping for a new car, research and compare data on collision by car models. The new car dealerships usually have a booklet on relative collision insurance rates. Pick a car that suffers the least damage in case of an accident. It may cost more but it is also safer to own and allows you to have a lower premium.

Be wary of scammers

In Kenya, especially Nairobi, con men are always out to rip you off. People can stage fake accidents that can result in insurance claims against you. To avoid being conned, avoid bad driving habits. Maintain good driving practices like maintaining a good distance between your car and the one in front of you. In case you are involved in an accident take clear pictures and alert the police instantly.

Common Red Flags When Buying a Used Car

Whenever you are ready to buy a car, you want to make sure that you are making the right purchase. Here are some red flags you should look out for.

Funky smell in the car

Buying a brand new car comes with a lot of nice things such as the new car smell. When you settle for a used car, chances are you will not get to experience this smell. However, this does not mean that you should settle for a car with a funky smell. A car that has been damaged by water or floods will tend to have a mouldy or musty smell emanating from the interiors. Insurance companies consider cars that have been damaged by floods a total loss to insure considering the fact that all systems may have been ruined by water. Additionally, the smell is just not inviting.

Bad paintwork

No used car comes without a history which unfortunately includes accidents. This is normal and unavoidable but how the former owner handled the repairs after the accident is what could present a problem. If the car owner tried to cut costs and visited a bad mechanic, it may show in parts of the cars among them, the paintwork. If the technician did a bad job, the paint may be mismatched all over the car. This is a clear indication that the owner did not take care of the car. Ask the seller for repairs documentation to learn more about the condition of the car.

Scam sellers

Never pay for a car you have not seen and inspected. In Kenya, a lot of lazy people are trying to dupe people day in day out. Try not to fall prey to these people. If you are purchasing a used car, be wary of a seller who doesn’t want you to test car aspects such as the air conditioning or the infotainment features. 

Extremely low prices

An overpriced car with high mileage is not a good pick but a car that is underpriced could also be a red flag. It’s possible the seller may be looking for a way to dispose of the car too fast meaning there is an underlying problem. You can choose to have it carefully looked at by a good mechanic or skip out on it completely.

New Drivers: What not to do

Buying a vehicle is a big achievement for many, especially first-time owners. However, there are peculiar driving habits that many drivers acquire over time, that eventually take a toll on their vehicle and subsequently dent their wallets.

Drive with handbrake engaged

Sometimes we get preoccupied and distracted by daily activities. Many drivers drive off without disengaging the handbrake. What happens is that we damage the drum-brake horseshoe linings and the parking pawl trigger, thus the handbrake loses its effectiveness when you need it most, e.g during uphill starts. Newer vehicles have electronic park brakes that disengage automatically when you drive off without disengaging the handbrake.

Running with low fuel

In Kenya, this is known as ‘I know my car’ phenomenon. We always assume that we know how much fuel is in the tank and what distance it will take to empty. Normally a low fuel indicator lights up when fuel is at a tenth level and the average distance is about 60 kilometres. The reason why it lights up at this mark is because the fuel level is way below the required level to cool the immersed fuel pump.  If you keep driving on low regularly, the pump will overheat and eventually fail.

Revving a cold engine

Before you drive off, let your car idle for a minute, as it helps distribute oil throughout the crankcase and engine.  Idling gets the engine block up to temperature; therefore, sudden revving the engine can cause damage. Cold revving causes abrupt temperature changes that create stress between the engine’s tight-fitting components. Simply give it 60 seconds before you get on the road, and everything will have warmed up for efficient performance.

Riding the clutch

If you drive a car with manual transmission, ‘riding the clutch’ is the most common form of abuse on the drivetrain. This entails resting your leg partially on the clutch while the car is in gear. Also, keeping the clutch in when you’re stopped causes its surfaces to scrape against each other, wearing them out and creating the possibility of failure. It also can cause damage to the release bearing, release arm, and pressure plate. Use the clutch only to engage and disengage drive at all times to avoid costly repair bills on the clutch and pressure plate assembly.

Driving with coolant at a low position

Check your coolant level on a weekly basis to avoid damage to your vehicle’s radiator. The coolant liquid has a high boiling point hence it is used to cool down the engine block via the pressurized cooling system. If you run the car with no coolant the results will be devastating as you will damage the cylinder head gasket and potentially damage the water pump. If you notice the coolant level is dipping regularly, it indicates a leak in the system or the radiator has a hole. Ask your mechanic to do a radiator and hose inspection every time you service your vehicle.

