5 things to look for in car insurance

The best car insurance isn’t necessarily the cheapest – but you don’t have to spend a bundle to get all the most important features. Whether you need comprehensive insurance for your brand new vehicle, or third party cover for your parent’s run-around car, knowing what to look for is essential.

Here’s what to investigate when you are looking to take out car insurance:

1. what about reputation?

Check that your insurance company is registered as a financial services provider (hint: our FSP number is on your policy, and in the footer of our website).

2. what about customer service?

  • A simple internet search will bring up all reviews on your prospective insurer, so that you can assess how they deal with claims and customer queries.

3. what about claims?

  • Find out how long the average claims procedure takes and what the process is.
  • Ask about the average claim payout and how often claims are rejected.

4. what about cost?

  • How much is your excess going to be in the event of a claim? Will you be able to afford it, when the times comes?
  • How much is your insurance premium going to be on a monthly basis, and how often will your premium go up?
  • Are there benefits like a cashback bonus if you don’t claim at all?

5. what about you?

Your details are used to calculate your premium, so make sure the following is accurate:

  • Your address i.e. where your car is parked at night.
  • What you are using the vehicle for on a daily basis. If you are a sales rep, tell the consultant that. It will make a difference in your cover.
  • Don’t try cheating the system with false information to get a cheaper premium. That cheaper premium might result in a rejected claim in the long run.

accidents across the border

It is one thing to be in an accident while on home soil, but what do you do if the accident is across the border? What should you do? Who do you call? Follow these steps for a smoother third party claims procedure.

1. call the police

It doesn’t matter how small the accident is, call the police.

  • Accident reports will be needed by the respective insurance companies to start the claims process.
  • A full report will be made of the whole incident, which has to be done within 24hrs of the accident.
  • Make sure that you have your case number for future reference as well.

2. get organised

Make sure that you organise yourself after an accident. Get the following items out of the car as soon as possible.

  • Warning triangles or an emergency flare. This should be in the boot of your car and will warn passing motorists that there is a hazard.
  • Pen and paper to take down the details of the third party. You’ll need to provide this to your insurance company.
  • Use your phone to take photos of the damage to both vehicles for future reference.

3. if it’s a medical emergency

  • Make sure that no one is hurt, yourself included.
  • Check yourself and all of the passengers for any bruises, scratches or disorientation.
  • Call an ambulance if you have any doubts about the wellbeing of anyone involved in the accident.

4. move the vehicles

  • If you are able to, move the vehicles out of the road to prevent any further accidents from happening.
  • If you can’t move the vehicles from the road, passengers and drivers should remain in the car with seat-belts fastened.
  • Don’t panic while waiting for help to arrive and remember to switch on your hazard lights.

5. claim from your insurance

Your insurance company needs to be notified within 24hrs, but that isn’t the same as lodging a claim.

  • When lodging a third party claim for accidents that happen across the border, you need to do so within 24hrs of the accident.
  • Your insurer will then advise you where your vehicle can be towed to and send an approved towing company to assist you.
  • Don’t let any old company tow your vehicle away, especially if you aren’t familiar with your surroundings.

comprehensive car insurance

When you buy a car, you want to make sure that your investment is protected. That is where comprehensive vehicle insurance comes in. But, knowing what you are in for when taking an insurance policy is the tricky part. So we’ve decoded the jargon for you:

what do you get?

  • Comprehensive cover means you are covered for just about everything on your vehicle.
  • This includes theft, hijacking, accidental damage and everything in between – the whole enchilada unless an exclusion applies.
  • In the event of a claim, the insurer will either repair the car or pay for the replacement of your vehicle. You will be asked to pay an excess to your insurer.
  • The excess you pay depends on what you have agreed to with your insurance company.
  • In addition to your vehicle being covered, third party insurance is in place in case there are claims made against you.
  • Emergency roadside assistance is a value-added benefit that you can use 24/7 in the event of problems on the road.
  • Car hire is an added bonus when taking out car insurance. Don’t assume it is automatically added to your cover, or you might end up stranded when you need it.

what you should know

  • To encourage drivers to respect the rules of the road and drive responsibly, there are excesses in place in the event of an insurance claim.
  • This means you will be responsible for a small amount of the cost of the damage caused to your vehicle.
  • You base your insurance on who the regular driver of the vehicle is, so if that changes, your insurer needs to know.
  • You need to ensure that your premium is paid on a monthly basis to make sure that you are covered.
  • If you skip two or more payments, your policy will lapse and your cover will stop, leaving you entirely responsible for any claims that might happen.

what is a cashback bonus?

Having vehicle insurance often comes with more perks than just cover for your vehicle. Simply put, a cashback bonus is money back in your bank account for being a responsible driver. Nice!

what do you get?

  • A cashback bonus is a reward that you get for not claiming from your policy.
  • The cashback bonus is paid straight into your bank account after 3 consecutive years that you stay claim-free on your policy.
  • You can look forward to up to 10% of your premiums back in your bank account.

what is the catch?

