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Your car damaged in violent student protests? SA car insurers might not pay out

2016-10-27 09:55

Sergio Davids, Charlen Raymond

TRAFFIC DELAYS, DAMAGED CARS: Here's what road users should do if you're caught in civil unrest on SA's roads. Image: Sullivan Photography

Cape Town - In late October 2016, student protesters have turned the Cape Town CBD into a war zone during the latest round of fights with government in their #feesmustfall movement.

Sadly, many drivers in Cape Town have been affected by traffic delays due to ongoing protests.

Finding yourself at the centre of civil unrest in South Africa while behind the wheel of your car is not something many people think of.

Is your vehicle covered?

Even if you're safely away from the unrest situation on the road, you may find that your vehicle has sustained damage. If you have insurance you may be covered. 

READ: Car insurance in SA - 'A necessity, not a luxury'

It's important that motorists who are covered by vehicle insurance ensure that South African Special Risks Association Limited (SASRIA) cover is included in your insurance policy.

If you're not properly covered, your insurer might reject claims for damage or loss incurred during a strike, civil unrest or protest.

What's SASRIA?

SASRIA is a state-owned entity that provides cover for loss/damage to insured property as a direct result of civil unrest (which includes rioting, strike action and public disorder). SASRIA is the only insurer in SA that provides cover for damage caused during these kinds of incidents.

SASRIA is included in all comprehensive policies and covers you for “any accidental or intentional damage to your property caused by any person or group of persons taking part in a riot, strike, lock-out, public disorder or civil commotion or committing any act that has a political, social or economic aim, objective or cause or that is in protest against any state or government.

"This cover is limited to circumstances occurring only in South Africa.”

For more information on Insurance Driven by the AA, click here.

SASRIA covers:

  • Insurance against material damage, including anything that isn’t covered by the other categories, thus functioning as a catch-all category.

  • Contract works and construction plant cover, which is obviously specific to the engineering industry.

  • Consequential loss as an additional cover in the area of business interruption insurance.

  • The motor policy category, which covers all types of motor vehicles.

  • The marine and inland transit category, which involves more specific arrangements that can be made with Sasria, given that marine insurance normally offers cover for strike, riot and civil commotion loss.

For more, visit the Arrive Alive website.

Caught in a protest

What you should do:

  • Stay in your vehicle as long as possible. Make sure your windows are closed and doors locked.

  • Unbuckle your seatbelt, and those of any passengers, to be prepared to exit your car quickly.

  • Keep your car moving as much as possible, whilst checking for possible escape routes.

  • Do not harm any protesters with your vehicle as this may turn the mob against you.

  • Do not taunt the protesters by shouting, gesticulating or hooting at them.

  • Remain as calm as possible to ensure you are aware of what is going on around you.

  • Seek assistance or safety from the police as quickly as you can. If you do not see the police, call them.

  • Obey police instructions.

  • Leave your car only if the situation becomes life-threatening and get out of the area on foot. Your life is more valuable than your possessions.

  • Once you are safe (with or without your vehicle) contact family or friends to let them know where you are, and what is happening.

Have you been affected by violent protests? Have you experienced civil unrest on our roads? Share your experience with Wheels24!

Be prepared

Johan Jonck, editor of Arrive Alive, said: "It is indeed a major concern for the South African road user that protestors vent their anger and frustration at innocent people. Not only is property at risk, but it also is frustrating for motorists to see property from the state (bought with their tax contributions) being destroyed. 

"All the South African road user can do is to keep up to date and informed with protest-related news and avoid possible areas of protests. Pay attention to the calls of police and other authorities and don't put life and limb at risk by getting personally (read: physically) involved.

WATCH: The Western Cape made a shocking road safety ad and it worked

"If you do recognise some of these individuals on social media - do report their identities to law enforcement agencies so that they can deal with them.

"Safety always starts with planning, so if you are aware of trouble in an area and it is not absolutely essential to travel, rather delay your journey or find alternate routes. There are lots of info on social media from major news sites (on civil unrest), but just keep in mind that there will always be the uninformed or malicious person trying to spread panic - so cross check warnings between various sources."

Follow News24 for updates on the civil unrest in SA.


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