New Vs Used Cars

First-time car buyers may be confused in either purchasing a new or used car. With tons of financing options available, does it make sense to pick a new car over a grey import one? 

Duty

Used Cars: These cars attract less duty hence are affordable to the majority of the working population. The boom of the middle class has led financing institutions like Saccos and banks to target this segment for growth.

New cars:  attract high duty and taxes from the Government, hence the cost price is steep and subsequently locks out a huge chunk of the population.

That’s in comparison to lack of warranties when it comes to grey imports.

Tropicalization

New Cars: If you intend to buy a new car from an authorized dealer, then you will definitely get a vehicle that is tropicalized from the factory and is able to cope with our road conditions.

Therefore, cars that are brought into the country do not require any form of modification, thus offer great savings to the owner.

Used cars: unfortunately, are sourced in developed countries where severity levels are low. This means that the car comes with a softer suspension system and high fuel grade systems, just but to name a few things.

Financing

New Cars: Most accredited lending institutions are able to give you up 100% finance to new car buyers, depending on credit rating and also the fact new cars come with a warranty. The risk is way lower than that of a used vehicle.

Used Cars: Asset finance institutions are weary of the grey import sector as it is a high-risk venture to them. Since grey imports lack warranties, it’s hard for them to offer customers a line of credit easily.

However, the growth of the insurance industry has made banks attract grey import buyers, insulating themselves from default by taking insurance over loans issued. This has led to competition between banks, enticing the consumer with asset finance packages that are hard to resist.

Warranty

New Cars: All new vehicles come with a manufacturer guaranteed warranty on paintwork, mechanical and drivetrain of the vehicle. Should any issue arise in the form of a defective part in the operation of the vehicle, the dealer is obliged to sort that issue at no cost to the owner.

Used Cars: Grey imports brought into Kenya are about 7 years old, past their warranty mandate, if anything is to happen to the vehicle, the owner takes full liability and that is costly.

For example, certain Volkswagen models have transmission problems, when they arrive in Kenya. Unsuspecting customers buy these cars only to incur transmission issues later and they bear the cost of expensive repairs.

Importing a Used Car in Kenya – Rules & Regulations

If you are planning to import a used car in Kenya then you need to know these rules for importing used Japanese cars in Kenya in order to buy a suitable used car as per your needs.

The rules are listed below:

  1. Cars should not be more than 8 years old. The law is very strict about this, according to the Kenya Bureau of Standards KS 1515:2000.
  2. There is one port of entry for imported used cars from Japan or other countries, and the Port is Mombasa. You will have to pay an import declaration fee (IDF) of KSH 5000/= or 2.25%, whichever is higher, of the CIF (cost, insurance, and freight) value paid on the vehicle. Customs will then calculate the custom rates applicable depending on the value of the vehicle.
  3. The car imported in Kenya must be the Right-hand drive. Left-hand drive vehicles are not allowed for registration
  4. The used car must pass a safety and mechanical inspection.

What to Consider when Buying a Second Hand Car in Kenya

Budget

It is not about how much you can spend but the reasonable price of the car that meets your needs.

Therefore, it is important to visit various car dealers  to compare the car prices and make the best decision on the market value of the particular car.

You can also check the car prices online from various car dealers who have their products on their website.

It is advisable to bargain depending on the age and conditions of the car, you can purchase it at a lower price if you have the negotiation skills.

Imported or Locally Used?

That’s a dilemma you have to solve before deciding on other things. An imported second-hand car will get the upper hand given that it is cheaper even with the added taxes. However, it could be frustrating to wait for months for the car to get cleared through the ports.

A locally used car will cost higher but you can get your hands on it almost immediately. Although, be careful that it is not stolen or in a bad shape that needs lots of repair work.

Availability of Spare Parts

It will be less stressful when you choose a  car model that has spare parts available at the local car dealer shops or garage.

If your choice is Toyota, it will be better for you to choose the following models; Nissan, Volkswagen, Range Rover, KIA or Subaru.

Paperwork Details

It is important for you to check the  paperwork, It will be critical for you  to know the details of the previous car owner.

Conducting car online search and verifying the information on the logbook , gives you a stress free process of you buying  the second hand car from the car supermarket.

The car dealer will help  you in accessing the vehicle search history report, which will indicate if the car has a car ownership mishap.

Test Drive

It is advisable for you to take the car for a test drive.

While doing the drive, check for these key things;

  • Are the seats comfortable?
  • Is it possible to adjust the seat easily?
  • How is the mirror visibility?
  • Do you have enough legroom?
  • How much cargo space is there ?
  • The backs seats, are they comfortable?
  • Do you hear any weird noises coming from the car?