Two well – known Springbok rugby players have recently been exposed in the Volksblad newspaper in a story focusing on a motor vehicle accident and car insurance. Even more important – it highlights the requirement to make full and complete disclosures when submitting a car insurance claim or accident report. The unfortunate events have resulted in a court case which could have been averted had there been a better understanding of the terms and conditions of car insurance.
Facts about the accident
- Kabamba Floors appeared in the magistrate’s court in Bloemfontein to contest a R35,000 claim instituted by a young lady, Tanya Gouws (19), after Floors crashed into her motorbike.
- Kabamba Floors was driving the vehicle owned by fellow Springbok Jongi Nokwe.
- It is placed in dispute whether the traffic light was green when Floors turned in front of Gouws.
The interesting part pertaining to car insurance is the following:
- Kabamba Floors testified that he did not report the accident to the police as it was not his car and he did not know what to do at the time.
- When Nokwe returned the next day from Johannesburg Kabamba accompanied him to the police station.
- Nokwe said he does not want to get involved in a court case and he will handle the situation.
- He merely wished to get his car back and have the insurance pay for the damage to his car.
- In cross-examination Kabamba Floors testified that Nokwe gave his name in the declaration to the police [accident report form] as the driver of the vehicle.
- The sketch of the accident scene provided by Nokwe differed significantly from the evidence before the court.
The court case will continue….
What are the lessons from this incident?
It is important to focus on 2 of the most important lessons from this incident:
- Full and Complete Disclosure
It is of the utmost importance to make a full and complete disclosure both when purchasing car insurance – as well as when submitting a claim. The failure to do so may cause the car insurance company to reject your claim – and they may well be entitled to do so.
It is essential to the obligations of the client under the terms of the car insurance policy that the truth be told – and that there are no attempts at defrauding the insurer.
- Regular driver
It is also of interest to note that this could all have easily been avoided had the truth been told. We may ask the question – did Nokwe as vehicle owner have a valid car insurance claim? – and he most certainly did.
Insurers will recognize that someone else might from time to time climb behind the wheel to drive the insured vehicle – as long as this person does not become the “regular driver”.
As long as Kabamba Floors was not the regular driver of the vehicle [and was not indicated as regular driver in the insurance policy] there would be no issue had Kabamba went along and made the declaration as driver in the accident.
It is only when someone is not disclosed as regular driver and it appears after an accident that that person was in fact the regular driver of the vehicle, that an insurer will have the right to reject such a claim.
We would like to refer visitors to more detail on these aspects: