Car cover not op­tional

SA’s has high­est ac­ci­dent risk, yet our roads have 7 in 10 cars unin­sured

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING - BRIAN BAS­SETT

THIS ar­ti­cle was prompted by a re­cent press re­lease by the South African Au­to­mo­bile As­so­ci­a­tion (AA) on the alarm­ing fact that some 70% of South African motorists are unin­sured.

With about 11,4 mil­lion li­censed ve­hi­cles in the coun­try, many in poor and un­road­wor­thy con­di­tion, the ac­ci­dent risk is one of the high­est in the world and yet driv­ers con­tinue to ig­nore the need to be prop­erly in­sured. Most peo­ple re­sent pay­ing car in­sur­ance, which they per­ceive as of­fer­ing no im­me­di­ate di­rect ben­e­fit. In re­cent months three ex­perts have been in­ter­viewed on the In­qola Mo­tor Show on Cap­i­tal Ra­dio 104fm each Satur­day morn­ing from 9 am to 10 am.

These are: Keith Samp­son, an ex­pe­ri­enced claims ad­juster, Geoff Clarke, owner of a bro­ker­age han­dling a con­sid­er­able amount of car in­sur­ance, and Moosa Allee, owner of one of the largest bro­ker­ages in the city.

The views ex­pressed in this ar­ti­cle are a con­sen­sus of the views of these three ex­perts.

Con­ges­tion and col­li­sion

With grow­ing con­ges­tion on our roads and park­ing lots, as well as our de­te­ri­o­rat­ing road in­fra­struc­ture it’s not any longer if you have an ac­ci­dent, but when.

Many driv­ers con­sider them­selves care­ful and ac­ci­dent im­mune and, pre­sum­ing our roads were driven only by care­ful, cour­te­ous motorists, this might be the case. How­ever, South African motorists are well known for their com­plete dis­re­gard of the rules of the road, turn­ing our roads into night­mares of death and de­struc­tion and killing both the in­no­cent and the guilty.

The amaz­ing fact is that, after In­dia and China, South Africa has the third-high­est road ac­ci­dent rate in the world.

Le­gal re­quire­ment

Car in­sur­ance is the most im­por­tant in­sur­ance you will ever buy and you should not be al­lowed on the road with­out it.

Com­pre­hen­sive cover for your car is ex­pen­sive, as it cov­ers both your car and oth­ers in­volved in an ac­ci­dent.

There are how­ever other ways of in­sur­ing your­self. Per­haps the best known is the bal­ance of third party in­sur­ance, where you cover the in­ter­ests of oth­ers but not your own. It can be linked to the in­sur­ance of your home and will cost you as lit­tle as R60 a month, or on its own about R80 a month.

There was gen­eral agree­ment among our ex­perts that, as in many other coun­tries, no car should be li­censed with­out at least be­ing cov­ered by this type of in­sur­ance and fines should be made ap­pli­ca­ble to those driv­ing with­out this cover.

Buy­ing car in­sur­ance

These days the me­dia over­flows with ad­ver­tis­ing for cheap in­sur­ance or in­sur­ance which pro­vides cash back after five years with­out a claim.

You can buy on­line and re­ceive vol­umes of legally bind­ing in­sur­ance con­di­tions, which al­most 90% of pol­i­cy­hold­ers never read. With the re­sult that you ac­tu­ally know lit­tle about what is cov­ered and un­der what con­di­tions your claim will be paid.

The mes­sage from our ex­perts is clear, do not fo­cus on pre­mi­ums — fo­cus on qual­ity.

Not all in­sur­ances are the same and you will only know whether your in­sur­ance fits your needs when you lodge a claim.

Also, buy car in­sur­ance through a prop­erly-ac­cred­ited bro­ker, it costs no more and the bro­ker will not only be able to ad­vise you on how best and most in­ex­pen­sively to cover your needs, but will also han­dle you claim when it is lodged.

Ex­cesses and bonuses

An ex­cess is a first amount you agree to pay your in­surer in the event of a claim, these days it amounts to be­tween R3 500 and R5 000. It re­as­sures your in­surer that you will only claim for ma­jor col­li­sions and so has an ef­fect on your pre­mium. A no-claim bonus on the other hand is a dis­count on your pre­mium al­lowed you by your in­surer for not claim­ing, and this bonus could, over time, de­crease your pre­mium by up to 50%.

The good news is that you can in­sure both your ex­cess and no­claim bonus for only a few rands a month.

Post-col­li­sion in­for­ma­tion

Im­me­di­ately after an ac­ci­dent you need to col­lect as much in­for­ma­tion as pos­si­ble on oth­ers in­volved.

Names, ad­dresses, ID num­bers, driv­ing li­cence de­tails and pas­sen­ger de­tails. In­ter­view wit­nesses and get their de­tails at the scene.

Take pho­to­graphs with your mo­bile. It is wise to carry a small plas­tic wal­let in your car with pen, pa­per and chalk to mark the crash scene. Don’t be rushed by other driv­ers who want to pass the ac­ci­dent.

You then need to go to the near­est po­lice sta­tion to re­port the ac­ci­dent and ob­tain a case num­ber, which is cru­cial to your claim. If po­lice are al­ready on site so much the bet­ter. If there are in­juries you will need to know what these are and where the in­jured have been hos­pi­talised.

Write-offs and ve­hi­cle val­ues

After an ac­ci­dent your in­sur­ers will value your ve­hi­cle and if re­pair costs are higher than a cer­tain per­cent­age of its value, they will write it off and pay out a per­cent­age of that value, as hap­pened after the great hail­storm in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg in March 2015.

If the dam­age is cos­metic you might like to buy the car back from your in­surer, if that is al­lowed in terms of your pol­icy.

It is pos­si­ble to in­sure for re­place­ment value but costs are very high.

Ar­gu­ment for car in­sur­ance

Some say the cost of car in­sur­ance is high. We be­lieve that the costs of non-in­sur­ance are much higher. An ac­ci­dent that is wholly or partly your fault could wipe out you and your fam­ily fi­nan­cially. We know times are hard, but motorists need to cover them­selves ad­e­quately.

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