Car Insurance Advice / Education and Road Safety in South Africa
Introduction & Importance of Insurance
The car insurance industry plays an important role in road safety. Not only do most car insurance companies assist in the creation of awareness through advertisements and circulars to clients, but they also provide the platform and solution to repair damaged vehicles.
This also helps the driver of the vehicle. Having a good insurance policy puts the mind at ease as you drive and this in itself is one of the biggest vehicle insurance benefits – peace of mind that should you be in an accident or have your car stolen, you are covered!
ArriveAlive.co.za and the Car Insurance Blog
The relationship between car insurance and road safety in South Africa goes further than this. Role players in the insurance industry were some of the first road safety partners in the development of the Arrive Alive road safety website.
Through this contribution and cooperation, we have been able to provide an information portal on road safety through a variety of websites, blogs and other social media. This could contribute to avoiding accidents and protecting both human life and property. On the Arrive Alive website, we have developed a page titled “Car Insurance and Road Safety”
In June 2009 we decided that we can do more than merely have a page of content on the Arrive Alive website. We started with the development of the Car Insurance Blog at the domain car insurance.arrivealive.co.za with the intention to assist all our vehicle owners with advice on car insurance. This Blog is an independent car insurance blog not benefitting any specific insurance company – but rather benefitting our vehicle owners in providing advice and recommendations, enabling them to make informed decisions in acquiring car insurance.
Consumer education continues to be one of the biggest challenges facing the insurance industry, and most of the complaints to the Ombud for Short Term Insurance are from consumers who are not familiar with the financial services industry and insurance products. The Arrive Alive website would like to provide a brief description of the online efforts to create more awareness amongst vehicle owners.
Contributing Factors to Accidents and Vehicle Loss
The same factors that contribute to motor vehicle accidents, loss of life and personal injury also threaten the financial and insurable interest of vehicle owners and car insurance companies. We would like to focus briefly on these factors and examples of how we share informative aspects with readers on the car insurance blog.
- Disregard: red traffic light / stop sign / yield sign
- Fatigue / Driver fell asleep
- Followed too closely
- Intoxicated Driver
- Distracted Driving
- Intoxicated Pedestrian
- Overtook when unlawful/unsafe
- Pedestrian: Jaywalking
- Speed too high for circumstances
- Turn in front of oncoming traffic
On the Car Insurance Blog, vehicle owners have been advised on these human factors through examples  such as:
- Drunk driving, how much is too much to drink?
- Avoid car insurance claims from driver drowsiness accidents
- Avoid car accident claims from crashing into pedestrians
- Bicycle: No headlamp
- Bicycle: No rear reflectors
- Brakes: Faulty
- Lights: Faulty, not switched on, blinding, etc
- Overloading: Cargo / Passengers
- Steering: Faulty
- Tyres: Burst prior to the crash
On the Car Insurance Blog, vehicle owners have been advised on these vehicle factors through examples  such as:
- Can a few shocks be beneficial to my car insurance?
- Save on car insurance but not on tyres
- Do not expect your car insurer to pay if you overload the vehicle!
- Animals: Stray / Wild
- Blind rise / Corner
- Narrow road lane
- Poor condition of road surface
- Poor street lighting
- Poor visibility (Rain, mist, dust, smoke, dawn, dusk)
- Road surface slippery/wet
- Sharp bend
- Traffic light / Road sign / Road marking defective
On the Car Insurance Blog, vehicle owners have been advised on the threats presented by road factors through examples  such as:
- Can I claim for pothole damage?
- Collisions with animals...even if you win you still lose!!
- Tread carefully in summer rains to avoid accident claims.
In South Africa, the road users are threatened by the behaviour of criminals next to and on the roads. To be safe on the road, they need to be alert to the dangers of vehicle-related crimes such as Hijacking, theft and smash-and-grabs. On the Car insurance blog, we create awareness of these threats through blogs posts such as:
- Cross-border vehicle theft makes car insurance a necessity in South Africa
- How to avoid being hijacked
- Layered vehicle security needed for affordable car insurance
Making Informed Decisions about Car Insurance
Cooperation between car insurance providers and the road safety initiative goes further than providing advice to keep road users safe on the roads and to protect their vehicles. It is estimated that only 30% of the 10million vehicles on the roads of South Africa are insured. The more insured vehicles – the better for road safety in South Africa!
Through the assistance of experts from the insurance industry, we are providing information on the car insurance blog to assist vehicle owners in finding the correct insurance product, to maintain this relationship with the insurer and on what to do after vehicle damage or vehicle loss.
Understanding Car Insurance
Only an informed vehicle owner will be able to make the correct decision pertaining to his car insurance. We provide information on aspects such as:
- The insurance terms and conditions/glossary of terms and conditions
- Car Insurance laws and insurance fraud
- The Ombudsman on Short Term Insurance and Decisions by the Ombud
- The need to be alert to fine print
Car Insurance Providers
Once the vehicle owner understands the need to have his vehicle insured, there are many options available to him. The consumer is challenged by a maze of providers and brilliant advertising. With the assistance of experts from the financial industry, we can assist to provide an objective and independent view of providing more clarity on the pros and cons of the different providers.
A brief example would be a reference to blog posts such as:
- What is an insurance aggregator?
- Are direct insurers and aggregators placing the broker at risk?
- Why use a comparison site if I can find car insurance direct?
It is important that vehicle owners understand that insurance products can be found via brokers, insurance aggregators, comparison websites and direct insurers. These different providers all have pro’s and con’s and we need to assist vehicle owners to know what to expect from these different providers.
Finding Affordable Car Insurance
With the fast development of information technology, so has the ability to find information on car insurance, to do research, compare insurance providers and products and to purchase car insurance policies.
We would like to provide insight on how the cooperation between car insurers and this road safety initiative strives to assist vehicle owners in the effort to find the correct car insurance:
- Can you say that is the best car insurance company?
- Car insurance is not as simple as 1,2,3...!!
- How to identify the best car insurance companies
- Comparing car insurance by going online
Conclusion / Advice
It is our wish that the Arrive Alive website and the Car Insurance Industry will continue to cooperate in the efforts to save lives on the roads. We will strive to consult other experts in the road safety environment and financial services industry to identify those aspects that need greater scrutiny!
We would like to urge vehicle owners to also view:
Buying a Quality Used Car and Safety on the Road
4x4 Driving and Vehicle Insurance
The Insurance Industry and Safer Roads - A Research Report