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Reckless driving can see your insurance claim rejected

2019-08-20 08:00
Car insurance claim

Image: iStock

The implications of driving under the influence of alcohol, without a valid driver’s licence or reckless driving can be profound– all can lead to an outright rejection of your insurance claim if there is an accident and damage or loss of property. 

Far worse, it can lead to a criminal record, serious injury or a tragic loss of life. The Ombud for Short-term Insurance has seen a 48% increase in complaints since 2017 for claims rejections where policyholders have not exercised due care to prevent a loss. 

Many of these relate to driving under the influence, reckless driving and excessive speeding.

Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa, said: "The reality is that Insurers are there to pay valid claims due to sudden and unforeseen circumstances - any scenario where there is proven recklessness could see your claim rejected for failing to take due care to prevent loss."

Have you filed an insurance claim only to have it rejected by your insurer? What were the reasons? Email us

Car, Crash, Claim Form, Traffic Accident, Car Insu

                                               Image: iStock

Barrett said: "Insurers are able to back up such claim rejections with technology such as vehicle telematics reports which show the speed of the vehicle just before impact, accident reconstruction experts and eye-witness reports if they believe the cause of claim is related to illegal or reckless behaviour."

"Getting behind the wheel of a car when you are over the legal alcohol limit, under the influence of narcotics, talking on your phone while driving without a car kit or driving at excessive speeds – all of which are illegal behaviour – would see Insurers well within their rights to reject claims on this basis if prove.

“The financial implications are huge – not only will you face the costs of own damage if the claim is rejected due to reckless driving, but you will also be responsible for the costs of any third-party damage."

"Even more concerning is the fact that if there is a personal liability claim by a third party involved in an accident with you, you may become legally liable to pay for financial loss, physical injury, disability or death of a third party. The personal legal liability cover typically embedded in your personal motor insurance policy will not respond if your claim is rejected, and you’ll be left to fund any legal defence costs and claims awards from your own pocket." 

Auto Insurance policy with keys and glasses
                                               Image: iStock    

Barrett said: "We all know that life gets crazy, that pressures get to us and that we get frustrated on the roads. Speeding, taking calls while driving and having to deal with an increasing number of drivers who have no regard for the rules of the road gets overwhelming. But always bear in mind the financial consequences if your insurance claim is repudiated on the grounds of your actions." 

"If you have consumed alcohol, do the right thing and get a driving service to get you home safely, as well as other road users.  Don’t speed and respect the rule of the road and other road users - arriving alive and safe is way more important than trying to make up five minutes of lost time, or texting something which can wait until it is safe to do so."  

A professional broker can add tremendous value in the advice process and guide you towards a thorough understanding of the terms and conditions of your cover and your responsibilities as part of a two-way contract with your Insurer.     

Read more on:    reckless driving  |  insurance

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