Car Insurance for Foreigners in South Africa

In South Africa, it is mandatory for every car, including foreign vehicles, to have insurance coverage. The law stipulates that the minimum required level of car insurance is the Third Party Only insurance. For foreigners or expats driving in South Africa, the need for insurance coverage is not only a legal requirement but also a practical necessity.

To get a car insurance with a foreign licence, you will need to obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) if your driving licence is not in English. While the IDP is not a licence itself, it is a crucial document to possess, as some insurers may request it in the event of an accident. This ensures compliance with regulations and facilitates a smoother process in case you need to make an insurance claim.

You may be also interested to read our article on Short Term Car Insurance in South Africa

Types of Car Insurance in South Africa

The most basic form of coverage in South Africa is the Third Party Only insurance. This type of insurance provides protection against damage or injury caused to third parties. While this meets the legal requirement, many individuals opt for more comprehensive coverage to safeguard their own vehicles against potential damages.

Here are types of car insurance in South Africa:

  • Third-party cover: The most basic, providing for damage caused to another person’s car or property in an accident you’re responsible for.
  • Third-party, fire and theft (TPFT): Adds coverage for your car in case of fire, theft, or lightning damage.
  • Comprehensive: The most extensive, covering damage to your car in any accident, regardless of fault, along with TPFT benefits.

How to Insure a Foreign Car in South Africa

Foreigners can acquire car insurance in South Africa with some additional considerations:

  • Valid Driving Licence: Your home country’s licence may suffice; check with individual insurers. If an expat or foreigner’s driving licence is not in English, obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) becomes necessary. While the IDP is not a substitute for a licence, it can be a crucial document, particularly in the event of an accident, as some insurers may request it for claims processing.
  • Proof of Identity and Residence: Passport and proof of address in South Africa are typically required.
  • No-Claims Bonus: If you have a clean driving record in your home country, ask about transferring it for a potential premium discount.

Getting insurance for foreign cars is usually hectic. You will notice that even getting and insurance cover for a vehicle you have imported from Japan like Toyota is challenging. It becomes even more complicated, especially if the car is left-hand drive.

If the car has a registration from another country, the insurers tend to avoid insuring the vehicle. This is because of some limitations that the law places o foreign cars. However, there are car insurance companies that are dedicated to insuring foreign cars. If you want to insure a foreign car, you will need to first consult with foreign car insurers. These insurers mostly offer Third Party Only car insurance for foreigners to insure third parties.

The reason why car insurances refrain from insuring foreigner’s car is that most parts may not be readily available in South Africa in case of a breakdown. As such, they may need to import such parts. This is expensive and that is why most insurers avoid insuring foreign cars.

Secondly, some foreign cars are left-hand drive, making them at higher risk. South African cars are right-hand drive. Due to their (left-hand drive cars) increased risk of collisions, car insurers avoid insuring them. Besides, foreign cars are usually a target by thieves. Car theft is very common in South Africa. Those car insurance companies that offer insurance for foreign cars charge high premiums due to such high risks.

Car Insurance Companies for Foreign Cars

Third party insurance in South Africa. The Road Accident Fund (RAF) provides compensation to those injured in motor vehicle accidents, the person responsible for the accident (whether a South African national or a foreign driver) is also indemnified against any claims for compensation for bodily injury. Every time you purchase petrol or diesel in South Africa, you automatically contribute to the fund. Third party liability damage to vehicles and property are not covered.

In South Africa, a number of reputable insurers extend car insurance options to foreigners and expats. You can opt for direct insurers who engage directly with clients or brokers who compare quotes and providing advice on suitable policies sourced from various insurance providers.

The following are some companies that can help you insure your foreign car in South Africa.


Outsurance, a prominent player in the South African insurance landscape, stands out for its diverse range of car insurance products, including specialized car insurance designed for expats and foreigners residing in the country. Outsurance provides features like 24/7 claims assistance and convenient online policy management. While the premiums may be comparatively higher than those of budget providers, the potential offset lies in the extensive coverage and exceptional customer service.

If your vehicle isn’t registered in South Africa, Outsurance can only provide 3rd party cover and only once the vehicle is registered in South Africa they can assist with comprehensive.

MiWay Car Insurance

MiWay is a reputable and customer-centric insurance provider that provide car insurance to both locals and foreigners, including expatriates. Whether you’re a long-term resident or a newcomer to the country, MiWay offers flexible car insurance solutions.

One notable feature that sets MiWay apart is its user-friendly approach to insurance. Foreigners and expats will appreciate the convenience of the MiWay mobile app, which allows easy access to policy information, claims status, and other essential services right from their smartphones.

MiWay also recognizes the importance of simplicity and efficiency, especially for individuals who may be unfamiliar with local insurance processes. The online application process offered by MiWay is designed to be straightforward and user-friendly. Foreigners and expats can easily get quotes, customize their coverage options, and complete the application process without unnecessary complications.

Santam Car Insurance

Santam Car Insurance is one of the biggest insurance providers in South Africa. Their user-friendly mobile app makes it easy for policyholder, including foreigners and expatriates, to manage insurance on the go, offering quick access to policy details and claims updates. The streamlined online application process simplifies obtaining quotes and customizing coverage, making it suitable for those unfamiliar with local procedures. Santam’s flexible coverage options cater to the unique needs of foreigners, ensuring the right level of protection for both temporary and extended stays.

King Price

King Price is renowned for providing cost-effective car insurance in South Africa. For foreigners and expatriates, King Price can be an attractive choice. It’s important to note that King Price does not offer car insurance for individuals with a foreign licence unless the driver possesses a valid international driving permit or the driving licence issued in their home country is in English (or translated into English by the authorities of that country). Any individual residing permanently in South Africa must obtain a South African licence within one year of becoming a permanent resident.

Clemants Worldwide

Clements Worldwide offers international car insurance. International car insurance is a car insurance that protects your car when you drive it in a foreign country. This is ideal for expats or people who work abroad who want to use their cars abroad. Instead of getting a car insurance for foreign vehicles in South Africa, you can purchase international car insurance. Normal car insurance from your country won’t work in South Africa.

Clements Worldwide provides a comprehensive international car insurance solution tailored for expatriates in various countries, including South Africa. The cover eliminates the inconvenience of acquiring a new policy when relocating to a different country. The car insurance for expats in South Africa encompass essential features such as physical damage coverage, excess liability coverage, and third-party liability.

Obtaining Best Car Insurance for Expats and Foreigners in South Africa

Obtaining car insurance as an expat or foreigner in South Africa requires a thoughtful approach, research, thorough comparison, and a clear understanding of specific requirements. By approaching this process well-informed, you can secure the best coverage tailored to your needs.

It is crucial to acknowledge that the information provided here is not a substitute for professional insurance advice. To gain a deeper understanding of your unique needs and explore the full spectrum of options available, it is advisable to consult with a reputable insurance provider. This ensures that your coverage aligns perfectly with your circumstances, allowing you to navigate South Africa’s roads with confidence and security.