Reduce Risk Associated with Car Accidents

We live in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. Wide open spaces and nature in all its glory there for us to enjoy. South Africans love the outdoors, we love to drive down to the beach or visit a game farm. But….every time you get into a car, you risk your life. Accidents can happen anytime, anywhere. Hijackings….

So what do we do? Lock ourselves up and all become hermits? That is not the answer, you need to take precautions to lower the risks associated with motor accidents and still enjoy what life has to offer.

Driving without car insurance is madness. Vehicle Insurance provides you with protection against financial losses resulting from accidents and theft. In South Africa vehicle insurance is not compulsory, the government charges a fuel levy that is placed in the Road Accident Fund to compensate third parties in accidents. However, if you finance a car through a financial institution you must take out insurance and provide proof of that to the financial institution.

Car Statistics

Here are some sobering facts from a report issued by Arrive Alive in March 2008:

  • The number of registered vehicles on South African roads increased by 5.22% within a year to 8 727 062 at the end of March 2008.
  • There were 376 876 un-roadworthy and/or unlicensed vehicles on our roads.
  • 14 627 Fatalities during the year.

The Main Causes of Accidents

  • Vehicle defects, such as worn tyres, poor brakes
  • Overloading
  • The age and health of the driver, i.e. teenagers have a higher accident rate, people driving with poor eyesight
  • Conditions of our roads and poor maintenance
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Speeding
  • Jaywalking
  • Driver fatigue
  • Talking on cellphones while driving

Car Insurance Coverage

Car Insurance will cover the following risk:

  • The driver or owner who has been insured
  • The insured vehicle
  • Third party claims

Types of Car Insurance

In South Africa we have three basic types of car insurance available; Comprehensive, Third Party, Fire and Theft and Third Party Only.

Comprehensive Insurance:

The name explains it all, it provides you with protection against all possible risks—damage to your car through accidents, damage to third parties vehicles, claims from third parties, theft or hijacking. Most comprehensive policies have added benefits such as road side assistance, medical assistance and towing.

Third Party Fire and Theft:

You are covered for theft or hijacking as well as claims from third parties for damage to their vehicles. It also includes claims for injuries and accidental death of third parties. However, you have no accident cover for your own vehicle.

Third Party Only:

You are covered only for third party claims.

The higher your benefit, the higher your premiums, so you need to consider your options carefully.

Calculation of Premiums

Many factors are taken into account when insurance companies calculate premiums, such as:

  • The car: the model, age, alarm, immobiliser, airbags
  • The driver: age, gender, driving history
  • Primary usage of the car: business or private travel

Where to go for your car insurance

The golden rule is to shop around, compare prices and compare benefits. Do your homework, you can even arrange your cover online. Make sure you read and understand the policy, ask questions if you don’t.

Whatever you do, do not drive without insurance.