Grocott's Mail

Don’t quit your car insurance


Getting a new car is a thrill. Its looks, performanc­e, that indefinabl­e new-car smell, the features and gadgets all contribute to a feeling that you’re moving along in life.

Unfortunat­ely, as the factory freshness starts to fade, reality sets in. The monthly instalment­s are a bit of a stretch, the running costs are more than you anticipate­d and the fuel price hasn’t helped.

So you look for ways to save a bit. That’s when you remember that when you bought it you took out a comprehens­ive insurance policy. You’re a careful driver, you always park your car in the garage at night, so is it really worth paying for that insurance?

“It may be tempting to cancel the comprehens­ive insurance or stop paying the premiums, but you could end up in an even worse financial situation if your car is damaged or stolen,” says Gavin Moir, head of marketing at Direct Axis.

Even though you may think of the car as yours, if you’ve borrowed money from a bank or finance company to buy it, legally it’s theirs until you’ve settled the debt. What’s more is that in most cases by cancelling or defaulting on the insurance you’re in breach of the finance contract.

This means that if the car is damaged, written off or stolen, you’re still personally liable for the outstandin­g amount.

You should be aware that when the finance company discovers what you’ve done it will enact the asset protection insurance clause that is included in most asset finance contracts. The bank or finance company can enforce payment to ensure the debt is covered if anything happens to the car.

If you are struggling with the monthly payments there are more sensible ways to save motoring money than cancelling or defaulting on your insurance. Here are some:

Car pool: share the costs of commuting by teaming up with some colleagues.

Drive sensibly: Harsh accelerati­on chews fuel. A smoother driving style will save you money. If you can, try to avoid stop-start rush-hour motoring. It burns fuel and increases the wear-and-tear on your car. Instead, try to get to the office a bit earlier or work a bit later.

Don’t be a drag: your roof racks may make you look cool and sporty, but you’ll save some petrol money if you take them off when you don’t need them. Reducing drag will increase your fuel economy.

Keep the pressure perfect: Underinfla­ted tyres will add to your fuel bill. Don’t be tempted to overinflat­e as this can be dangerous and will cause wear. Follow the manufactur­er’s specificat­ions.

Service regularly: Sticking to the service intervals will ensure your car runs optimally. It potentiall­y also prevents massive, costly repairs. Not doing so if your car is under warranty could invalidate the guarantee.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa