Car Insurance 101
Your car is a huge investment that you risk on a daily basis, every time you start the engine. Having comprehensive car insurance is like having an invisible security blanket covering your car at all times. It isn’t going to save you from life’s little hiccups, but it will make those hiccups easier for you to deal with in the event of an accident.
Whether you need comprehensive car insurance for a brand new, financed vehicle, or just want to be sure that your pride and joy is protected, car insurance is really important. First questions first:
Should you get car insurance?
If you have borrowed money from a bank to finance your car, you are legally obliged to have comprehensive car insurance in South Africa. It protects the bank’s interest in the vehicle, and saves you from having to find thousands of Rands to have your vehicle repaired or replaced if anything does go wrong.
What do you get?
- Comprehensive car insurance covers your vehicle in the event of almost anything going wrong.
- If your car is hijacked or stolen, your comprehensive car insurance policy has you covered.
- You’re covered for accidental damage to your vehicle, too.
- Plus, accidental damage to another person’s vehicle or property is covered by your policy.
It doesn’t stop there, comprehensive car insurance isn’t the only cover you should think about having for your vehicle.
Third party, fire and theft insurance is just as important to have, and here is why:
- Accidental damage to another vehicle is covered by third party insurance.
- If you are involved in an accident and it was your fault, third party insurance covers their damages for you.
- Should your vehicle be stolen, you still enjoy cover with third party, fire and theft.
- If your car bursts into flames, your cover stays put. It can happen, and you want to be covered for it.
Important note: you can only have third party, fire and theft insurance if your vehicle is no longer being financed by a bank or some other financial institution.
Car insurance must-haves
When shopping for comprehensive car insurance, you need to look for a few “must have” features. A great car insurance policy will include the following features:
- Windscreen and glass repairs are excess free in the event of a claim. This kind of cover makes having windscreen chips and cracks repaired a lot easier.
- Insuring the value of the vehicle between market and retail value so that you are well covered. Anything insured for less than market value puts you at risk of owing the bank thousands in the event of a total loss or write-off.
- 24/7 roadside assistance for those unexpected emergencies. Like, running out of fuel in the middle of the night, on a quiet road.
Car insurance should-haves
Some comprehensive vehicle insurance policies can be full of exciting features that you can add onto the basic policy. The trick is finding an insurer that offers you these extra benefits:
- Having a tracking device installed in your vehicle. It not only offers extra security, but the chance to lower your monthly premium as well.
- Car hire is an important extra to have; you need to be sure that you can get around while your vehicle is being repaired.
- If your car is financed by a bank then it is essential that you have comprehensive insurance but credit shortfall is an extra that you should also consider so that If your car is stolen, hijacked, damaged or written off, the insurer will pay the service provider who financed it the difference between the retail/market value (whichever is stated in your policy schedule) and the amount you still owe.
Car insurance could-haves
The only way you be able to keep your car in showroom floor condition is to leave it there. Add some value to your comprehensive car insurance with these could-haves:
- There is nothing worse than small scratches or dents, so having a product available to cover minor damage to your vehicle is a dream come true.
- Cover for damage to expensive rims or tyres – for the serious car-lovers.
- Cover for any extras you’ve had added to the car since you bought it.
Get the right car insurance at the right price
When getting a car insurance quote, try and be as accurate as possible when asked for details. Here are some of the questions you will be asked:
- Whether your vehicle is used for business use or private use.
- If you have modified your vehicle in any way.
- If the physical address where you keep your vehicle overnight has changed.
- Let them know if you have had any extra security features added to your vehicle.
- It is especially important that you tell insurers about any accidents or claims that you have had within the last few years.