Neesa Mood­ley

The fes­tive sea­son is of­fi­cially here, but be­fore you bust out your party vibes, make sure you have made re­spon­si­ble driv­ing ar­range­ments so that you stay safe and don’t breach your in­sur­ance pol­icy in terms of cover. re­ports

CityPress - - Busi­ness -

De­spite changes in so­cial at­ti­tudes, the rate of pos­i­tive tests for al­co­hol in peo­ple killed in traf­fic crashes rose sharply in the first decade of the new mil­len­nium, ac­cord­ing to the Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion of SA. In a coun­try with more than 9 mil­lion driv­ers, about 3 000 cases of driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence are opened each month.

Driv­ing while drunk is not only il­le­gal, it in­val­i­dates your in­sur­ance cover with short-term in­sur­ers not cov­er­ing ac­ci­dent dam­age.

The coun­try’s largest short-term in­surer, San­tam, has a strict pol­icy in this re­gard. A per­son who is un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol is in ev­ery­day lan­guage “drunk”.

Mar­ius Neeth­ling, man­ager of per­sonal lines un­der­writ­ing at San­tam, says: “Our pol­icy is clear, in that if pol­i­cy­hold­ers are us­ing the ve­hi­cle while un­der the in­flu­ence of in­tox­i­cat­ing liquor or drugs, or their blood or breath al­co­hol con­cen­tra­tion ex­ceeds the le­gal limit, then they are not cov­ered by the pol­icy for any ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents that oc­cur at such time.

“Th­ese claims are re­jected in full once it is es­tab­lished that the driver was un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol, or had blood or breath al­co­hol con­cen­tra­tion above the le­gal limit,” he says.

Franna Be­nade, MiWay’s gen­eral man­ager of the claims de­part­ment, notes that a large num­ber of ac­ci­dents on South African roads are at­trib­uted to driv­ing un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol, and that a di­rect link be­tween in­creased risk and in­sur­ance pre­mi­ums is preva­lent, and af­fects both in­sur­ers and clients pay­ing an in­sur­ance pre­mium.

In line with leg­is­la­tion, MiWay clearly states in its pol­icy doc­u­ments that no per­son will be cov­ered if the driver of the in­sured ve­hi­cle is un­der the in­flu­ence of al­co­hol or drugs; has a blood al­co­hol level that ex­ceeds the le­gal limit; fails a Breathal­yser test; or re­fuses a breath or blood sam­ple.

Safe ways to get home

All the in­sur­ers ap­pre­ci­ate that there are times when you may in­dulge in a drink or two. To re­duce the pos­si­bil­ity of an ac­ci­dent, they now of­fer an ad­di­tional ben­e­fit to en­sure that you are driven home and don’t have to use your car.

You are able to con­tact their driver-as­sist call cen­tres, af­ter which a ve­hi­cle is dis­patched with two driv­ers who drive the mem­ber home in their own ve­hi­cle.

All driv­ers be­long­ing to this ser­vice are in pos­ses­sion of a pub­lic driver’s per­mit and carry a cell­phone. The ben­e­fit is usu­ally free if the des­ti­na­tion is within a 50km ra­dius, and a fee per kilo­me­tre will be charged there­after.

San­tam of­fers you a “home-drive as­sis­tance” ben­e­fit free of charge, six times a year.

If six trips a year is not suf­fi­cient, San­tam’s homedrive as­sis­tance will fa­cil­i­tate the book­ing on a mem­ber-to-pay ba­sis. For these trips, you will re­ceive a dis­count on the full fare fee as fol­lows:

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