While you were working from home, your car was probably gathering dust in your driveway. If you took the opportunity to downgrade your car insurance (and save some cash in the process), you may have to change your strategy now that lockdown has eased and the holiday season has kicked in.
If you did reduce your car insurance, it was probably because you weren't commuting to the office anymore. You'll have scored a reduced premium based on that lower mileage, and on your lower risk of being in a road accident. That may change this year, and you may need to reconsider, and look into a policy that will cover you for a higher mileage.
The Automobile Association (AA) recommends confirming your insurance details and also checking the warranty on your car before you drive away on holiday. "Remember," the organisation says, "the onus to ensure these are still valid and in force rests with you, not the company who provides the insurance or warranties."
The economic situation of 2020 may have meant that you delayed replacing your old car. That makes sense (especially if your income has been impacted by COVID-19), but it may also mean that your car's motor warranty has expired.
"Typically, a new vehicle will come with a basic manufacturer warranty," says Carl Moodley, Chief Underwriting and Claims Officer at Hippo partner GENRIC Insurance Company Limited. "This manufacturer warranty covers mechanical and electrical parts for repair or replacement should they fail within a certain mileage or age – usually under 100 000km or anywhere between two to four years, but this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. With consumers facing major financial stress for months to come, they are delaying new vehicle purchases and instead driving their vehicles for much longer, which exposes them to the risks of 'out of manufacturer warranty' breakdowns."
The good news is that Hippo.co.za offers easy quotes on motor warranties. Be sure to check the details of yours before you drive off into the sunset.
Another factor that could end up wrecking your road trip: mechanical issues. After months of not driving much, be sure to check that your battery is fully charged, and that your brakes, clutch, alternator, are all in good working order.
The AA has a handy six-step pre-trip inspection checklist, which is super easy to remember. Just spell FLOWER: F for fuel (fill up before you leave), L for lights (check that they're all working), O for oil (check the engine oil when you fill up), W for water (check the car's coolant reservoir to avoid overheating), E for electrics (that's the hooter, windscreen wipers, etc) and R for rubber (do your tyres have sufficient tread and are they inflated correctly?). Easy as that.
Your insurance policy may depend on your car being roadworthy, as the folks at 1Life warn. The best way to ensure that's the case – and to avoid getting stuck on the side of the road – is to get it serviced.
As the AA warns: "If you haven't already done so – and you need it to be done – get your vehicle serviced or booked for a service now," they say. "If you leave it too late, you may not find a spot for your vehicle."
Our car insurance comparison tool lets you shop around for and compare benefits from a range of car insurance providers. Not only will you be able to see a range of quotes from South Africa's leading insurers so you can quickly compare prices, but the tool also lets you further compare comprehensive car insurance benefits. You can really drill down and find the deal that offers the perfect blend of benefits, from roadside assistance to medical cover, to ensure you're adequately protected on your holiday travels.
This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal or medical advice.