Be Alert to nasty surprises in your car insurance contract!

Do you know what you agree to when you purchase car insurance? We have come a long way in consumer protection, but we are not doing enough ourselves to avoid the dreaded surprises when submitting a claim.

We are always warned of the so-called “fine print” in contracts, yet we tend to go with the flow and merely believe that if so many others are signing the same type of contracts  – we would be safe as well and there are no further reasons for caution.

It remains very important to be aware that insurers differ – and so do their insurance offerings. Even though they might both be operating within the confines of the law, the one might have a few more exclusions or requirements which you may need to be aware of.

Yesterday I received a link from a friend of a post that appeared on MyBroadband on such a scenario which I would like to share:

“Somebody drove into me – now I must find a new insurance company?

Greetings all, hope this is the right place for this.

Well basically somebody drove into the car behind me, which smashed my car’s boot in (whilst I was in a long motionless queue of cars, waiting for a train to cross the road), and after getting the insurance to pay out in full, and getting my car fixed, I wanted to insure it again, but all of a sudden, they say I must send it to the AA for an after accident inspection, initial cost estimated at R1,900.00 (and friends have told me it’s a very thorough test, and I could have to put a lot more money into the car, before they are happy..)

Before getting it fixed, they said they’d send a private person to inspect it, but now it’s this, the AA test.

Also, now they suddenly kept on mentioning my car is old, etc, when it’s only almost one year older than last year, when I started insuring it with them.

What I hate about this, is how it’s suddenly my fault (for making the claim?)… but – how is it my fault that somebody drove into me?  I didn’t gain anything from having my car smashed in, nor did I from not having a car for months, nor from all of this drama.

So which insurance do you recommend I get? I am under 25 (is that the magic number?), and my car is older than 10 years old, and have had a perfect driving record for years until this guy comes and messes it up for me.

All I want is some comprehensive insurance that can basically insure for the value of my car, without any nonsense terms and conditions (such as my car is too old, I am too young, or it’s my fault when somebody drives into a queue of cars that I happen to be in.)

Please help!”

I decided to refer this to a friend working with some of the “legal matters” at OUTsurance and received the following response:

At Outsurance, we do not require that our clients or prospective clients need to go through the rigorous and costly procedure of obtaining an AA approved certification before insuring a vehicle.

We do require our clients to take their vehicle to one of our many inspection centres, where the existence of the vehicle is verified as well as any pre-existing damage noted.

If all in order, cover can then commence.

The first part is to off course contact us telephonically to obtain a quote and the details of the most convenient inspection centre.

We also offer an “Essential Product” that might be suitable for older vehicles, with different insured  values and thus lower premiums.

Hope this is what you need.

Conclusion and Advice

Without having to reflect on a specific insurer or product, there are a few lessons we can take from the above scenario:
–          Be aware that all insurers do not have the exact same terms and conditions.

–          The fact that your neighbour had a specific response to his car insurance claim does not mean that you will have the same outcome.

–          Even though the Consumer Protection Act provides some protection – this does not take away your obligation towards alertness.

–          The onus is on you to consider with caution the terms and conditions of your car insurance policy.

–          If you are unsure of a specific scenario – email the insurer with the question and request a response in writing to keep on your insurance file at home/ work for further reference.

–          Never ever assume anything ….

Also view:

What do we need to know about the Consumer Protection Act?

Pin It on Pinterest