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5 things to consider when choosing car insurance

2018-01-24 08:38

Image: iStock

Johannesburg - According to the Automobile Association of South Africa, there are 11.4 million registered vehicles on South Africa’s roads and between 65% and 70% of those cars are uninsured.

Some motorists may argue that car insurance is too expensive, crashes do occur and driving without cover can have greater financial implications. 
 
With the year having just begun, it’s as good a time as ever to review your existing car insurance policies or even apply for one. 
 
"People may be looking to buy a new vehicle or maybe they’re simply looking for something more affordable on their existing premium. Regardless, there are a few key points that should always be considered before making a final decision on insurance," says Drew Schnehage, Commercial Director at Innovation Group.
 
Many consumers will be looking to do just that – weighing up options and deciding what solution works best for them. If you’re one of those looking to get your 2018 off to the right start, here are some things to keep in mind: 
 
1. Have you considered all the costs?
 
For many, price is the most important and the deciding factor when it comes to choosing a car insurance policy. However, many forget that cost is a combination of several factors including; excess structure, additional non-standard items fitted onto a vehicle and for the savvier insurers; the amount and way a person drives.
 
Drew said: "Know yourself and your situation; vehicles are the most valuable assets for some people and being without it can have serious ramifications. Does your policy provide car hire, for example? Foregoing this service may lower the cost of your insurance policy, but this may not be beneficial in the long run if you rely on your automobile to get to work or to make a living."


Have you experienced issues with car insurance or vehicle damage claims in SA? Do you have any advice for readers seeking to apply for a new policy? Email us

 
2. Lower premium vs. lower excess
 
The cost of these two factors are directly determined by the other but which is more important? It all depends on your financial situation. 
 
If you do have a sum of money saved up, it may be worth opting for a lower premium and a more expensive excess. In the unfortunate event of an road incident, you will then be able to afford the necessary fee, even if it is higher than normal. 
 
On the other hand, if your financial situation is a little less sturdy, it’s worth paying a little extra each month for your premium. This way, if you do need to make a claim at any stage, there will still be an excess to pay but it won’t be beyond your means. 

 
3. Do you understand the fine print?
 
Thanks to technology, it’s now easier than ever to search a number of quotes in a matter of minutes. However, that process can still be confusing, as it tends to not include any detailed information about what exactly is being offered. 
 
If you’re unable to work through the details yourself, a good broker should be able to assist in providing an informed and impartial decision regarding the cost of the car insurance policy and the benefits that accompany it. That being said, it’s still up to you, the consumer, to make sure there is no uncertainty around the quote and the level of cover being offered. Does the policy best fit your requirements? 
 
4. Have you shopped around? 
 
It’s very easy to get a single estimate, one that offers a seemingly great premium with matching benefits and take it, thinking that there isn’t anything better on the market. This, though, is a mistake that should definitely be avoided. At the very least, consider getting a minimum of three quotes from a variety of reputable companies. 
 
Drew said: "The insurance space is highly competitive. Every organisation tries to differentiate their packages so that they stand out in the market. Remember, the special feature of one product may not necessarily appeal to everyone. Shop around and find the right solution that suits your specific needs." 

 

5. What other factors determine the price of car insurance? 
 
Market value, age of the vehicle and added extras are just a few variables insurers consider when determining their price. Driver age, vehicle storage and usage, secondary drivers and driver behaviour are considered too. 
 
Drew said: "Don’t forget about good risk management when it comes to decreasing costs. 

"Parking in secure locations (both day and night), fitting a tracking device to monitor driver behaviour and vehicle whereabouts, ensuring that the correct (depreciated) market value of the vehicle is recorded by the insurance company and more, can push down the price of your premium."
 
There may not be a plan that ticks every box from A to Z, but keeping all the above points in mind will certainly help you find the one that’s best suited to whatever your personal car policy needs are. Whether you’re looking to reinsure your existing vehicle, or insure a brand new one; make sure you take the time to find the perfect package and get your year off to a perfect, safe start.

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