8 things to consider when travelling across border in your car



The recent controversy surrounding fugitives travelling across the border under suspicious circumstances might have you wondering what things you need to consider when driving your car across the border.

Like with all travel, many things may be out of your control, however, taking a step back to plan for unforeseen events could make a huge difference to save you stress and potential losses.

As a law abiding citizen, here are several touch points to consider when preparing to drive abroad so that you and your car can be protected.

1. Cross-border letter

It’s your responsibility as the driver to inform your insurer of your intended travel, and it’s the insurer’s responsibility to inform you of what you will be covered for in the event of an accident, a breakdown, or a car getting stolen in the country you’re driving to.

According to head of MiWay Blink, Keletso Mpisane, your insurance policy has perils that apply to the country you reside in and the cross-border letter lets you know what you are covered for once you are in another country.

“The risk factors insured against generally differ from country to country. For example, the crime rate and conditions of roads are different in countries, which affects the risk of insuring your car,” said Mpisane.

2. Security check

Another reason the cross-border letter is required is for safety and security reasons, with the government requiring them to control the entry and exit of cars via the border gates.

“At MiWay Blink your cross border letter is readily available under the Your Documents tab on the app,” advises Mpisane.

3. Ask questions if you are not sure

The availability of perils like cross-border insurance, third-party liability and overall cover may differ, which is also why it’s important for your insurer to know before you drive out of the country. These differ from insurer to insurer and policy to policy. It’s your responsibility to study your policy in order to understand your cover.

4. Notify your financier

Just as you should notify your insurer, it is also your responsibility to notify your car financier, which is normally a bank, if the car is still under finance.

“Though we love our cars, the truth is that until we pay them off, they are not ours. You are legally required to inform the legal owner of the car if you are to drive it outside of the country and there should be confirmation of permission being granted,” she adds.

5. Authorisation from the rental company, if you are renting

If you are travelling in a rental, you need a letter of authority from the car hire company for the same reason as you’d need to notify the bank, for example, if it’s under finance.

6. Study the regions you’ll be driving through internationally

Research the quality of the infrastructure and whether roadside assistance would be available in the area you are visiting.

“Make sure that your car is safe to drive and always have with you, your emergency tools such as a first-aid kit, a reflector triangle, a jack, pump and a spare wheel,” said Mpisane.

7. Valid legal documents

Just as in any other case, you need a valid driver’s license. You also need a valid passport or visa, and one for each of your passengers if you are tag-teaming the trip.

8. Certified registration papers

The car you are travelling with has to be proven as legally allowed to be on the road, meaning it is not stolen or not roadworthy.

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