If you’re traveling through Africa by car, bus, motor or a 4×4 you can opt for getting a local car insurance in every single country. Since this is a cumbersome and time-consuming process the better alternative is to buy a Comesa. It’s also known as the yellow card insurance. Comesa is a so-called ‘regional third party motor vehicle insurance’. Countries that are covered are Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The most hectic border crossing
Since we had a car with a South African license plate and we had third party insurance in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana we only had to think about insurance when we crossed the border into Zambia. The Kazungula border post was the most hectic crossing we’ve had so far. You leave Kasane using a ferry across the Chobe river. Once you’re on the ferry dozens of ‘fixers’ want to guide you through customs and help you with an insurance. If you’re here for the first time you can use a little help since you have to go to seven different counters before you’re allowed into the country. At the last counter you can choose to buy third party car insurance. The only downside though is that you can’t pick the specific company you want to get insurance from. These guys rotate every couple of weeks in this building.
A possible fine
Some people decided not to get insurance at the border. They do this because you can only get a Comesa insurance from the company you bought the local Zambian insurance from. You do risk getting a fine though since local policemen checked us just after we entered the country.
Let’s get a Comesa in Livingstone!
After we relaxed a bit in Livingstone it was time to get this yellow card, the Comesa. We ended up with a company called Diamond Insurance. Since this was another agent than the guys at the border post we had to buy another local insurance before getting our Comesa. Since the Comesa isn’t valid in the country where you getting it this was something we simply had to do. When we got a Comesa for 6 months we had to pay about 80 euro. Before you leave please check your Comesa to see if the starting date and the expiry date are correct (we learned this the hard way).
Comesa is mandatory
During our trip we were asked for our Comesa on multiple occasions. Often they asked for our insurance at one of the countless police roadblocks. The only country where we had an issue with our Comesa was in Zimbabwe. They didn’t acknowledge our insurance and we had to buy yet another one. I do have the feeling that this was just because the guy at the border post wanted to earn some extra money… It’s still Africa after all ;-).