How third party ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance works

Full in­sur­ance is best, but at least get this ba­sic form of cover

The Star Early Edition - - NOTICEBOARD - MO­TOR­ING STAFF

ONLY around one third of the ve­hi­cles cur­rently on South African roads are in­sured, ac­cord­ing to the AA. This means ve­hi­cle own­ers who only have third party in­sur­ance stand about a 65 per­cent chance of re­cov­er­ing costs caused by dam­ages to their ve­hi­cle by some­one else.

It’s im­por­tant to re­alise that third party in­sur­ance does not cover any dam­age to the pol­i­cy­holder’s own ve­hi­cle, ex­plains Marike Van Niek­erk, Man­ager of Le­gal and Com­pli­ance at MUA In­sur­ance.

“This type of in­sur­ance is specif­i­cally de­signed to be more af­ford­able, and shields a ve­hi­cle owner against the costs when he or she is li­able for the dam­ages caused to another per­son’s prop­erty or ve­hi­cle.”

This is where the ben­e­fit of hav­ing com­pre­hen­sive ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance cover comes into play, says van Niek­erk. “With com­pre­hen­sive ve­hi­cle cover, the in­di­vid­ual can claim from their in­sur­ance com­pany and when they are not to blame the in­sur­ance com­pany will han­dle the re­cov­ery process against ei­ther the third party or the third party’s in­surer. If the claim is suc­cess­ful and the pol­i­cy­holder is not at fault, the in­surer will re­fund the pol­i­cy­holder the ex­cess they paid un­der their in­sur­ance con­tract and re­in­state their claims record.”

When it comes to de­ter­min­ing which party was at fault, and to what de­gree, the Law of Col­li­sion is ap­plied, says van Niek­erk. “This law is used to de­ter­mine set­tle­ment and whether or not both par­ties were neg­li­gent in caus­ing the ac­ci­dent and there­fore how each party will be com­pen­sated or held li­able ac­cord­ing to their spe­cific de­gree of neg­li­gence. Sur­round­ing cir­cum­stances and pre­vi­ous court case prece­dents are also taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. Need­less to say, this is not a sim­ple process.”

In the event of an ac­ci­dent, Van Niek­erk ad­vises that it is of ut­most im­por­tance not to ad­mit li­a­bil­ity at any stage at the ac­ci­dent scene. “Do not claim fault for the ac­ci­dent re­gard­less of the sit­u­a­tion and do not sign any doc­u­men­ta­tion re­gard­ing fault or prom­ise to pay any dam­ages. This is to avoid prej­u­dic­ing the rights of yourself or your in­surer. It must be noted that an in­surer will only be li­able to the ex­tent that the in­sured is legally li­able.”

Write down all the de­tails sur­round­ing the ac­ci­dent as this will be re­quired when re­port­ing the in­ci­dent to the po­lice, which must take place within 24 hours of the ac­ci­dent, and at claims stage.

Th­ese de­tails in­clude: date and time of ac­ci­dent; lo­ca­tion of ac­ci­dent; con­di­tion of road; weather con­di­tions; con­tact in­for­ma­tion of any wit­nesses; de­tails of the driver of the third party ve­hi­cle (driver’s li­cense num­ber, ad­dress, mo­bile, busi­ness and home num­bers); de­tails of the third party ve­hi­cle (num­ber plate num­ber, make, model, colour, dam­ages and con­di­tion de­scrip­tion); in­surer de­tails; and con­tact de­tails of any and all pas­sen­gers.

“While com­pre­hen­sive in­sur­ance cover is ideal, it is vi­tal for mo­torists to have some form of ve­hi­cle in­sur­ance in place, even if it is at least third party in­sur­ance.

Third party in­sur­ance will en­sure that if you are in­volved in an ac­ci­dent and you are found re­spon­si­ble, you do not have to sud­denly find the funds to cover the costs of dam­ages to the third party, which can range from ve­hi­cle re­pairs to re­plac­ing the ve­hi­cle en­tirely if it is writ­ten off,” she con­cludes.

Third party in­sur­ance en­sures you are cov­ered for dam­ages to other ve­hi­cles if you’re found re­spon­si­ble.

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