What is Car Insurance?
In the following post, we will explain what comprehensive car insurance is, and its' importance. South African law requires that all motor-vehicles be insured, so that in the unfortunate event of a car accident, whether damage is done to another vehicle or to a pedestrian, the party who is at fault will be able to pay for the damages seeing how they will be insured. This basic car insurance is called 3rd party coverage and insures you as a driver in the event that you cause damage to someone else (a third party – this may be another car, property or a person). If people were allowed to drive without insurance then in the event of an accident, the injured party wouldn’t be able to claim his damages (for example medical fees or repairs for the car) and the damaging party will be in significant debt that he or she may not be able to pay. Unfortunately, and despite the obvious rationale to having car insurance, only about 30% of the total car drivers in South-Africa have car insurance, making the other 70% at a huge risk.
What is Comprehensive Car Insurance?
Definition of “comprehensive car insurance” as defined by many car insurance companies: “Covers the cost of replacing a vehicle due to theft or hijacking; the cost of repairing any accidental or fire damage; any damage which you may cause to another car or injury to another person resulting from an accident in which you were involved; your own medical expenses (with limitations to the amount)"
Comprehensive Car Insurance is ‘complete’ coverage for your car except in the event of a collision with another car in which case only the damages you caused to the other parties are covered. So, if for example, your car is stolen or hi-jacked or set on fire or there is a hail storm, then this is covered by your comprehensive car insurance which will pay you the market value of your car at the time of the incident or the cost of the repairs, minus a small “participation” fee that you will be required to pay.
Due to the excessive costs of fixing a car in South Africa, it makes a lot of sense to go that extra mile on your car insurance and opt for the comprehensive car insurance cover. Some insurance companies even include things such as legal services as well as additional value services like towing your car or giving you a rental car while your car is being replaced or repaired. Insurance policies have various rates of deductibles, meaning that in the event of an accident you will have to pay the first certain amount of money for fixing your car out of your own pocket, this is used as a deterrent to stop minor damages being claimed all the time; so if someone swipes off your mirror whilst your parked, your deductible (or “self participation fee”) might even be higher than the cost of fixing the mirror itself.
What to do in the event of a car accident?
In the event of a car accident, and despite the fact that comprehensive car insurance only covers third party damages, it is always essential that you take note of the details of the other parties involved in the collision, their license numbers, the make, model and colour of their car and their personal details like their cell phone number and address. Try to also take note of their car insurance company and if it was their fault try and make them sign on a piece of paper that they drove into you and that it was their fault in such a car at this place and time. In the event that someone is injured in the accident it is illegal to move the cars after the accident until Police have come to the scene and given permission to move the vehicle, of course if someone is hurt make sure to call an ambulance immediately.
Making a Claim with Comprehensive Car Insurance:
After an ‘event’ that is covered in your policy, such as a car theft, hi-jacking or a car accident you should call your insurance company at the first opportunity and inform them of the incident. You will need to give them some basic details including the location and circumstances of the incident, and details of the people involved. If the ‘event’ was an accident and your car is now not roadworthy, or perhaps is in a position or place where it cannot be moved, you will have to ask for a tow-truck to come and recover your vehicle, this may or may not cost you money depending on your insurance policy. The car insurance company will then have your car assessed for damages, or in the event of a theft will let you know the current market value, and then give you the repair quote. It is important to note that you have a legal right to choose your own evaluator/adjuster who will make the assessment. Once the report is ready the insurer will ask if you would like to have the car fixed or not depending on the level of damage and may offer you cash instead of fixing the car if it is deemed not roadworthy.
Overall, having comprehensive car insurance in addition to the legally required third party insurance is a great benefit. Nevertheless not everyone can afford the extra cost. If you can afford this additional layer of insurance, it is strongly advised that you check and understand what coverage you are receiving as this can vary from each insurance company. If something is not clear, ask to receive a simple explanation in writing (by email or fax – even if they explained by phone) so then when the time comes and you need to activate your comprehensive car insurance, you won’t have any surprises. You can also use our "Car Insurance Terms and Definitions" to help you out.
Just fill in the form on the left side of our website, and a proffessional agent will contact you to give you a quote on Comprehensive Car Insurance.
Other Interesting Posts
ABSA iDirect Vehicle Insurance
ABSA iDirect vehicle insurance is the car insurance department of ABSA, The Amalgamated Banks of ...read more
Best Car Insurance Company for 2015
For the last two years Carinfo.co.za has been conducting a comparison analysis of all the ...read more