8 Essential Car Insurance Questions To Ask

Insurance is not as straightforward as it seems. We took a deeper look into some of the most common questions asked about insuring your car.
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You just purchased your first car, oh what a monumental stage in your life. Soon you’ll be cruising the mean streets of South Africa, music blaring to your heart’s content. Before you hit the road however, auto insurance should really be on the very top of your to do list.

Let’s face it, this is South Africa not Sweden. You’re going to need reliable auto insurance to protect you against accidental fires, theft and accidents. In fact, car insurance can even supplement your health insurance in case of an accident.

Searching for an auto insurance company can be tricky, especially if you haven’t done so before. So, to help you on your quest we have compiled a list of the top ten questions to ask auto insurance companies in order to find out which company is right for you.

1. What type of coverage do I need?

There are three basic types of car insurance available in South Africa: Comprehensive Car Insurance, Third Party Fire and Theft Insurance and Third Party only cover. Comprehensive Car Insurance covers you for theft and hijacking, loss or damage caused by accidents, and fire or natural disasters.

It also covers you against claims made by third parties where you are responsible for damage to their vehicles. Third Party Fire and Theft differs from Comprehensive Car Insurance in that it does not provide cover for accidental damage to your vehicle. Third Party only is the cheapest of the three options and provides cover for any damage you may cause to someone else’s vehicle.

2. How high is my risk?

Auto insurance companies will be able to perform risk assessment based on a number of important factors: age, sex, occupation, address and how long you’ve been driving. First time drivers are also considered riskier, as are people with criminal records. The fundamental rule states: the greater the risk, the higher the insurance premium.

3. Who does my policy cover?

If you plan on allowing your significant other, or other members of your family, to use your car then you need to get additional coverage. The risk factors of these extra individuals may considerably raise your premiums. Driver’s that are considered lower risk probably won’t affect your premium very much.  

4. What will my deductible be?

If you’re ever unfortunately involved in an accident then you’ll be expected to pay a certain amount of money towards repairs and treating injuries before your auto insurance company covers the rest of the costs. This is known as a deductible and it can have a significant effect on your insurance premium. Low deductibles are easier to cover in the event of an accident, however, higher deductibles can lower your premiums - leading to big savings over time.

5. Do you offer any discounts?

It’s always important to find out how to lower your monthly premiums. Don’t be shy, ask your auto insurance provider which discounts you are eligible for.

Auto insurance providers have been known to offer discounts for students or extra safety measures to your vehicle such as an alarm system or air bags. In fact, there are many ways to get discounted auto insurance so find out which you’re eligible for and if you can have multiple discounts at once.

6. What are my payment options?

Purchasing auto insurance is a big commitment, so it’s important to decide how you’re going to pay for it. Most auto insurance companies allow you to pay an annual lump sum or pay half of your annual amount every six months. There is always the pay-per-month option that is more realistic to budget. Paying for your auto insurance in one go however, usually results in a discount.  

7. How will the value of my car affect my premium?

Flashy, new and expensive cars usually have very high premiums. Second-hand vehicles purchased from a dealer that isn’t reputable can mean the vehicle’s origin may not be traceable. These types of cars are uninsurable. It’s always essential to know which car models come with lower insurance rates.  

8. Do you have a 24/7 claim service?

Reporting your accident to the police and your auto insurance provider ASAP is vital. If your auto insurance company is closed over the weekend this can cause complications to your claim. Many companies now have a 24/7 online and telephone reporting service, so check whether your company does as well.