Why is my insurer not recovering the excess from the other guilty driver?

I would like to share an email sent to the Arrive Alive road safety website pertaining to insurance excess. This topic has frustrated many innocent drivers who have been in vehicle accidents and who feel aggrieved that their insurers are not able to recover the insurance excess:

Question:

“I got your email address from the arrive alive website. Apologies for contacting you directly.

Please will you advise me on the following with regards to car insurance.

I was recently involved in an accident , the car behind me ( NISSAN ) collided into me , and me ( HONDA) colliding into car ( TOYOTA ) in front of me. I went thru the process of claiming , which my insurance paid out , but I had to pay a huge access.

The chap that caused the accident , is not insured , has no income . How else can the insurance legal team recover the cost for all damages caused , and also recover my excess that I paid for the claim.

I see that on the website , “car insurance still not compulsory in SA “ why is this ?

Surely the legal team can sell his car ( NISSAN ) to recover costs etc ?

I just feel that it is so unfair , that anybody can drive a car on the public road with no cover , and no respect to other road users. What happens in cases where the accidents are more serious , and results in serious injuries or even death.

Please can I have your thoughts on the above.”

Answer:

I understand the frustrations of this person and decided to refer this to some friends from insurance companies for a response. I would like to share one of these responses:

“It’s a sad reality that there are many uninsured cars on our roads (estimates are that 2/3 of all cars aren’t insured) which poses a serious problem for many motorists who find themselves in the situation below.

The insurance company can only recover the costs of the accident (and the excess) if the person has the financial means to pay the debt. An insurance company can obviously tally the assets the person owns and then sell them to recover the debt but there are obvious issues with selling any assets which may worsen the person’s circumstances and affect the lives of direct family members.

This is a moral issue which cannot be ignored; it’s important to note though that this is an influencing factor and not an absolute determinant to halt any such action against the person concerned.

The insurance company would obviously consider the costs it intends to recover and the costs of taking such action against a person who may not have means to pay. It makes no sense to spend more money than what could be recovered.

So there are a number of issues that must be considered; in simple terms though the insurance will attempt to recover the money and will only halt the action if the factors I mentioned come into play.

I hope this helps.

Also view:

What is insurance excess and how do I reclaim my excess payment?

Will we see compulsory car insurance in South Africa?

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