Accidents happen all the time on roads in South Africa, from minor occurrences to severe accidents. We all hope that we will never be in the middle of such an incident, but the truth is that accidents happen most of the time, when you least expect it. While the accident itself is a terrible ordeal, the fact that you have to manage the track can be just as discouraging.
Costs accumulate quickly when it comes to vehicle damage. From small scratches and dives to major panel building work, everything adds up. The worst-case scenario for you to find yourself would be to have your car damaged or even stolen, and you can’t afford it financially.
Fortunately, this is the stage where insurance companies are your saving grace; and that’s why car insurance is so important. However, finding the right insurance for you and your car can be a complicated process. There are so many insurance companies, so finding the one that suits you best is not always easy.
What if I don’t have car insurance?
With rising fuel costs and cost of living, motorists see car insurance as an unwanted financial burden, but it is a necessary expense. Car insurance is a legal requirement for all South African drivers.
Let’s say you drive safely on your way, alone in the car, uninsured, and you will get into an accident. If you are not responsible and the other driver is insured, you can collect money from the insurance company of that driver. If the driver has not been insured, you will probably need to sue for damages.
However, if the accident was your fault, any passengers in the car you hit may seek compensation from you or go after your belongings. Such assets here refer to your savings, a chunk of your salary or something even bigger, depending on the damage done. You will also be listed as a high-risk person for future insurance, which means that the insurance premiums for you will be significantly higher than a person with your car in the same car.
So, if you still think that cancelling insurance or not paying them is a simple way to save money, it is likely to cost you at some point.
What to consider when choosing car insurance
When looking for the right insurance for your car, there are a few factors you should consider.
- The best value versus the best price – finding affordable and comprehensive coverage
- Waiting periods – As long as you are covered
- Communication lines – The company is easy to get hold of when you need it
- Terms and Conditions – Make sure you understand the fine prints.
The most common three types of car insurance
- Comprehensive car insurance.
This type of insurance will cover your car against just about anything that can happen. Theft, damage caused by attempted robbery or burglary, accidental damage caused by you, damage caused by natural disasters, damage caused by a third party and damage you cause to a third party. Due to the extended coverage, this type of insurance is the most expensive of the three.
- Third-party car insurance, fire and theft.
This type of insurance means that you are covered against theft, damage caused by attempted theft or theft, fire and accidental damage caused by a third party. However, you will not be covered against any loss that you cause to a third party, nor will you be covered by the damage caused by natural disasters. This type of insurance is more affordable than global insurance, although you have less coverage.
- Car insurance only for third parties.
Third-party insurance is the cheapest option of all three types. This insurance covers the cost of the damage you cause to someone else’s car and nothing else. This helps prevent you from paying exorbitant amounts of money for a third-party car if you get in an accident.
What is a “listed” driver?
Most insurance companies are mainly interested in who the “regular” driver is. It is not a complicated term; it refers only to the person who drives the car the most in any monthly period.
Now, with some companies, the insurer will also ask for a “listed,” “nominated” or even a “named” driver. All of these terms refer to the same thing, which is the person driving the second (or sometimes) car after the ordinary driver.
It is important to list who the regular driver is, as well as all the drivers of your car to be covered in an unfortunate circumstance. If someone who has not been listed as a driver on a particular vehicle gets into an accident, the insurance will not pay the claim. Therefore, it is better to add additional drivers to your insurance.
What happens when I make an application?
Inform your insurance as soon as possible after an incident. When you contact them, you have all of your policy details, as well as the details of any other parties involved.
The insurance company will then send you an application form to complete, which you must send back with supporting evidence and a case number from the police as soon as possible.
It is good to keep a copy of the claim form and a record of all transactions (calls, texts, emails) that appear in this process. Also, make sure you get a list of insured repairs from your insurance company before submitting your car for repairs, as you may find that you have to pay the bill if the company has not been recognized or listed by to insurers.
There are many companies to choose from when looking for car insurance. You have to do much shopping before you find the perfect insurance plan. Remember to consider what you need from the insurance company and how much you can afford to receive premiums.
While looking for insurance can sometimes be quite stressful; once you are covered you can drive with the peaceful knowledge that something unfortunate should happen, you will not be left financially handicapped.