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2015-05-25 12:42

STOP FRETTING OVER LICENCE DISCS: A leading auto insurance group has assured Wheels24 that a missing vehicle licence disc on a roadworthy vehicle does not invalidate its insurance.

JOHANNESBURG, Gauteng - Highveld road-users are still up in arms over e-tolling even though outstanding charges have been halved; the fear now is of renewed licence discs being withheld if payment is not made.

A new e-toll dispensation says outstanding e-toll fees will be cut by 60% and costs will be halved in most vehicle categories, which is good; the scary question now is whether vehicle insurance will pay out if a valid vehicle licence disc does not exist.

Tania Joffe, head of Auto & General’s broker division, told Wheels24: “Auto & General Insurance would not consider the status of a customer’s vehicle licence disc when deciding whether to settle a claim. If a client has failed to renew because of his/her e-toll account, this is not material for us.”


Materiality, Joffe explained, was an important factor in claim assessment; what would matter, for instance, would be the vehicle’s roadworthiness – after all, an expired licence disc would not play a role in a crash.

“Even if an aspect of the vehicle were deemed unroadworthy we would assess its materiality in terms of the accident.”   

Most insurers, she added, would not indemnify a customer if their vehicle were deemed unroadworthy and that that ‘unroadworthiness’ was the cause of the accident.

‘Roadworthy’, Joffe explained, would imply that your vehicle’s electrical systems, brakes, doors and door releases, windows and window-winders, safety belts, seats and fuel tank were all in working order; that your vehicle’s chassis and body are rust-free and that tyre tread is at least 1mm deep.*

The 16 safety-critical components and functions that should be checked regularly to ensure your vehicle’s roadworthiness are:

1 Tyres, including the spare wheel (tread and pressure)
2 Brake fluid
3 Brake pads and discs (front and rear)
4 Shock absorbers (front and rear suspension)
5 Wheel alignment
6 Exhaust system
7 Steering mechanism (control arm, steering box and tie rod ends)
8 Visible belts and hoses (for cracks and corrosion)
9 Windscreen (cracks and visibility)
10 Wiper blades (should not be perished and should function properly)
11 Battery and battery fluid
12 All exterior lights and indicators (should be in good working order)
13 Oil levels and oil filter
14 Water levels
15 Coolant / antifreeze levels
16 Seat belts (all present and functioning properly)

You should in any case be checking these things periodically for your own peace of mind. And that of your family.

 *Wheels24 warns that a car with only 1mm of tread would be dangerous on a wet road and recommends a minimum of 2mm. We'd also point out that it is illegal NOT to have a current vehicle licence disc.

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