Sneaky car costs you should be prepared for

The solution to damage caused by natural factors such as wind, falling branches and animals is having comprehensive car insurance. Photo | Net

What you need to know:

  • Driving a car is expensive, and not just because of the standard stuff such as keeping the tank full. Unexpected expenses pop up all the time, and sometimes they seem to hit you all at once.

Every driver budgets for car payments, liability insurance and things such as gas, oil changes and repairs. But cars, trucks and sports utility vehicles have a way of throwing unexpected and expensive curve balls at the people who own them. To better prepare, take a look at the car costs that catch far too many drivers by surprise.


The Uganda Police Force website states that between July 2 and July 9, 2022, there were 328 accidents. According to, no one plans for an accident, the reason why they are called accidents. If the accident is the other driver’s fault, their insurance will cover any damage to their car. If it is the driver’s fault and they have collision insurance (as opposed to just legally required liability insurance), their provider will pay for the cost of repairs. The driver will, however, be responsible for their deductible, and if they are injured, medical treatment is expensive.  Also. If one is forced to miss work, they could take yet another hit in the form of lost income.

Charles Nsimbiziwome, an insurance broker, says while insurance is an amazing way to deal with some of the financial effects of accidents, it cannot deal with everything.

“For instance, the mental trauma that one may suffer. There is also the gap left in case a loved one is lost. These unquantifiable, yet life changing costs are unexpected and one of the best ways to avoid them is being careful on the road,” he says.

However, he adds, you cannot control what other drivers do. Therefore, having an insurance cover, starting with third party insurance and even scaling it to as high as comprehensive insurance can save a car owner several headaches such as having to replace a car and paying for medical bills should they arise.

Expired insurance premium

Getting involved in an accident is bad enough but finding out that your premium will not be able to cover some costs because it is late is devastating. It, therefore, helps to keep your insurance payments up to date. For instance, Nsimbiziwoome says, most insurance companies will not cover you if your policy is expired.

Traffic tickets

A turn in the wrong direction, stopping where you ought not to, not wearing a seatbelt are some of the offences that may get you fined, attracting a traffic ticket. That, according to Rogers Kawuma Nsereko, the Kampala Metropolitan traffic commander, will set you back financially as well as take a bit of your time.

“Getting a traffic ticket could ruin your whole day, thus impending your productivity. Imagine having to pay from Shs100,000 or even Shs1.2m, depending on your offense, and losing out on signing that big contract. Most of these offences can be avoided when drivers follow traffic rules and learn to be patient,” Nsereko says says.

While getting a ticket is sometimes unavoidable, Nsereko says not paying off a previous ticket and allowing the cost to accumulate might also lead to more fines. Therefore, prompt payment will help you avoid such added inconveniences.

Unpaid parking tickets

It is often said, among drivers, that Multiplex (parking management) people are quick to stick that parking ticket under your wiper but almost non-existent when it is time to pay. For one that is in a rush, driving off may seem like an option. However, Agnes Angom, a car owner, recalls the day she walked out of a doctor’s appointment to a clamped car.

“After a tooth extraction, I could not drive back home because my car had been clamped as a result of having a backlog of unpaid tickets. Even after paying, I had to wait for close to an hour before anyone came to unclamp my car. It was so inconveniencing that I learnt to pay for my parking tickets promptly,” she says.

Replacing a windshield

As one drives on the highway, it is possible for a small stone to hit the windshield and life goes on. In extreme cases, Musa Masembe, a mechanic at Nango Auto Garage says, it may create a small crack.

“While that can be filled and repaired, it will cost some money as well as your time because you may need to drive the car to the garage or have to be present as the mechanic fixes the fault,” he says.

In extreme cases, Masembe adds, the windshield may have to be replaced which means buying a new one which is costly, not forgetting the labour and time wasted.

Replacing tyres

Old, worn out tyres are much more prone to blowouts and flats that cannot be repaired. Even a brand new car on a test drive, however, is not immune to irreparable damage from potholes, curb impact, nails, glass and other debris. While one may change tyres for even usage or try re-treading, with time, the tyres will need replacement.

“This may be as a result of older tyres being prone to getting flat or instances where nails and glass cause irreparable damage necessitating a replacement, which may cost as much as Shs450,000 per tyre,” Masembe says.


Regardless of the car type, having to buy a new car part just because someone stole it is upsetting. In such instances, it helps to have comprehensive insurance as it helps to cover for such accidents,” Nsimbiziwome says, adding that a car owner should also learn to pack in secure places to avoid continuous vandalism.


“Regardless of how well any one takes care of their car, depreciation happens, causing loss. Masembe says depreciation is unexpected regardless of the car brand. According to, on average, a new car loses 10 percent of its value as soon as you drive it from the bond. By the end of the first year, it will have lost 20 percent of its value and 15 percent every year after that until it is worth 60 percent less than you paid for it five years out.

“Nonetheless, this depreciation can be stalled with proper maintenance and proper handling,” he advises.


Fees. When you buy a new car, you have to factor mandatory fees such as registration fees, taxes, title, emissions testing fees and delivery charges into your budget.

Increase in fuel prices. It is important to keep in mind that the price at the fuel pump when you buy your car is not locked in. A huge number of factors influence the price of fuel, and the cost can spike, making your car suddenly feel more expensive.

Mother Nature. Wind, falling branches and even animals damage cars all the time. In this case, the owner of the car has to pay to fix that damage, just as they would if it were caused by vandals. Here, too, the solution is comprehensive coverage.


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