How to check if your car insurance is legit

Lynn Prins

It is an unfortunate reality that we live in a world where scammers spend their days thinking up schemes to defraud people of their money.

One increasingly common scam involves the sale of counterfeit car insurance to unsuspecting consumers. This scheme may appear genuine, but it is intended to trick consumers into paying for auto insurance coverage that is invalid or doesn’t exist.

For this very reason, many have a distrust when it comes to insuring their car with an insurance company, despite the fact that it is mandatory. According to Nigeria’s National Insurance Institute Database (NIID), there are over eight million uninsured drivers on the road and only two million legally insured drivers. 

Five ways to verify your car insurance or identify if you have been scammed;

Vehicle Inspection Officials (VIO) posing as sales agents:

VIO employees have been caught previously selling fake insurance certificates to drivers. VIO officials may seem legit, especially if they wear a company uniforms, however, they are only authorised to inspect your car and have no authority to sell you insurance certificates.

If it’s NOT licensed, it’s NOT legit:

To find out whether your insurance is authentic, visit the NAICOM website to find out if the company you are dealing with is a registered financial service provider. NAICOM will only list authorised insurance companies and is a highly useful tool if you feel unsure about choosing an insurance company. Buying insurance from a registered and authorised insurance company is a sure-fast way to ensure you will not get ripped off.

Doing business with an unauthorised insurance company is considered a highly dangerous move as fake insurance policies will not pay out if you are involved in an accident. What is more, police officers are now using mobile technology to check insurance policies. If your insurance is not legit, you could be sitting with a hefty fine and one year jail time if caught.

You can check up on your policy via mobile phone:

After you purchase your insurance policy, send an SMS to NAICOM’s help line at 33125. Use the following format: policy number* license plate number. After you send the SMS, you will receive a message indicating whether or not your vehicle is insured. Alternatively you can visit www.askniid.org and lookup your vehicle on the site.

If it’s not there, it’s not insured. The Nigerian police use the same system to verify vehicle insurance, so be sure that your car is listed there before you hit the road.

Look for sloppiness in the paperwork:

If you have received documentation from the insurance company, check for misspellings, typos and obvious grammatical errors as these are all tell-tale signs of a potentially phony policy.

Agents who make dubious requests:

Does the agent request cash only? Does he/she want the cheque made out directly to him/her instead of the insurance company? Such requests are usually big red flags.

It is important to take note of all the factors that make up your car insurance quote. Scam artists are only to pleased to catch you when  it is clear you have not checked your insurance policy thoroughly.

4 thoughts on “How to check if your car insurance is legit”

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