Like all good friends, mine only call when they need something. So when my irate buddy called to let me know how the insurance company had just ripped him off by repudiating his accident claim, I listened and then told him that the insurance company was correct. Needless to say, the profanity that spewed from the phone is not printable.
His claim for the accident was not considered for a number of reasons.
1 The tyres on his car were not within the wear limit as described by law (they were virtually slicks).
2 He had missed his previous three services.
3 The licence disc, although up to date, was not displayed on the windscreen.
None of the above items would have prevented him reversing into his gate, but had he bothered to read the small print on his policy he would have discovered that if the insurance company finds your car to be unroadworthy, they will try to repudiate a claim.
However, this apparently goes against the Consumer Protection Act which states that the only instance where the insurance company may repudiate a claim is if the component or service to the vehicle was directly responsible for the accident. The insured can refer to the CPA if a dispute of this nature comes up.
Although missing a service may not result in your car being unroadworthy, the insurance company requires that you follow the manufacturer’s specifications on servicing rigidly.
Insurance at the best of times is a grudge purchase.
So when you do have insurance (and you’re one of only 30 percent in this country who do!), I suggest you read all the fine print very carefully.
That brings us to the insurance assessors.
They have a job to do and, as such, will do it by the book. So if a claim is not processed the assessors have found a valid reason not to pay.
Contrary to popular belief, not all insurance companies want to turn down all claims so, if your car isn’t licensed it shouldn’t be on the road. But if it is, and it is involved in an accident, the insurance company is completely within the law not to pay the claim.
Most South Africans feel we are hard done by, but it also can be said that we have only ourselves to blame.
With the rainy season almost upon us, worn wiper blades can cause serious accidents because of your vision being impaired. As cheap as they are to replace, many motorists don’t. When the vehicle is serviced these items will be checked and replaced if needed. So once again servicing your car becomes as important as putting in fuel and checking your oil and coolant levels regularly.
Finally, we need to understand that the onus is solely on us, the insured, to ensure that our vehicles are always in roadworthy condition, not only so that our insurance pays out in the event of a claim, but also for our own safety and those of other road users.
Sagie Moodley is a workshop owner and presents a radio motoring show with Adam Ford on Midrand’s Mix FM (93.8) from 7-9pm every Wednesday. If you’re having trouble with a repair or need some used-car advice, he’ll be happy to try and offer a solution. Email your query to the motoring editor. - Star Motoring