Picture: 123RF/
Picture: 123RF/

Many insurers provided you with financial relief by reducing premiums for your car in the first months of lockdown, when the risk of accidents, hijackings and theft was significantly reduced.

A lot of people are still working from home, and the school run is on hold for many parents. This means the risks are still low, and if it doesn't reflect in reduced premiums, ask yourself if you are being taken for a ride.

If, however, you have resumed driving, here are some things you can do to save on premiums and stay covered.

Don't be hasty

Rather than changing to third-party-only cover or terminating your contract, negotiate a lower premium, says Wynand van Vuuren, customer experience partner at King Price.

Third-party-only insurance protects you solely against claims from the owner of the other vehicle (the third party) when you're in an accident.

Shaun Neuhoff, MD of the AA Insurance Supermarket, says it is not worth the risk to not be insured. "You might drive into the back of a luxury car, causing R250,000 worth of damage, and be hounded for that money for the rest of your days."

If you cancel your cover, reinstating it later may be more costly, says Bertus Visser, chief executive of distribution at PSG Insure.

Tracking device savings

Neuhoff says having a tracking device fitted can help you negotiate lower premiums, but it might be priced into your premium already.

A good tracking company (ask for their recovery statistics) can often get your car back before it is trashed. If your car is written off, you are usually left out of pocket when you replace it with a similar vehicle.

You can get discounts of up to 10% on your premiums if you have a tracking device installed, says Harry Louw, CEO of Cartrack SA.

Before you choose a tracking solution, ask your insurer what the discount would be.

If you pay just R400 a month for car insurance, it's unlikely that a monthly tracking subscription of R200 will be a saving, but if you have a R2,000 monthly premium you should be able to negotiate for a substantial discount after installing a tracking device.

Combined cover

Van Vuuren says combining car and home policies often results in better value.

Never settle for the first quote, he says. "You'll be surprised by how much premiums can vary between insurers for the same car, buildings and home contents cover."

Van Vuuren also recommends reviewing the excess specified in your policy. "Generally, the higher the excess you choose, the lower the premium - but choose carefully, because you need to be able to pay the excess amount if you claim."

The value of your car

Marius Neethling, personal lines underwriting manager at Santam, advises that you review the value of your vehicle every year. The insured amount should reflect its market value.

If there's credit shortfall cover on your car, ask the bank if this is still necessary.

It's important, too, to keep your details updated.

For example, if you no longer use your vehicle for business, insure it for cheaper private-use only.

Unpopular models

You may be able to lower your premium by avoiding cars popular with criminals.

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