Posted by: Jo Duxbury | 19 March 2009

Car insurance – worth it?

A couple of weeks ago my car was sideswiped by a clapped-out van. It happened in rush hour traffic so fortunately we were going pretty slowly and nobody was hurt. The van driver said his car had overheated and the steering had locked. Five panels on my car were damaged and the quote for repairs is around ZAR12,000.

Because the driver is uninsured, my insurance company tells me that I have to pay my excess up front and they will *try* to claim it back from the other driver. Chances of recovering this are minimal, based on the state of his vehicle and the fact that he is unemployed. In the meantime, I have to cough up ZAR3,500 to get the repairs done.

To add insult to injury, Outsurance tell me that this also cancels my no-claims bonus AND my premiums will be affected negatively at the next renewal date. (I won’t go into the appalling service I’ve had from them.) After phoning around, it appears that this is the standard policy in the industry in this country. Did you know that?

Is it fair that I have to take a financial hit for something that was not my fault? In other countries it is illegal to drive on the roads without third party insurance, meaning that parties not at fault don’t have to pay anything. I guess South Africa, being a third world country, is far from that… and in the meantime, the insurance companies have us law-abiding, insurance-paying citizens over a barrel.

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