The cost of beating petrol blues

2013-07-03 11:28
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Cape Town - Motorists are struggling to cope with the soaring cost of petrol, as the fuel price just hit yet another record high this week with Gauteng's pump price for 93 unleaded now at R13.00 a litre.

In a bid to save money, motorists are increasingly looking towards initiatives such as carpooling to reduce their monthly travel expenditure.

Lizette Erasmus, head of portfolio management at IntegriSure, agrees this can be a proactive way to help maintain living standards and reduce costs. However, she points out that vehicle owners must also consider the insurance - and financial - implications of such a move.

“We have received a number of enquiries from clients advising us of their decision to carpool, with many asking whether they would be entitled to a reduction on their insurance premium as a result of lower usage of the vehicle.”

Erasmus says that depending on the circumstances of the carpooling, your premium could drop on the basis of lower usage.

On the other hand, if you are the main driver your premium could go up and you may even need to adjust or amend your policy.

Erasmus notes there is a range of factors that may alter the agreement between the insurer and the insured. For instance, if there is a substantial change in your driving pattern, the liability accepted by your insurer may need to be renegotiated.

"For example, if someone regularly uses their vehicle to drive to business meetings each month then this also needs to be specified with the insurer,” says Erasmus.

According to Erasmus, some of the biggest factors that could affect your policy is whether you receive payment from your passengers if you are the driver, if another motorist is driving your car on a regular basis, and the number of occupants being regularly transported.

“The majority of personal lines insurance products exclude cover for those who transport passengers for reward or payment.

"The key fact to consider in whether a carpool will be covered is that any payments should only cover the fuel expense and the driver should not be making a profit,” she explains.

Another concern for your insurance provider when it comes to carpooling is the imposed liability as a result of other passengers who could possibly hold the driver liable in the event of an accident.

“Passengers involved in a carpool should be aware that they will be unable to claim from the insured for any bodily injury in the event of an accident but must instead claim from the Road Accident Fund,” says Erasmus.

She advises that an insurer will also not accept liability if more passengers are being transported at the time of the incident than the vehicle is designed for, or licensed to carry. In addition, if someone other than the insured is driving, they must be added to the list of named drivers to avoid the risk of repudiation.

The golden rule is to keep your broker or insurance provider up to date with any changes that affect the use of your car such as where it is located during the day and how often you use it for business purposes, concludes Erasmus.

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