Ensure you are covered before travelling

By Staff Writer
Schools are closing and businesses are winding for the summer the holidays, meaning that some people will be preparing for their annual holiday. While some people will be flying, many people will be travelling to their holiday destinations via road over the festive season, with some taking buses and taxis.
Johan van Greuning, head of Standard Insurance Limited at Standard Bank, noted: “Before setting out by taxi or bus you should consider whether you are adequately insured against any mishaps that may occur on the road. Even if you believe you are sufficiently insured, you should check exactly what you are covered for before going on holiday.”
Furthermore, it is advisable to ensure that the vehicle that you are travelling in has the necessary insurance, whether a private or public vehicle, should something happen on the road.
Travelling via taxi
Van Greuning pointed out that if the taxi that you travelling in belongs to an accredited taxi association and the driver has the required public driving permit, it should be simple to check if they have public liability insurance for passengers who may be injured in an accident.
However, van Greuning highlighted: “If a taxi isn’t registered and its driver is not correctly licensed, this could impact on your ability to claim from the operators. You will not be covered and would have to rely on a public hospital for treatment, and could wait for many months or even years before having a Road Accident Fund claim processed.”
While not everyone can afford medial aid cover, van Greuning noted that hospital insurance should be considered as an alternative, as it can offer peace of mind in the event that something happens. Having hospital insurance will reduce or totally cover any medical expenses that you may encounter in the event of an accident.
Van Greuning revealed that when taking out hospital insurance, the following should be considered:
  • What the  key benefits offered are;
  • Whether you are covered for hospitalisation caused by injury while using public transport; and
  • Claims processing and how long it takes for claims to be settled.
Travelling via bus
For those not taking a taxi this festive season, buses are another way that people travel to their holiday destinations across the country. As with a taxi, it is important to ensure that the bus you are taking has the necessary credentials, and that it is clearly stated what the bus company’s responsibilities are and what safeguards they have in place to protect passengers.
If the bus company does not offer passenger insurance there are things you can do. As when travelling by taxi, or any form of travel, having hospital insurance or medical aid cover can help cover any medical costs that may arise in the event of an accident.
If you are chartering a bus for a group of people this festive season, as the bus company if they have any agreements or contracts with insurance companies that can issue coverage on a once-off basis. “Contact these companies and get their rates. If everybody is agreeable, add insurance costs on to the overall ticket price. When everybody contributes insurance costs can be kept low, and peace of mind at a high level,” suggested van Greuning.
Travelling by car
For those fortunate enough to have their own vehicles to take on holiday, or people who are renting vehicles at their holiday destination, there are also some things you should keep in mind when driving on the roads, especially during such a busy time of year where there may be increased traffic.
Natasha Kawulesar, head of client relations at OUTsurance, offers several safety tips for drivers this festive season:
  • Keep a safe following distance: “It’s easy to edge a little too close when you’re fending off other drivers who like to cut in front because they’re in a hurry. But, keeping a good following distance can help reduce the chances of having an accident, giving you enough space to react should the car in front of you suddenly break,” said Kawulesar.
  • Think about other road users: It is important to not only think about yourself when you are on the road, but other road users too. Indicating to inform other drivers what you intend to do not only keeps you safe, but other people on the road as well, allowing others to react. “Misusing or not using your indicators at all can put you at serious risk. It’s more than just a courtesy to use your indicators, it’s a way to prevent misunderstandings and accidents,” highlighted Kawulesar.
  • Stick to the speed limit: This not only applies to driving too fast, but driving too slow as well. Driving too fast can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, putting you and others on the road at risk. It also takes a car longer to stop the faster it is travelling, therefore reducing your reaction time should something happen in front of you. However, driving too slow can also be a danger. “It is extremely hazardous to drive dangerously slow into a lane where everyone is driving at the speed limit. Stick to the speed limit, and if we all drive according to the rules, the roads will run smoothly,” emphasised Kawulesar.
  • Don’t get distracted: There are so many things that can distract a driver, other passengers in the vehicle, particularly children, as well as technology, such as navigation systems and cell phones. No phone call or message is worth your life or the lives of others on the roads, rather than taking or making a phone call or reading or typing a text message while driving, wait until you reach your destination. When you a travelling with children, it is easy to turn your attention away from the road to check on the kids in the car, however, this can be dangerous. Rather find a safe place to stop the car and check on them.
“Though it may take a little time and extra money to ensure that your insurance is up-to-date before leaving for holiday, it can save you and your family considerable financial and emotional hardship in the event that you have to claim. So, review your insurance policies including household insurance as thieves know that many people leave home during this period,” stated van Greuning.

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