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What are the Laws Governing Auto Insurance in Jamaica?

What are the Laws Governing Auto Insurance in Jamaica? || Answered By Kadian Clarke, Associate Writer

In Jamaica, it is legally required that all motor vehicles be insured, whether or not it is a personal, commercial or public passenger vehicle.

(You can find a downloadable copy of the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third-Party Risks) Act here.

But...

What is Auto Insurance?


An auto insurance is an agreement made between you (the policy holder) and the insurance company (the insurer).

Upon a premium payment, the insurance company is responsible for paying you a particular sum also known as claim payment or benefit, in the event of an accident.

This means, if you have an accident, resulting in loss or damage to third party vehicles, personal injuries, or properties, your insurance policy will protect you from all legal liabilities.

Moreover, depending on the premium you have, damage to your vehicle may be covered despite the liability.

And even though car insurance is mandatory in Jamaica, there are additional benefits of insuring your motor vehicle.

These benefits are:


  • fulfilling other legal requirement, such as mortgage or lien.
  • Protection of assets.
  • Managing risk costs effectively; and
  • Quick recovery from a loss.


If you own a motor vehicle that is already insured, chances are, you may have been in an accident at least once. Or, perhaps you are among the very few who have never had an accident before, congrats.

Regardless of which category you are in, it is wise to know what laws govern auto insurance in Jamaica.

So, to better understand your rights and responsibilities, I will now categorize the guidelines and requirements of a motor vehicle claim for you now.

And by the way, this caters to all motor vehicle uses.

The claims process can be broken down in two categories. Notification and Settlement.

Notification Guidelines


Be sure to report accident within 24 hours of occurrence to the police station closest to you.

Also, notify your insurer within 30 days even if you are not at fault. This will allow for a smooth processing of your claim.

Upon receipt of claim, an insurer must:

  • Record the activities undertaken pursuant to the claims process;
  • Respond to you in writing or by telephone within five business days
  • Explain whether the claim is covered by your policy; and also
  • Provide you with an explanation of the claims process including the required documentation and reports.


And then the...

Payment Guidelines for Claims



  • After reviewing the completed documents, the insures shall explain how the claim will be settled.
  • If a claim is rejected or insurance company offers to pay a sum different from the amount claimed, you must obtain written explanation.
  • Insurer must make payments to you or the relevant third party or organization within five days of the receipt of a signed release.
  • You must be provided with a release form to sign, which details what will be done.
  • In the case where guidelines are breached by insurers, a mediation such a lawyer or claims negotiator can help you settle all disputes.
  • You can also utilize the services of the Resident Magistrates Court without a lawyer to take further actions on your behalf.

    Please note however that motor insurance contracts offer protection on the basis that the person driving is the holder of a driver's licence or other permit which is valid and currently in force.

    If the driver at fault does not have valid licence, the third party insurer has the right to avoid liability.


Note also, that motor insurance policies have to follow another law. This is The Motor Vehicles Insurance Third-Party Risks Act.

N.B. It is important to note however that, according to an article in the Jamaica Gleaner by Cedrick Stephens (August 10, 2008), Insurance Never Covers Everything.

Reputable Insurance Companies


Is your vehicle insured? Here is a short list of reputable insurance companies and brokers in Jamaica you may want to consider using.


  • Sarifa Insurance Brokers Limited
  • Advantage General Insurance Company
  • ICWI
  • Key Insurance Company Limited
  • BCIC
  • JN General Insurance
  • Marathon Insurance Brokers


I hope this was helpful!

Be sure to read more on the Auto Insurance Law in Jamaica at this Gleaner Article.

To view the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third-Party Risks) Act click here.

To view the wider Jamaica Insurance Act, click here.


References:

•Auto Insurance. (n.d) Retrieved from Advantage General Inssurance Company Limited.
https://www.advantagegeneral.com/Auto

•Auto Insurance. (n.d) Retrieved from Advantage General Inssurance Company Limited.
https://www.advantagegeneral.com/Claims/The-Motor-Claim

•Stephens, C. (2008, August 10). Insurance never covers everything. Retreived from Jamaica Gleaner.
http://old.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20080810/business/business6.html

•Market Conduct Guidelines on Best Practice for Motor Insurance Claims. Retreived from Financial Services Commission. (2014, September 08).

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