Are you looking forward to relaxing on a Mozambican beach, enjoying a secluded desert safari in Namibia, exploring the Okavango Delta in Botswana, or visiting family in Zimbabwe?

Whichever border you’ll be driving across these holidays, it’s important to make sure your paperwork is in order, and that includes your cross-border letter.

Why do you need a cross-border letter?

There are a couple of reasons why you need a cross-border letter. In a bid to crackdown on vehicle theft, the government has implemented safety measures to ensure that all cars crossing the South African border are legitimately leaving and returning to the country. A cross-border letter also proves that you have the required insurance to drive the car in the country you’re travelling to.

What does a border letter include?

A cross-border letter will state what kind of vehicle insurance you have and whether or not your car is covered in the country you’re travelling to. It’s extremely important to check that your vehicle is covered before leaving South Africa, as some countries may hold you personally liable for any damage your vehicle might cause. This letter also helps to prove that you legitimately own the vehicle and aren’t trying to illegally take it across the border.

How do you get a cross-border letter?

You would need to request one from the insurer. You would need to stipulate the date you are leaving as well as the date you will return. Ensure that you read the terms & conditions of your insurance policy which will stipulate which borders you have cover in, as well as what is covered. For e.g. Some companies may only cover own damages. This means that there will only be cover for your vehicle, there will be no third party cover.

What other documents do you need to cross a border?

In addition to having a cross-border letter from your insurance company, there are some other documents you should have with you if you want a smooth border-crossing.

  • Passports for you and your passengers.
  • Valid driver’s license.
  • Certified vehicle registration papers.
  • If your car is still financed by the bank, you’ll need a letter confirming you have permission to take it out the country.
  • A letter of authority from the car hire company if you are renting a vehicle.

Border regulations can differ between countries, so in addition to the standard documentation above, be sure to thoroughly research what you need to enter and exit a specific country.