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COVID: How to reduce your car insurance premiums during lockdown

By Athenkosi Sawutana

People have been driving less since the lockdown was instituted. This has not only reduced the number of road accidents but also the amount of money you pay on petrol.

But can you reduce the amount you pay on your car insurance? JustMoney spoke to insurance experts about how you can tackle your car insurance premiums during lockdown.

Tip: Get a car insurance quote here.

Take advantage of the premium discounts

Some insurance companies have introduced premium discounts. This means that consumers will receive a certain percentage of their premiums back at the end of the lockdown. Some will measure the distance you’ve travelled and reward you according to that.

“This is because accident risk is much lower if a car is only used for essential driving, and there’s zero accident risk if a car isn’t being driven at all. Around 68% of a comprehensive car premium caters for accident cover,” says Wynand van Vuuren, customer experience partner at King Price Insurance.

Apply for a premium holiday

According to Christelle Colman, insurance expert at Old Mutual Insure, a premium holiday on car insurance or a premium deferment option, is when a delayed pay-back of the premium is agreed upon with the insurer over a set period.

This means the cover remains in place, but the policyholder will only pay the premium in something akin to instalments over a period of time. This payback is free of additional fees and interest and only open to certain policyholders taking facts such as claims history, client lifetime value, and history of debit order payments into account.

Some insurers are also practicing leniency on missed debit orders where customers have lost or experienced reduced income because of COVID-19.  

Amend your cover

“We also advise to reduce premiums by allowing customers to amend their cover temporarily if, for example, a second car or a closed business won’t be used during the lockdown,” says Colman.

“We’ve enabled our comprehensive car clients to change to third party, fire and theft cover with limited accident cover at no additional cost. Bearing in mind that premiums are always risk profile dependent, this is 70% of the cover for around 30% of the cost,” says Van Vuuren.

READ MORE: How to get a good car insurance deal.

Will your insurance cover you if you break the lockdown regulations?

Sometimes it happens that you break the lockdown regulations – for instance, travel to another province when you’re not allowed to. This doesn’t mean that your claim will be automatically rejected.

Claims’ services are fully operational during the lockdown period and all claims ranging from storm damage to motor vehicle accidents and thefts are being attended to during this time.

“When we consider the specific regulations related to the Covid-19 lockdown period, such as the inter-provincial travel restrictions, it’s worth noting that whilst we’re entitled to reject claims where there was a breach of lockdown regulations, we won’t automatically do so,” says Colman.

“In line with our claims payment philosophy and the adherence to the principles of treating customers fairly, each claim will be dealt with on individual merit. That implicates that we’ll consider the circumstances around the breach of the specific regulation and whether that breach was material to the loss incurred.”

Van Vuuren also adds that if a contract of insurance doesn’t specifically exclude cover in circumstances where lockdown rules are contravened, clients will be covered. If the contract excludes cover in circumstances where clients don’t act lawfully, this won’t be enough to reject a claim in these particular circumstances.

“The insurer would first have to show that the contravention was material to the loss. More simply, if a client would have enjoyed cover in another province under normal circumstances, they will still be covered in this instance as the fact that they’ve crossed the border into another province isn’t material to the loss,” he says.

The golden rule is that you should always let your insurer know if you have an incident or accident – whether you claim for it or not.

Justmoney can help you find car insurance that is flexible and caters to your needs. Fill in this form and a consultant will be in touch.

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