Security concerns in South Africa such as theft, robbery or carjacking are some of the main reasons why many people take out car insurance. On the other hand, the security features of your car affect your car insurance premiums and the excess you will need to pay in the event of a claim.
In fact, many insurers will not insure your car without certain anti-theft devices. These include gear locks, alarm systems, immobilisers, and tracking devices. You also need to make sure that your car’s security devices are approved by your insurer otherwise the terms of your policy become null and void.
Your insurer will also want to know where your car is parked overnight: on-street parking, off-street parking, in a locked garage, or in a security complex with remote access. Some insurers today will refuse to insure your car if it is parked in the street overnight. If you live in an area that has been rated as a high-risk area in terms of theft you will also end up paying a higher insurance premium.
If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Interestingly, if you request an online quote, in most cases, you aren’t asked about your car’s anti-theft devices but are asked where you park your car overnight. Make sure that once you place your insurance you bring to the attention of the insurer what anti-theft devices you have in place as this should qualify you for a lower premium.
Note also, that you aren’t queried as to where your car is parked during the day. Generally, insurers agree this is a bit of an unfair question as most people move around during the day, working, shopping and dropping off the kids. However, if your car is parked in a secure, lock-up garage at work the whole day, it is worth asking for a discount on your premiums.
Prevention is better than cure : think Security
At the risk of flogging a dead horse, the more security initiatives you take yourself rather than relying on your insurance company, the better. Not only does not claiming keep insurance premiums down (for you personally and in the industry generally), you won’t have to go through: a) the hassle of claiming, b) being without a car for an extended period of time and c) not being able to replace what you had with the insurance money.
Some of the security measures you can take include:
1. Always park in a secure area with a lot of people traffic
2. Park in an area that is lit up at night
3. Never leave your keys in your car for a minute (e.g. whilst running into the shop at the garage while your car is being filled)
4. Avoid carjacking by driving with your doors locked and keeping a safe distance between yourself and the vehicle in front of you so that you can take the gap if faced with a threatening situation like a smash-and-grab.
5. Drive in the middle lane if possible.
6. Be extra alert when you stop at a robot
7. Do not leave anything in your car to tempt thieves
8. Never drive with your handbag or cell phone on the passenger seat
9. Choose your route sensibly – a shortcut is no good if you’re opening yourself up to the possibility of being carjacked in a high-risk area
10. Bear in mind the type of vehicle you purchase – some vehicles are especially targeted by car thieves
11. If your car sports fancy accessories, like mags and 4×4 accessories, it will attract the interest of criminals
12. Make sure your sound equipment is removable and/or can be hidden
So, why do I need car insurance if I take all these precautions?
Unfortunately, car thieves are getting cleverer by the day so even with all the anti-theft devices your car can still be stolen. But, theft is only one of the risks you choose to insure against, there are accidents, third party claims, fire and many more.