Unlike many of the other countries across the World, you are not forced into buying insurance when you live in South Africa, is insurance for the Non Resident property owner needed?
Yes that’s right, unless you are financing the purchase of your new building or vehicle, you are not obligated to make sure that you have insured your possessions. This is both a freedom and a hidden curse. Sure, it saves you a bit of money every month but what is the real cost hiding in the closet – waiting to pop out at your first loss.
A lack of insurance has become a very real problem when you own a car. If you consider that more than 65% of South Africans drive around uninsured (mostly due to the cost factor), the chances of getting any compensation from them is very limited. Not to mention the possibility of hi-jack or the ever increasing costs of repairing our vehicles.
Choosing to drive uninsured means that you will have to cover the costs of repair, or even in a worst case scenario, the purchase of a brand new vehicle without the assistance of an insurer. You will also have to bear the legal costs of trying to claim damages from another uninsured driver.
Once you have decided to insure your vehicle in South Africa, you may not be made aware with how differently our cover works here. After 10 years of working with clients that have moved here from abroad, we have come across a number of ways that our insurance practises differ to our partners across the sea.
- We approach insurance by covering the vehicle and not the driver. The premium is calculated on the person that will be driving the vehicle most regularly, but as long as they have your permission and a valid drivers license, anyone can drive your insured vehicle. Watch out for insurers that limit your cover to nominated drivers – this means anyone else driving the vehicle will not be covered.
- International drivers licenses – yay or nay? As we work with a large amount of foreigners that want to make South Africa their home we have negotiated best practise when it comes to licenses. Our clients do not need an International license, but they do need to have a valid license (not expired) in their country of origin. Once you become a permanent resident you have a maximum of 5 years to hand in your foreign license to the traffic department in exchange for a South African one.
- What you use your vehicle for is key. Are you a stay at home Mom? Do you travel to work and back every day? Are you a sales rep that visits new clients at their homes or offices? Do you transport paying passengers or school children that are not your own? As you can see, each one of these poses a different risk and it is imperative that you honestly disclose this to your insurer. Having a claim repudiated for not disclosing is not ideal.
While car insurance is a pressing concern, making sure that you cover your building, contents and items that you take away from your premises is just as important. As much as we like to feel in control of the situation, we are not able to control veld fires, burst geysers or flash floods. Knowing that you are insured for these types of situations while make dealing with it that much easier.
Another point that we’re always asked about the insurance here is liability cover. Interestingly you can’t buy personal liability as a stand-alone policy, but it does automatically get included when taking our buildings and contents insurance.
For further insurance info please contact us.