Cars get hit, sometimes they get stolen and no matter how careful you might be while driving or how security conscious you think you are, these things happen to the best of us.
That’s why a good car insurance policy is important to help you pull through the cost or replacing your car when it gets stolen or the cost of repairs and in some cases medical bills in any event of an accident.
Car insurance policies serve as a firewall that shields you from an economic crisis when the weight of being at fault for property damage done or injuries to other people are rested on your shoulders.
Just like buying a home, there isn’t a one size fits all solution for getting the best insurance policy from you.
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Of course, the wide range of car insurance policies mean that price isn’t your major consideration and that you have to check around for the policy and insurance company in South Africa that fits your needs and circumstances.
Questions to be answered before buying a car insurance policy
When planning to buy your insurance policy, there are few questions you need to ask yourself and the answers to these questions will help you decide which insurer and plan you should commit to
Will the cover be efficient?
With the three types of insurance policies (to explained below) available, you need to be sure how your car will be insured.
How do you use your car?
Will the car you’re buying an insurance cover for use for a Professional, Business or Personal purposes? This is quite important.
As the insured, will I be compliant?
This is very important because you need to agree and adhere the agreements laid out by the insurer to the latter.
A brief overview of car insurance policies in South Africa
The car insurance companies in South Africa offer three types of car insurance policies providing you with cover for a different level of risks.
Third party Insurance
In case you’re at fault in an accident, this is a policy that covers damage done to any other vehicle you’re involved with in the accident and the personal injury benefits above the low boundaries that the RAF (Road Accident Fund) pays out for.
Although some of your medical bills can be claimed for the RAF, your medical bills and even damage done to your car isn’t covered in any way with this policy plan.
Third Party, Fire & Theft Insurance
With the high trend of car theft or hijacking in South African cities, this coverage for fire and theft to the third-party is what this insurance policy offers.
This insurance policy is a total package because it offers all the benefits of the two other types of policies. It covers fire, theft, and damage for third-party and most importantly your own vehicle.
Car Insurance Comparison in South Africa
While all car insurance companies in South Africa state that they’re the best in the business, you can be assured that most of them only do so on introductory offers and it becomes your responsibility to filter out the most transparent insurance companies in South Africa that’ll suit your needs without any surcharges, hidden costs and clear knowledge of excess payments you need to make per claim.
Getting the best insurance company in South Africa for you is easier than it used to be as all the major players in the industry now have a solid online presence.
There are five simple criteria used in comparing car insurance companies in South Africa and they include Feedback/response, Repairs/servicing, Billing/accounts, Call centre and Breach of contract.
Having a good look at how well an insurance company performs under these factors can help you decide on the car insurance company with the best policy for your needs.
Billing and Accounts
given that this is the most scrutinized area for people who are looking for the perfect car insurance policy for them, it is expected that the insurers will do a lot to make this a selling point among their customers.
A few companies that are doing this well with ‘relatively transparent’ billings and accounts include FNB Insurance brokers, Prime Meridian, King Price, Discover, and Mutual & Federal.
Breach of Contract
This is one area most clients feel cheated the most and hence car insurance companies take heed to be as transparent as they can be to avoid a client complaining there’s a breach of contract.
A few companies that handled it in the best way possible are Auto & General, AIG insurance, Mutual & Federal, Discovery and Virgin Money.
Repair and Service
Outstanding car insurance companies like Sanlam, PPS, Old Mutual, Hollard, AIG insurance and some other insurance companies are leading the way when it comes to repairing and servicing.
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These car insurance companies have the least number of complaints from their clients which means most of their customers were satisfied with the way their claims were handled by their insurers.
Feedback and Response
AA insurance leads the way here with a very low number of complaints.
Other companies that did well here are Budget insurance, 1st for women, Virgin Money and Outsurance.
They offer their clients the best in terms of feedback and responses.
As important as the customer service or call center channel of any company is these days, some call centers still don’t live up to the standard expected of them.
1st for women insurance has the reputation of having the best call centers in South Africa, other companies that offer great call centers include AA insurance, Dial Direct, Holland, Alexander Forbes insurance, Milan and AIG insurance.
Making sure to get yourself the best car insurance policy from the numerous car insurance companies in South Africa is a necessary precaution that should be taken.
Getting cover with a comprehensive policy is the best way to go but if you can’t afford that, you should screen the surcharges, premium payment plans and terms & conditions of your chosen insurance plans before you commit.
In all, when choosing your insurance policy pay good attention to the details.