Getting Your Insurance Jacked Up, Not Hijacked

With lockdowns and curfews now a thing of the past, more and more South Africans are out and about enjoying time with friends and family. This freedom of movement also means that motorists need to apply pre-lockdown levels of alertness on the road, not only to avoid road accidents, but also to ensure they don't become soft targets for criminals.

A recent report from the SAPS indicates that car hijacking levels have increased by almost 14% compared to the same period last year , a statistic that highlights the importance of comprehensive car insurance as life returns to a semblance of normalcy.

Luckily there are a number of easy steps you can take to ensure your car insurance muscle is primed, so that you are covered in the event of a theft or hijacking:

Can I insure valuable items which may be stolen from my vehicle? Do I need specific insurance?
If you carry valuables such as laptops and expensive jewellery in your car, you'll need to specify these to ensure that they're covered in the event of a hijacking or theft, as they will not automatically be covered under Home Contents Insurance should they be stolen outside the confines of your home. Make sure you specify any item with a value of over R1,500 to ensure you don't suffer unnecessary financial loss in the event of a car break-in or hijacking.

Remember that in order to avoid complications in the event of a claim, it's vital that you play your part in deterring would-be criminals. For instance, your valuables will not be covered should you fail to lock your car or leave items easily visible. As such, always make sure to double check that your vehicle is locked and ensure that all items of value are safely locked away, either in the boot or cubby hole. This preventative approach is not only fundamental in terms of reducing the likelihood of a car break-in, but it's also likely to save you trouble when filing an insurance claim.

Am I covered by my insurance policy in the event of a hijacking?
Hijacking is covered under most comprehensive forms of insurance cover. In fact, some insurers even offer additional benefits in the form of counselling and emergency assistance. Make sure to speak to your insurer to ensure that you understand the benefits you're entitled to as part of your insurance policy.

To ensure a seamless and hassle-free claims process, be sure to adhere to all the security requirements as stipulated in your policy. These requirements can differ depending on your insurer. Also, make sure your premiums are paid on time and up to date, as a missed payment could void your cover and leave you vulnerable in the event of a claim.

Furthermore, should the regular driver of your vehicle change for any reason, make sure to update your insurer, as you could face problems claiming should there be discrepancies between your current reality and that stated on your policy.

3rd Party Fire & Theft vs. Comprehensive Cover: what should I choose?
Given the array of insurance options available, many car owners choose to opt for a less comprehensive form of cover, commonly known as 3rd Party, Fire and Theft Insurance, which provides cover in the event of loss due to fire or theft, or in case of accidental damage you might have caused to another vehicle. However, it’s important to remember that this form of insurance typically doesn’t cover you in the event of a hijacking, nor does it provide for payouts in the event that you’re involved in an accident. As such, it’s always better to opt for a Comprehensive Insurance plan, which provides cover for any eventuality, thus allowing you to live your way with complete peace of mind.

Should I install a tracking device?
Without a doubt,not only can a tracking device prove invaluable in terms of tracking down your stolen vehicle, but it may also be a security requirement stipulated in your insurance contract. As such, it's vital that you install a tracker which meets the specifications outlined by your insurer to avoid complications. Certain trackers can also prove to be lifesavers in the event of a hijacking, as they come complete with impact detection, which allows your insurer to immediately dispatch assistance should unusual activity be flagged. Before selecting a device, make sure you understand the requirements of your contract, as well as the additional services offered by your insurer.

If my car isn't recovered, what will my policy pay out?
If it is found that your car is irretrievable and cannot be returned to you, if comprehensively insured, you will be covered based on the value for which you insured the vehicle. If you’ve insured your car for its retail value, you will be covered based on the average current dealership price. It's important to remember that if you have chosen to insure your car for its trade value, you'll be able to claim based on the price the car would fetch if traded in. Market or fair value, on the other hand, is essentially an average of the two (retail and trade) values.

Remember, the value of your car will also be further assessed based on its condition and current mileage.

Living life your way is easy when you're covered for any eventuality. So make sure you understand your insurance policy, ensure it’s jacked up to keep you and your valuables protected, and of course, play your part by taking necessary precautions and paying your premiums on time.
Keep your guard up, stay alert and stay safe.

MiWay is a licensed non-life insurer and Financial Services Provider (FSP 33970).


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