All owners and operators of passenger public service vehicles operating in Zimbabwe are required by the Road Traffic Act to have passenger liability insurance.

This is an insurance policy, which covers passengers’ death, permanent disability, medical or funeral expenses in the event of an accident involving a passenger public service vehicle.

Currently, compensation for death or permanent disability stands at $20 000 per passenger while medical or funeral expenses is $7 500 cumulatively.

However, vehicle owners and operators are required to pay the premium per passenger per year, upfront.

There is also an option to pay the premiums termly (i.e. every 4 months).

Usually, the cover can be directly purchased by the vehicle owner or operator from any short-term insurance company, which is registered with the Insurance and Pensions Commission in terms of the Insurance Act [Chapter 24:07]. In the event of an accident and there are injuries and/or death, the vehicle owner or operator should claim on behalf of the injured or deceased passengers, from the insurance company, which issued the policy.

The claim documents required when making such a claim include a claim form, death certificate, medical invoices, police report, and doctor’s report, depending on the nature of the claim.

As a passenger, you are urged to always check that the public transport vehicle you are using has a disc displayed on the windscreen, confirming the passenger insurance cover, the details of the insurer that issued the policy and the period of validity.

In the event that a vehicle without liability cover is involved in an accident, the owner or operator of the vehicle will be liable to use his/her own funds to meet the costs of any casualities from the accident.

Given that the vehicle had no liability cover at the time of the accident, there would be no insurance compensation available to the passenger or their surviving family.

This means that the persons making the claim will have to seek compensation directly from the owner or operator of the vehicle.