Every year, thousands of vehicle insurance claims are either partly or completely rejected by insurers because of policy exclusions or a breach of conditions. Here are 10 of the most common reasons why insurers could reject your claim.
One of the main reasons why claims are rejected is because of unpaid premiums. Make sure that payments are made timeously and regularly or you might find yourself without cover.
Some policies cover the regular driver only so if someone else will be driving your vehicle, you need to specify exactly who will be using it. Also, if the vehicle is involved in an accident while being driven by an unlicensed driver, the claim will be rejected.
If you have an accident and it turns out that your vehicle is not in a roadworthy condition, your claim will be rejected. This could be because of something as simple as broken windscreen wipers or insufficient tread on the tyres.
Your insurance policy contains something called the Failure To Take Care clause, which refers to reckless driving. This means that if you were driving recklessly your insurer might refuse to pay out your claim. There is also a Breach Of Road Traffic Regulations clause, so if for example you were speeding at the time of the accident, your claim might also be rejected. It goes without saying that if you are involved in an accident while driving under the influence of alcohol, your claim will not be paid out.
Unless write-off cover is clearly stated in your policy, your insurer will not be liable if your vehicle is written off in an accident.
Telematic devices are used to track and recover your vehicle if it is stolen, but can also be used to monitor your driving. Some insurers insist on the fitment of a telematics device and if it is found, for example, that bad driving or speeding caused an accident, your claim might be rejected. On the bright side, some insurers use telematics to reward good driving.
If your insurance cover is conditional upon the fitment of a satellite tracking device and you fail to comply, your claim will be rejected. The same goes for alarms, immobilisers and gear locks.
Most insurers insist that your vehicle is inspected on inception of the policy. This is to check for any pre-existing damage to the vehicle. If this inspection is not done, you are in breach of contract and your claim will be rejected.
Most vehicles are insured for private use, which includes using it to get to and from work on a daily basis. If, however, you will be using the vehicle during the day to perform your work duties, this will have to be disclosed.
Insurers want to know where your vehicle is parked at night. If you state that your car is parked securely in a locked garage at night but it is found that you regularly leave it outside, you will not be paid out if it is stolen or broken into.
It’s an unfortunate reality that vehicle insurers do deny claims. It’s up to you, the consumer, to avail yourself of the terms and conditions of your insurance policy and make sure that you comply with them. Follow these tips to reduce the chances of your claim being rejected.
Read the fine print: Make sure that you are familiar with and understand the T's and C's of your policy. This includes items such as the excess, exclusions and whether other drivers are covered.
Be honest and upfront: Don’t withhold any information from your insurer. Be honest about who will be driving the car and if the car will be used for business purposes. Disclose any accidents you have claimed for in the past.
Keep your vehicle well maintained: If your vehicle is deemed to be unroadworthy in any way your claim will be rejected so keep up to date with services and maintenance.
Drive responsibly: Any reckless behaviour that leads to an accident could see your claim being rejected so don’t drink and drive, obey the rules of the road and don’t speed.
Stick to your promises: If you stated, for example, that the vehicle is kept in a locked garage at night, don’t park it outside.
If, however, you feel that you complied with all the terms and conditions of your policy and your insurance claim has been unfairly rejected, you can lodge a complaint with the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance. Visit www.osti.co.za for additional information.
Sources: Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance, Gumtree, Fin24
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of 1Life or its employees.