Ten tips to help you get the most out of your insurance

“It’s a luxury I can’t afford”, “It will never happen to me”, and, “I don’t believe in insurance” are just some of the reasons people give for not insuring their property or vehicles. For the uninsured these reasons may seem valid but, in the long run, may prove more costly, warns the Automobile Association (AA).

Between 65 and 70 percent of the estimated 12 million vehicles on South African roads are uninsured, and this percentage is growing annually. If you are involved in a crash, you only have a three in ten chance of it being with someone who is insured, and therefore able to cover any damages.

“With a growing number of people not insuring their vehicles, we think responsible vehicle owners have no choice but to insure themselves. And, if costs are an issue, motorists should research different options available to at least give themselves a little cover instead of none at all,” advises the AA.

The Association says there are several factors to consider around insurance. These include:

  • Do not base your decision on price only. Make sure your assets are covered adequately and that you understandall the benefit in your policy,
  • If you decrease your monthly premium, consider downgrading to third party fire and theft, or third party only to cover you in the event of claims against you following a crash,
  • Understand your excess (is it fixed or percentage based?),
  • Be honest with your insurer, and always disclose all material facts fully and truthfully when taking out a policy, or making a claim. Any misrepresentation will negatively affect a claim,
  • If you insure your vehicle, cover the contents as well as these are not covered through the vehicle-only insurance,
  • Understand that your insurer will not cover your for normal wear and tear of an item. Any item covered will be covered if the damage was sudden and unforeseen,
  • Compare quotes from different insurers on a like for like basis. Do research and check all options before deciding on a specific plan, with a specific insurer,
  • Understand that you are paying indirectly for all cash-back benefits, and that any claim may have an impact on a no-claim bonus,
  • Split your risk. If you are married, have two separate policies for your respective vehicles. This allows each partner to build up their own insurance history, and avoid one partner’s claims affecting the other’s profile and premiums, and,
  • Read your policy schedules carefully and understand all the benefits it includes. These include benefits such as a counsellor following a traumatic experience, or replacing food in your freezer after a power failure. There are obviously limits, but these benefits are a great addition to your insurance cover.

“There are more better reasons to be insured than there are for not being insured. Insurance is also vital if one has younger, more inexperienced drivers behind the wheel of a car or motorbike. We regularly urge all road users to keep their vehicles in good working condition, and look after them responsibly. Insurance is part of that upkeep, and should not be discarded but adjusted if needed,” the AA concludes.