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For many people there exists a fair amount of ignominy in driving a dinged-up car around in public. Of course, scratches and blemishes are almost entirely inevitable on South African roads, and are nothing to be embarrassed about at all, but they do present a large number of real disadvantages to the average car owner.
From unavoidable road debris to wayward birds, or hard-shelled bugs, or much-dreaded hailstorms, or parking lot mishaps, or getting your car keyed up by a crazy person, the world beyond the safety of your garage is simply bursting with things just waiting to put a massive, unsightly dent into your wallet.
But, naturally, this is why we have car insurance, right?
Well, it’s complicated. In most cases, unfortunately, the excess cost of claiming for minor scratches or dents could easily eclipse the actual cost of repairs, and you’ll likely end up having to claim far too often to keep up.
So, how exactly would you go about keeping your vehicle in the best possible condition without breaking the bank?
The answer can be found in specific, innovative Value Added Products (VAPs) such as the aptly-named Scratch and Dent Insurance. In this article, we’ll take a look at what this type of cover is, how it works, and why keeping your vehicle in tiptop condition will benefit you in many, many ways.
If you’ve ever opened your car door onto the mailbox, or misjudged the distance of that carport pole, or returned to the mall parking lot from a bit of shopping to find the evidence of somebody else’s poor reversing all along the length of your car, then you’ll know the feeling all too well.
This is going to be expensive. Claiming for this is going to be far more effort than what it’s worth. Tonight’s Tinder date is going to think I live in Randfontein. The horror.
Scratch and Dent Insurance, much like Tyre and Rim Cover, is one of many helpful Value Added Products offered by insurance providers to make the lives of their clients easier, less stressful and more affordable.
What exactly is a Value Added Product, then? Simply put, they are products designed to provide additional protection from risks otherwise not covered (or not affordably covered) by traditional insurance policies, and can be added to existing policies or even issued as stand-alone cover.
A Scratch and Dent policy will commonly cover the cost of minor repairs to the exterior of your vehicle, such as, well, scratches and dents, but also other annoying blemishes like flecks of tar, chips in the paintwork or hail damage.
The excess on these claims is far, far lower than what you would pay on a normal car insurance claim and most (if not all) insurance providers will allow you to submit an unlimited number of claims per year without it affecting your premiums or benefits. This makes it far easier and far more affordable to keep your car in good condition, providing all-year-round cosmetic comfort.
So, we’ve established that keeping your vehicle in pristine showroom condition may prove costly when constantly having to pay for repairs and restorations out-of-pocket.
The downside to ignoring these damages, however, is that many of them may worsen or rust over time, causing far greater harm, and will also dramatically decrease the resale value of the vehicle.
When the time for selling the car arrives, one could, of course, always opt for the ‘car has a lot of character’ approach to the Gumtree advertisement and hope for the best, but prospective buyers just aren’t as likely to appreciate these quirks as much as you have. There’s a big difference between a Golf and a Golf Ball, after all.
You’re unlikely to get any joy out of bringing a dinged-up vehicle to a dealership, either, as they’ll undoubtedly assess the damage, deduct the cost of repairs and offer you far less than what you were hoping for.
Well-maintained, cared-for vehicles are far more desirable, and will therefore not only fetch a higher selling price, and likewise sell a whole lot faster, but will also grant you, the seller, the image of a careful driver. This is an important factor to consider when buying a previously-owned vehicle.
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