Speedy recovery of your stolen vehicle is essential. Vehicle theft and hijacking is a common crime in South Africa and the hidden costs can leave a serious dent in your pocket, not to mention your sense of security. Even with insurance cover in place, the best way to protect yourself against such a serious loss is to mitigate your risk with proper security measures to deter would be criminals from making you their latest statistic. The reality is also that there are always costs which you won’t have planned for like excess applicable to the claim, and some which you simply cannot attach a monetary value to, like the time and effort to complete claim forms, sourcing a new vehicle, registering and deregistering of vehicles, and financial arrangements.
If you have ever been unlucky enough to be victim of vehicle theft or worse, a hijacking, you’ll know that it’s one of the most unsettling and even frightening experiences you can go through. After that, there’s the very real inconvenience of getting back on your feet and back to normality. Should your business be reliant on your vehicles, you might suffer loss in turnover, have increased cost to make deliveries or even worse, loose a contract or miss out on sourcing new clients.
The 2012/2013 SAPS crime stats show that 58 370 vehicles were reported stolen, an average of 160 vehicles every day. Especially concerning is that 9990 cars and 943 trucks were hijacked during this period, mostly the work of highly organised crime syndicates. Also, 130 475 vehicles – 358 per day, were broken into and valuables stolen. Trucks are also very vulnerable to having tyres, batteries and loads stolen while parked in unsecure areas at night. (Remember that we offer extended cover for these items).
Almost all Insurers charge an excess when you submit a vehicle theft claim. Depending on how your policy is structured this amount can vary but the most common is 10% of the insured value on motor vehicle value, or 15% to 20% on trucks. Therefore on an R 400 000 vehicle you’ll need to find between R 40 000 to R 80 000 to cover your excess. In addition, your insurer might increase your monthly insurance premiums as a result of the loss of your ‘no claims bonus.
If you don’t have a Loss of Use or Car Hire specified in your policy, you will probably need to hire a car or truck until you get your vehicle back or the claim is settled. This can take anything between 4 weeks to 3 months.
The process of sorting out the paperwork and replacing your vehicle, if it is not recovered, takes up a lot of time, most likely time off work and another hidden cost is that of a credit shortfall on a financed vehicle. This typically arises when a vehicle is written off in the first two years of signing a finance agreement to purchase a car.
The insurance settlement also might not be adequate to replace your vehicle, especially if you have “underinsured” it, or forgot to add any accessories or additions to the vehicle.
Most vehicle theft syndicates are very sophisticated and can steal or hijack and strip a vehicle in a matter of minutes. Your best defence is a quality recovery device that gets your car back quickly and with less damage which makes a huge difference in terms of cost and convenience, and helps police put criminals behind bars.
To help you, we offer free vehicle tracking on trucks with a value in excess of R 300 000, so there should be no reason for you to be a victim of vehicle theft.