Toll fees and insurance

By Staff Writer

The recent strike by Cosatu against the impending toll gates in Gauteng may have galvanised a lot of support, but it appears toll fees are still going ahead. However, with motorists expected to change their driving patterns when the tolls are introduced next month, it is essential they consider the insurance implications of any change in their driving behaviour.

The recent budget speech announced the final toll tariffs for the first phase of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. Under the new prices, motorcycles would pay 20 cents per/km while light motor vehicles (class A2) will pay 30 cents per/km. The government also said toll fees would be capped at R550 per month for regular road users.

According to Helen Szemerei, CEO at IntegriSure, while the cost has been reduced, it is still likely to have a significant impact on people’s finances.

“We would expect some motorists to take secondary roads in order to avoid the toll gates. However, these secondary roads are likely to be of an inferior condition, possibly being less well lit and with more frequent potholes. As a result, motorists could well see an increase in the number of accidents or maintenance issues when taking these routes.

“It is essential for any motorist who does consider taking alternative routes to ensure that not only is their insurance is up to date but also that their policy covers them from any damage arising from potholes.”

Szemerei also warns that consumers who opt for pay as you drive insurance cover are also likely to be affected by the introduction of the toll gates. “These consumers are likely to have chosen this form of coverage in order to save money. As a result, they are some of the most likely to take alternative routes in order to avoid the cost. However, by doing so they are likely to drive a much farther distance, potentially making their insurance cover far more expensive.”

“In addition, some insurance policies offer limited coverage to policyholders in exchange for a lower premium. However, in these cases cover may then be limited to the complete loss of a vehicle, not for damage caused to a vehicle. As a result, the very people who are trying to save on a premium could find themselves with a huge bill if they are involved in an accident.”

She says consumers should be aware that there are many other options open to them when choosing the right insurance policy for their needs.

“It is a good idea for any motorists who have opted for limited cover in exchange for a lower premium to speak to a qualified financial adviser who can help them to gain a cheaper insurance premium whilst still retaining comprehensive cover.”

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