Cape Town - More than 40 000 car insurance claims get thrown out, either partly or in full, each year in South Africa. Don't let yours be one of them.

Gumtree head of automotive Jeff Osborne said: “Not knowing exactly what you're covered for could cost you. Go through the policy before you sign on the dotted line - it'll save you time, money and a lot of frustration.”

These are the five main reasons why insurance claims get knocked back by insurers:

An unlicensed driver was behind the wheel

Letting other people drive your car is your choice. But if they're involved in a crash and it turns out they don't have a valid driving license, you're not covered for the cost of the damages - no matter whose fault it was.

One too many after-work drinks

If it comes out that your blood-alcohol level was over the limit at the time of the crash, any related claim will automatically be rejected. Don't drink and drive. Period.

The car wasn't roadworthy

This can be something quite small: You wouldn't think faulty windscreen wipers could cause a crash but if you are involved in a collision because you couldn't see properly due to worn wiper blades, your insurers can kick your claim to the kerb.

The car wasn't covered for a write-off

If your car is so badly damaged that it's not worth repairing, the insurer will only be liable if write-off cover is explicitly stated in your contract. This is something you need to ask the broker or the insurance company's representative to show you in writing before you accept any quote.

The car wasn't inspected when you took out the policy

Before it can issue a policy, the insurance company has to inspect the car to ensure that it has no existing damage; if that inspection was never done, the insurer will not be able to validate your claim for damages from a subsequent crash.

Motoring.co.za

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