Understanding Auto Insurance in Nigeria: A Beginner’s Guide

Buying a car in Nigeria is something that so many Nigerians wish for, especially in this present economic situation. This time, anyone who has a car will truly take good care of it.

However, with ownership comes responsibility, including getting auto insurance. Many new car owners find auto insurance complicated and confusing initially.


This beginner’s guide provides a simple overview of auto insurance in Nigeria to help you make informed decisions.


Auto insurance provides financial protection against losses or damages to your vehicle. It covers the costs to repair or replace your car if it gets damaged in an accident, fire, theft or other covered event. Some policies also cover medical payments for injuries to you or your passengers.


Auto insurance is mandatory in Nigeria. The Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) Act requires all vehicles driven in Nigeria to be insured against third-party liability. This means the insurer will pay for injury or death claims if you cause an accident. Comprehensive insurance is optional but highly recommended as it also covers damage to your own vehicle.


There are three common car insurance policies in Nigeria:

  • Third party only – This basic plan covers bodily injury or death claims to a third party only. It does not cover any loss or damage to your own vehicle. This policy meets the legal requirement.
  • Third party, fire and theft – This plan covers third-party liability along with fire and theft claims. Accident damage to your vehicle is not covered.
  • Comprehensive – This is the most extensive policy. It combines third-party cover with protection for damage to your own vehicle from accidents, fire, theft, natural disasters and more. It’s the best value policy.


Your insurance premium is based on:

  • Vehicle: Newer and more expensive vehicles typically have higher premiums. Stuff like make, model and safety features also get factored in.
  • Coverage: Comprehensive policies are pricier than third-party only basic plans. Deductibles, add-ons and liability limits also impact cost.
  • Driver: Age, driving experience, record and location all affect premium pricing. Higher risk groups pay more.
  • Insurer: Rates and service quality differs across insurance providers. Get quotes from various companies before deciding.


The exact claims process varies by insurer but typically involves these key steps:

  1. Notify your insurer as soon as possible after the accident or incident. There are often strict time limits to report claims.
  2. Provide detailed facts about what happened along with supporting documents like police reports.
  3. Assessor inspects the damage and evaluates the repair costs covered by the policy.
  4. Insurer may settle a third-party injury or death claim directly or defend you if the amount demanded exceeds the policy limits.
  5. You pay the excess/deductible amount stated in your policy. Insurer settles the remaining covered loss directly with the repair shop.


Follow these tips to secure a competitive insurance rate:

  • Compare quotes from at least 3-4 leading national and local insurers. Online insurance aggregators also simplify rate comparisons.
  • Opt for higher voluntary excess levels to lower your premium.
  • Consider packaged plans that cover your car and home or life insurance too.
  • Inquire about discounts – for safety features like airbags and alarm systems or being claim-free for several years.


I’m pretty sure after reading this article up till this point, you would want to know the pros and cons of auto insurance in the country. Here is a highlight of the advantages and disadvantages:


  1. Financial protection in case of accidents: Auto insurance cushions you from unexpected repair bills and medical costs if your car gets damaged. Without insurance, even a minor accident can leave your finances in ruin.
  2. Coverage against theft and fire damage: Comprehensive policies cover the cost to replace your vehicle if it gets stolen or destroyed in a fire. This protection is extremely valuable given rising crime rates.
  3. Peace of mind: Knowing you have a safety net allows you to drive with greater confidence and peace of mind. Auto insurance lifts the financial stress of owning a valuable asset like a car.
  4. Ability to finance your vehicle easily: Banks and fincos mandatorily require you to insure cars bought on loan. Insurance is essential for availing financing facilities for your wheels.
  5. Fulfil legal obligations: Third party liability insurance meets the mandatory auto insurance laws in Nigeria. It keeps you compliant on the road.


  1. Additional recurring expense: Auto insurance premia add to your car running costs. The expenses drain your household budget and may seem like a waste if you don’t make any claims.
  2. Steep premiums for high-risk groups: Some drivers pay exceptionally high premiums due to age, location or claims history disadvantages. This makes owning a car difficult.
  3. Tedious claims process: Insurers have complex documentation and investigation norms for settling claims. The long delays and multiple follow-ups can be draining.
  4. Risk of insurers defaulting on claims: There have been instances of bogus insurers disappearing after collecting premia or rejecting policyholder claims unethically. This undermines trust.
  5. Limited coverage, several exclusions: Most policies come with sub-limits and exclusions that restrict payouts in some situations or leave damages uncovered. Read the fine print carefully.

Adding to these advantages and drawbacks, auto insurance in Nigeria has substantial benefits though higher awareness about policy pitfalls and insurer reliability is needed. Weigh the pros and cons as per your objectives and car model to make optimal insurance choices.


We hope this beginner’s guide offers useful insight into auto insurance in Nigeria – why you need it, how it works, what impacts premium pricing and how the claims process works.

Do your research, compare options and ask questions to find the right coverage at the best rates for your vehicle.

Maintaining continuous insurance is also essential for smooth renewals and hassle-free claims processing when you need it most after an accident.

Mfonobong Daniel

I am Daniel, a professional financial blogger, an insurance agent and financial adviser. Join me as I unravel and breakdown the mysteries behind insurance policies in Nigeria.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *