In the driver's seat: What you should know about insurance cover when driving
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By: Karabo Kopeka
Many vehicle owners do not often consider the risk of allowing other people to drive their vehicle until an accident happens and it’s time to submit a claim. With most insurers, if you have a comprehensive car insurance policy, anyone with a valid driver’s license is allowed to drive your vehicle, however most policies require that the regular driver of the vehicle be specified.
The regular driver of a vehicle is the person who drives the vehicle the most at any given time. This means that other people can drive the vehicle, provided that they do not drive it more than the noted regular driver and they also adhere to the policy terms and conditions.
One of the factors taken into account when calculating your car insurance premium is the age and driving experience of the regular driver. It follows that if the incorrect regular driver is noted, the wrong premium would be calculated, and the policy may be considered invalid as a result.
Other factors also taken into account when calculating an insurance premium include previous claims, location where the vehicle is parked, type of vehicle, costs of vehicle repairs and age of the vehicle.
Not understanding your insurance policy can lead to avoidable mistakes. Parents often allow their children to drive their car when the child has a driver’s license and as the child becomes more accustomed to driving, they end up driving the car more often than the parent. Given the time required to check information provided, insurers only validate the information initially disclosed when a claim is received. As such, it’s very important to understand and update your policy to avoid any misunderstandings when looking to have a claim paid out.
Learner drivers are also covered by most car insurance companies, provided that they comply with the conditions of their learner’s license as well as the conditions of the insurance policy. One of the conditions of the learner’s license is that the learner driver must at all times be accompanied by a licensed driver. A learner driver driving without a licensed driver in the vehicle is in breach of the law and the policyholder's cover, and worse – should they be involved in an accident, they would put the policyholder's cover at risk – even if they did not cause the accident.
It is important to note that some policies may require you to pay a higher excess if at the time of the accident the vehicle was driven by someone who is not the regular driver or is a learner driver.
Provided that the correct regular driver is noted on your policy, and the driver at the time of the accident was properly licensed and abiding by the law and other policy terms and conditions are complied with, your claim will not be adversely affected. You may, however, have to pay an additional excess, depending on the terms of your policy.
Karabo Kopeka is the Head of Claims at MiWay Insurance