Insurers have tried to encourage responsible driving by adding the cashback bonus to insurance policies. You don’t get the bonus if you claim. Let’s look at this scenario:

  • You have a policy for 3 years, with no claims at all. You should be getting your cashback bonus soon, but have just submitted a claim for a bumper bashing that happened on the freeway. Your cashback bonus then falls away entirely, so you lose out on your reward.

The point of the cashback bonus is to encourage responsible driving within policy holders. It is an effective concept, but as the saying goes, accidents do happen.

different types of car insurance

How can you be sure that you have the right kind of car insurance for your budget and your needs? A good start is to know the difference between the various types of insurance. Let’s take a look:

comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive car insurance is the most common type of insurance policy for new vehicle owners. This kind of policy covers a wide range of risks that you and your vehicle might be exposed to. But what exactly are you covered for, and do you really need it?

  • Comprehensive car insurance covers your vehicle in the event of accidental damage, theft, hijacking, third party damage and everything in between.
  • If your car is financed by a bank, it’s essential that you have comprehensive insurance to protect yourself and the bank’s interest in your vehicle.
  • Another added bonus is that comprehensive cover includes certain natural risks. Which is helpful when the hail storms hit and cause major damage!
  • Comprehensive cover comes with a higher price tag because of all of the risks covered by this type of insurance.

third party, fire and theft

The official term for this kind of cover is limited liability, but we know it as third party, fire and theft cover. The biggest difference between this cover and comprehensive cover is summed up in the name, it only offers third-party, fire and theft insurance. This means that the accidental damage to your vehicle won’t be covered by this insurance policy. But what else should you know?

  • Third party, fire and theft cover is ideal for vehicle owners who no longer owe any money on the car.
  • Although the damage to your vehicle isn’t covered, third party damages are. This includes property damages to third parties involved in the same accident (in case you are responsible for causing it).
  • You will also be covered if your car is stolen, if there is a theft attempt or if you involved in a hijacking.
  • The same cover extends to damages to your vehicle caused by fire or explosions.

third party, total loss

Typically this cover will be taken out by someone who wants to only be covered if their car is stolen, hijacked or written off. Minor accidents and damage will be self-funded. Damage to third parties and properties are also fully covered under this policy.

So, the next time you’re hunting for insurance quotes, you can go in knowing a little bit more about vehicle insurance than before.

the difference in excess structures

What is an excess anyway? Why are you responsible for that small sum of cash paid upfront when you claim from your comprehensive insurance policy? The answer: it’s how your insurer shares a small portion of the responsibility of the claim with you. But that isn’t where it ends, there are different types of excess structures that you can choose from, so we’re going to break it down for you.

basic vehicle excess

The basic excess is the first and standard excess assigned to any comprehensive vehicle policy. This excess is also commonly known as a fixed excess, which is the fixed amount that will be paid in the event of an insurance claim. But, there are also options, such as:

  • The option of paying a percentage of the claimed amount instead of a fixed excess amount.
  • An example of this would be paying 10% of the claim amount, with a minimum excess payable being R3,500.
  • Some insurance companies also offer an excess buy-back so that you pay less in the event of a claim.
  • This is where the insured (that’s you) opts to pay a higher monthly premium to have a lower excess amount at claims stage.

additional excesses

Every now and then, insurance companies have additional excesses added onto their comprehensive vehicle policy. These are occasionally called penalty excesses, because they are added in the event of a claim under the following circumstances:

  • If the claimant (that’s you) has had their driver’s license for less than two years.
  • If the driver, at the time of the claim, is under the age of 25.
  • If the driver, at the time of the claim, is not noted on the policy as a driver.
  • Whether there is a tracking device or security device installed in the vehicle after a theft or hijacking.

The excess is the amount that you will pay in the event of a claim, irrespective of who is at fault of the accident. Make sure you know what excess you’re liable for at claim stage to avoid any nasty surprises later on.

roadside assistance 101

Having comprehensive insurance comes with more than just great cover for your car, you get roadside assistance too. For free. Think of roadside assistance as your guardian angel when you get stranded on the side of the road. Here is what you get:

roadside rescue

  • If you get stuck on the side of the road with a flat tyre, you just have to give us a call and we’ll send someone out to help you.
  • Same thing goes if you thought that you could make it to the petrol station on your way to work but ran out of petrol instead. We’ll send someone out with fuel to get you on your way again.
  • What about if you accidentally leave your lights on and end up with a flat battery? We have you covered for that as well.

leave the breakdowns to your car

Don’t worry when things go wrong (alright, maybe you can just a little) – but know that you aren’t totally stranded.

