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60% of drivers in SA are uninsured

29 March 2007 Santam

Millions of South Africans will take to the roads for the Easter holiday this month but startlingly only about 40% of SA drivers have car insurance.

Caroline da Silva, Head of Portfolio Management at Santam says, "If you have no insurance and crash into a Rolls Royce or a Mercedes SLK the person whose property you damage has the right to sue you in your personal capacity - which could turn out to be financially crippling.

And apart from the obvious repair costs for which you will be personally responsible for, the other costs involved, including loss of earnings, pain and suffering, among other things costs the economy up to R12 billion a year.

There are amendments proposed which intend to limit the Road Accident Funds responsibility for personal injury, and remove the right to sue over and above Road Accident Fund compensation, which means that unless you have your own motor vehicle and personal accident insurance you could be seriously out of pocket and unable to sue the negligent party for all of your losses. 

"It is extremely irresponsible to drive without cover, not only because of the risk of causing an accident and being sued, but also because drivers have an obligation to the people whose property they damage and without being able to meet this obligation should not be allowed on the road."

Da Silva adds that insurers pay out more than R7 billion a year as a result of car related claims and around 70% of these claims are as a result of car accidents. In countries like the UK, where the accident rate is much lower, it is compulsory to have car insurance before turning on the ignition.

"Current statistics reveal that one is 10 times more likely to die on South African roads for every 100 000km traveled as opposed to the UK and Australia. Apart from the obvious importance of cover, a concerted effort needs to be made to educate drivers about the importance of road safety. A reduction in road accidents will also bring down insurance costs, making it more accessible for everyone."


 

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