- What is insurance?
Insurance is an arrangement in which an insurance company compensates a person or a company for a specified loss caused by e.g. an accident, fire, injury, illness or death in return for an agreed amount of money paid in advance (this is called a premium). This compensation may also be made to a third party (e.g. if you knocked somebody down while you were driving or riding a motorcycle). If you have life assurance and you die, your family will be paid some money. Your vehicle or motorcycle must have insurance cover. Insurance only applies when you buy the insurance before any accident, damage, sickness, loss or death happens. An insurance company will not pay you if you buy insurance after the unfortunate event has happened.
The law provides that the insurer must compensate you for the losses within 60 days after you have informed them, as long as all the required documentation has been presented. The insurance policy is the contract or legal document that explains in detail under what situations and conditions the insurance company will pay you. There are different insurance policies for different types of risk. These include: fire, burglary, ill-health, loss of life and car accidents. You will only get paid if the loss is covered by the terms of a particular policy.An insurance broker can help you identify the right insurance policy for you. This is an individual or company that sells insurance policies and looks for clients interested in buying insurance policies. In addition, he or she negotiates insurance compensation for people who have bought insurance. You can also get information and advice on policies, licensed insurance companies, agents and brokers from the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA) at the following address:
Plot 5 Kyadondo Road
2nd Floor Block B Legacy Towers
P O BOX 22855 KAMPALA
- What types of insurance can you use?
- Life insurance is an agreement between an insurance company and an individual, where the insurer promises to pay a certain amount of money to your family or other designated beneficiaries when you die.
- Health Insurance covers certain medical costs as included in the insurance policy. Make sure you understand which medical conditions and services will be covered and up to which amount.
- Property Insurance provides protection against property damage. The person insured is given compensation when damage occurs to the particular property that had earlier been insured. An example is when your house burns down: In such a situation, the insurance company will provide compensation to enable you to replace the lost/damaged property.
- Liability Insurance provides you with insurance protection if you cause damage to someone's health or property. It only covers the other person's losses. Your person and your property are unprotected, but liability insurance protects you from being held responsible for the other person's damages. For example, if your building collapses as it is being constructed and hits a person who gets injured, this type of insurance will take care of the medical costs of that person. In addition, the insurance coverage will pay for the person's belongings that were damaged at the time of the accident.
- Disability Insurance provides protection to you in case you lose your job or are unable to work due to a disability as a result of an accident. If you are insured against disability, then the insurance company will compensate for your loss of earnings.
- Travel Insurance provides protection during travel against unexpected situations, such as sickness, injury, if you miss a flight because of reasons beyond your control or if you lose your luggage.
- Prepare for the unexpected
When you get insurance, you take away some of the financial risks of unexpected events. For example, market vendors who insure their goods will get back some of the money they will have lost if a fire burns the market down.
- Find the right policy
There are different insurance companies, which offer different policies such as insurance against fire, burglary, ill-health, loss of life and car accidents.
- Look for an insurance company that has the best service (“shop around”)
When trying to identify the best insurance company, consider their conditions, processes and the time it would take to have your compensation paid in case of death, theft, damage or loss of property. Get information from different insurance companies, agents, brokers and friends who have bought insurance or from the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA).
- Take the right steps to get your insurance policy
When you are ready to take insurance, these are the main steps to follow: • Contact a broker, agent or an insurance company.
- Talk to them about your insurance needs. Think carefully about the options, and then choose a policy that meets your needs.
- Give correct information about yourself for the insurance contract documents. If you don’t give the right information, the insurance company might not pay your claim.
- Carefully read the contract. Ask where you do not understand. Only sign when you are satisfied on all points – including the insurance cover and the premiums you will be paying.
- Pay your premium before you receive the insurance policy for which you are covered.
- Make a quick and honest claim
If you incur any loss covered by the insurance policy, inform your insurance company immediately. When making any claims, always tell the truth. If you tell lies, your claim will not be paid. It is a criminal offence to give wrong information. If the insurance company finds out that you wanted to cheat them, they will not pay your claim and they may take you to court.
Report thefts, accidents and other damages to the police before going to ask for compensation from the insurance company. For example, the insurance company may refuse to compensate you if you have no police report to confirm how the accident happened and what property was lost or damaged. For any claim, make sure you keep written proof (e.g. the medical costs and the police reference number). When you take a long time to report, you may forget or lose information that is important for the insurance company to calculate your compensation.
- Complain if you are treated unfairly
If you think that the insurance company has unfairly refused to compensate you, or has not given you enough compensation, you can complain to the insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to consider your complaint, or you consider that the insurance company has not responded fairly to your complaint, you can approach the complaints bureau at the Insurance Regulatory Authority of Uganda (IRA).