Don’t drive on South African Roads without proper insurance coverage



December is holiday month across the country. It is a time when thousands of South Africans take to the nation’s roads on the way to visit relatives and friends far from their urban homes.

It is also, unfortunately, a time when accidents are rife as many families are on the South Afircan roads. Nobody wants to think about the possibility of not arriving at their destination, but this is something that needs to be considered.

“Before setting out by taxi or bus you should consider whether you are adequately insured against any mishaps that may occur on the road,” says Johan van Greuning, Head of Standard Insurance Limited at Standard Bank. “Even if you believe you are sufficiently insured, you should check exactly what you are covered for before going on holiday.”

Mr Johan van Greuning suggests that you consider the following:

  • If you are travelling in a taxi that is not insured

If a taxi belongs to an accredited taxi association and the driver has the necessary public driving permit, it should be easy to check whether they carry public liability insurance for passengers who may be injured during a journey.

However, if a taxi isn’t registered and its driver is not correctly licensed, this could impact on your ability to claim from the operators. You will not be covered and would have to rely on a public hospital for treatment, and could wait for many months or even years before having a Road Accident Fund claim processed.

There are many people who travel by taxi who can’t afford medical aid. What should be considered for everyday peace of mind is hospital insurance.  There are various options available and they offer pre-agreed coverage when you or a covered family member is hospitalized.

This will enable you to totally cover, or just reduce, medical costs that are associated with an accident.

Things to ask when arranging hospital insurance are:

  • what the  key benefits offered are;
  • whether you are covered for hospitalisation caused by injury while using public transport; and
  • claims processing and how long it takes for claims to be settled.
  • To what extent the operator of a bus is insured

During December, many hired buses criss-cross the country, taking hundreds of people to social gatherings and events.  If you are a member of a group tasked with hiring transport, you should carefully check their credentials. They should issue a contract that clearly spells out what their responsibilities are and what safeguards they have in place for passengers.

If they do not have passenger insurance, ask if they have contacts with insurance companies that can issue coverage on a once-off basis.  Contact these companies and get their rates. If everybody is agreeable, add insurance costs on to the overall ticket price. When everybody contributes insurance costs can be kept low, and peace of mind at a high level.

“Though it may take a little time and extra money to ensure that your insurance is up-to-date before leaving for holiday, it can save you and your family considerable financial and emotional hardship in the event that you have to claim. So, review your insurance policies including household insurance as thieves know that many people leave home during this period,” concludes Mr van Greuning.