Car insurance is often a grudge purchase. You do not want to fork out hundreds or even thousands of Rands every month for cover that you may never need. But the reality is that it is an essential cover for South African vehicle owners. With the high road traffic accident rate and vehicle-related crime in the country, car insurance could save you hundreds of thousands of Rands in the long run.
Different Levels of Cover
There are different levels of car insurance cover that is important to know as a vehicle owner. Car insurance may not be mandatory by law in South Africa, but your vehicle finance agreement could require you to have certain types of car insurance cover. For freehold vehicles, you have more flexibility on which type of car insurance cover to opt for although the different levels of cover have different benefits.
For the purpose of this cover, we will look at the three levels of cover:
- Maximum cover, also known as comprehensive car insurance.
- Intermediate cover, also known as third party plus cover.
- Minimum cover, which is the straightforward third party cover.
The Best Car Insurance Cover
Comprehensive car insurance is undoubtedly the best cover you can opt for, but it is also the most expensive. It covers your vehicle for accident damage repairs or replacement, as well as replacement in the event of loss which could be due to a hijacking, theft, fire or some other incident. In addition comprehensive car insurance will pay for the repairs or replacement of third party vehicles if the accident is your fault. You are therefore not liable in your personal capacity.
Public liability insurance is also included in comprehensive cover which will pay for civil claims against you in the event that you damage property or injure individuals due to gross negligence. Most car insurers will offer additional benefits like optional car hire, roadside assistance, discounted rates for vehicle tracking and rewards programs with your cover. You are required to have comprehensive car insurance vehicle as long as your vehicle is under finance.
The In-Between Car Insurance Cover
After comprehensive car insurance, you have the option of third-party plus cover. It is far less expensive but it also has significantly less benefits. With this type of cover, the insurer will pay for accident damage to other vehicles when the collision is your fault. However, repair of accident damage to your vehicle is not covered. However, there is a fire and theft benefit which means you will be paid by the insurer if your vehicle is loss due to a fire, theft or hijacking.
Third party plus cover is also known as third party with fire and theft cover or sometimes referred to as basic car insurance. It is suitable for older vehicles that are not of high value. Ideally it should be for a vehicle that is not used often and will not significantly impact on your finances if it is damaged in an accident. Third party cover is included in comprehensive car insurance along with additional benefits.
The Bare Basic Car Insurance Cover
Third-party only cover is where the insurer will cover your liability to third parties when the accident is due to your fault. However, there is no cover for your vehicle, be it for accident damage repairs or loss of your vehicle due to any cause. The difference in cost between third-party only and third-party plus may not be significant and many insurers may no longer offer this level of cover. If comprehensive car insurance is not affordable then third-party plus is the next best option.