When dealing with car theft, drivers should be aware of unexpected insurance costs according to insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa.
Having insurance is vital so you can recover financially from vehicle theft, but there could be costs involved that you hadn’t planned for.
According to Aon, you need to try and mitigate your risk with correctly scoped insurance and advice as well as using security measures that will deter criminals as well as adhere to the road rules and drive defensively.
One issue that has been raised by the group is related to car jamming, which is becoming a growing trend, especially at public parking lots.
With car jamming, a criminal will use signal blocking that will stop the car from locking properly.
Motorists have the habit of walking away from their car as they lock without actually checking if the vehicle has locked.
Theft of property from a locked vehicle will usually be covered by personal insurance policies, but these have their own conditions and limitations.
However, when there is no evidence of a break-in then there is usually no cover. It’s important to check that your car has been locked before you walk away.
Other pitfalls of insurance that drivers need to know include:
1. An insurance claim is subject to a basic excess, which is generally 5% of the loss, which needs to be taken into account.
2. Following a claim, your insurance premium is likely to increase as you will lose the no claim bonus.
3. Protect your vehicle against theft by parking in a safe area and ensuring that the car is locked. You can also have an approved tracking system installed.
4. Ensure that your policy includes maximum car hire, so that you have transport whilst your insurer is sorting out your claim and vehicle after an incident.
5. Don’t leave valuables in your car and if you do ensure they are out of sight. Items in your vehicle like a laptop etc should be specified under All Risks cover otherwise they won’t be covered.
6. You need to understand the Basis of Loss Settlement. Retail is the amount that the dealer will sell a car to you for and the market value is what you could get if you trade-in your car. An insurer will inform you on which basis the claim will be calculated.
7. If the outstanding balance is more than the retail value then credit shortfall cover steps in (if you have it) so that you can cover the outstanding debt if your car is written off or stolen.
You need to lessen the risk as much as you can and have adequate insurance so that you are in the same financial position you were before the loss.