by Staff Reporter on 11/09/12 at 4:17 pm
There’s a lot of confusion in the insurance business about what should actually be paid for when somebody claims for an accident. A lot of the time, the expectation for settlement of the claim by the insured and the actual payment received from insurers do not align.
This may occur due to numerous reasons such as the applicable method of valuation of the vehicle. Is it on a market, retail or agreed value basis? And why did I not meet all the conditions of the policy when I claimed? And that policy exclusion was never explained to me.
The purpose of this short article is not to explore the maze of terms, conditions and exclusions of insurance policies but focuses merely on the potential dangers of driving a wrecked vehicle after a motor collision.
Some of us will have learned that the motor insurance settlement payment received is generally restricted solely to the damage caused to the vehicle by the collision itself. Further expenses incurred following consequential losses are not payable by the insurer unless specific arrangements are made for a particular type of extended coverage – such as the costs to hire a replacement vehicle.
Many truck drivers will have an accident but won’t phone the tow company to collect their vehicle; instead they drive the severely smashed truck to a repair shop. The drivers don’t understand that they may cause more damage when they drive it after an accident. And that additional damage is not generally covered by your insurance policy.
Heavy Commercial Vehicle Underwriting Managers (Pty) Limited has seen this happen before. A truck that was substantially damaged in an accident was subsequently driven for 250km to a repair shop. The problem was that driving it after the accident caused further damage.
There are 2 major problems with driving a truck after it’s been in an accident.
- The driver and other road users are endangered by the use of an unroadworthy vehicle
- The truck driver doesn’t know what problems the accident caused to the truck and if they drive it, they can make the damage worse. The insurance, in most cases, doesn’t pay for this additional damage
The lesson is that a driver should, as a rule, never drive a truck after it has been in an accident, as even a broken light renders a vehicle unroadworthy. They should liaise with their insurance advisors to arrange for a tow company to have the truck taken to a repair shop.
Talk to your broker, read your insurance policy and understand what is covered and what is not. And when you are unsure of the extent of the damage caused in an accident don’t drive, it will save you a lot of money because then your insurance won’t say no to settle your claim in full.
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