  • Your roadside assistance has you covered in the event of a breakdown.
  • You’ll be towed to the nearest dealer after a mechanical or electrical breakdown.
  • We’ll even give you a list of mechanics we trust to service your car if you need it.

don’t get stranded

Accidents happen, and when they do you don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road with a car that won’t move. That is where roadside assistance comes in:

  • We have approved towing companies who will come to your assistance when things go wrong.
  • Better yet, we’ll let your friends or family know what happened (if you can’t).
  • If you are stranded more than 100km away from home after a vehicle breakdown, we arrange to pay up to R500 towards alternative transportation for you and 6 people.

Comprehensive car insurance doesn’t have to be a chore when your insurer has a heart.

what is third party insurance?

Think of third party insurance as a bite-sized version of comprehensive insurance. Any damage that you cause to a third party (like another vehicle or person) is covered by your insurance policy, potentially saving you thousands in the event of a third party claim. But, it doesn’t cover your damage at all, so you will still be spending some money on your own repairs.

when is third party insurance worth getting?

Taking out third party insurance is a great idea if you fall into one of the following categories:

  • If your vehicle isn’t currently insured! Any type of cover is vital for responsible vehicle ownership, so third party car insurance is the perfect choice.
  • If you don’t owe any money on your vehicle and just want to have some protection against third party claims.
  • If you’re on a budget, but want to make sure that you don’t have to sell your first born to pay for the claim.

what isn’t covered?

  • You won’t have any insurance cover if your vehicle is hijacked or stolen.
  • You don’t have any cover if your vehicle is damaged in an accident, but the other vehicle will have cover if the accident was your fault.
  • If you need to have a windscreen repaired or replaced, this is going to come out of your own pocket.
  • Third party liability is covered, so if someone is injured or dies in an accident, you would be covered for a certain amount through your insurance company.

There you have it, third party insurance in a nut-shell. So you can show off your knowledge when your friends ask about keeping their car safe!

tips on keeping your car in good condition

Making sure that your car has comprehensive car insurance is vital to ensure your car is covered in the event of an accident or damage. But, what about the in-between? How can you keep your car in tip top shape throughout the year?

interior care

Here are a few tips for looking after what happens under the hood.

  • Check and change the oil on a regular basis. Nothing can damage your engine faster than low oil-levels or dirty oil in your car.
  • When changing your oil, make sure that your air filter is clean. This is where all the bugs and dirt collect as you drive, so you want to make sure it’s clear to keep your engine running smoothly.
  • Check for leaks under your car. Spotting a leak early on – and having it dealt with – can save you a ton of money on repairs if left to get worse.
  • Petrol prices may be very high, but always try to keep some petrol in your petrol tank.  When running on empty too often, the sediment from petrol gets pulled through the engine which could do serious damage later on.
  • Have your car serviced at regular intervals, according to its service plan.

exterior care

This is what you should be doing to keep your car showroom beautiful:

  • Wash your car regularly. Not only is washing the outside of your vehicle important, but wash underneath your car as well. Road grime, dirt and tar, get stuck under your car, so hose off any build up.
  • Don’t put soap in the windscreen washer reservoir. Although this seems helpful in the short term, soapy water runs onto the paintwork and dries out. Over time, this causes damage to your vehicle’s paintwork.
  • Dead insects and bird dropping can damage your paintwork. Try clean this off as soon as you notice it.
  • Keep a bin bag in your car so that you have a designated place for any litter.
  • Invest in a sun visor. South African sun is harsh, and the UV rays can cause damage to your dashboard if parked outside regularly.

 

what your car insurance doesn’t cover

By now you know that you should have comprehensive insurance on your vehicle. You also have a pretty good idea of what you are covered for in the event of a claim, but do you know what isn’t covered under your policy?

regular maintenance and emergencies

Cars need a lot of TLC, which is why you have regular, scheduled services done to your vehicle. These are so important that when you buy your vehicle, you get a service record booklet and the option to add a service plan to your finance agreement.

Your car’s services aren’t covered by your insurance policy, whether you have Comprehensive car insurance or Third Party Fire and Theft.

What else doesn’t your car insurance cover?

  • Replacing worn or burst tyres isn’t covered under your policy, so make sure you budget for this at least once a year.
  • Mechanical breakdown won’t be covered by your insurer. So, if your car breaks down on the side of the road, your comprehensive vehicle policy won’t be of much help.

modifications and upgrades

There are so many additions you can add to your vehicle, from having sports packs installed to a sound system. Music lovers and car enthusiasts will agree that having modifications done to your vehicle can be expensive.

You might think your insurance policy will help pay for these modifications, but this isn’t the case. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Although you can include cover on your comprehensive vehicle insurance for some modifications, your insurer will not help you pay for the modifications at all.
  • It is also important to remember that your insurance will not cover your vehicle at all if there are any illegal modifications to the engine or performance of the car.
  • Having an expensive sound system in your vehicle may be covered by comprehensive insurance, but you’re responsible for that bill yourself.
  • The only time your insurance policy will help pay for any modifications or upgrades is if they are specified on your cover, and they are damaged, and you’ve claimed for them.