News Release


What to Do If You Are In an Accident

Swimming through the word soup of your vehicle insurance policy can be really frustrating. Let's face it, it's not exactly riveting stuff having to trawl through the jargon and definitions of what exactly you are covered for, and more importantly, what you are not covered for. Ideally, you really want to know and understand this detail before claims time.

Aon points out a few interesting South African vehicle insurance facts:

  • 70% of all motor insurance claims are accident-related.
  • 55% of all accident claims have no third party involved, comprising of incidents such as a gate closing on a car or a driver reversing into their spouse's car in the driveway, or the unseen ditch in the parking lot.
  • The average claim value on a motor insurance policy ranges from R15 000 to R17 000.
  • Conservative industry estimates are that only 40% of vehicles on the road are insured, creating a real dilemma if you are involved in an accident where the other party has no insurance - another very good reason to have a professional broker on your side to protect your interests.

"Never accept liability in an accident – it is the job of the insurance assessors to work out who is responsible," says Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisors, Aon South Africa. "Your insurer and broker will handle all third party dealings in order to recover your excess and reinstate your no-claim bonus if the accident was not your fault. You don't want to compromise this process by accepting liability that is not yours," she explains.

At the scene of an accident, make a note of the following information straight away. It is often much harder to obtain the information after the fact, making it crucial to be thorough in your efforts.

  • Firstly, make sure you are safe from other passing traffic.
  • Take down the registration and licence disc number.
  • Details of the make, model and colour of the car.
  • Ask for the driver's licence and/or ID book and take down the details.
  • Get the other driver's insurance details.
  • If there are any witnesses, obtain their names and contact information.
  • Take photos, where possible of the damage and scene, as well as important documents such as the licence disk, driver's licence and so on – cell phones with built in cameras are very handy in such a situation, but also make hand written notes, just in case.
  • Write out a detailed recount of how the accident happened before you forget any details – include things like lighting, weather, road conditions and so on.
  • Make sure you report the incident to the police within 24 hours and get a case number – this is essential for both parties to do.

In the event of a third party not being insured, your insurer will honour your claim. "If you have insurance, but get into an accident with someone who doesn't, different scenarios apply depending on your insurer. You are most likely going to have to pay the excess for any repairs to your vehicle, and your premium could also increase as a result of the claim due to the loss of your no claims bonus," says Mandy

"Make sure you discuss these finer details with your broker so you know exactly what would happen if you are in an accident," Mandy concludes.

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