The importance of stating the correct regular driver

It would seem that as one inexcusable incident of blatant racism recedes from public view, another reprehensible rant emerges – much to the disgust and outrage of most South Africans.

About 35 percent of South African drivers do not have car insurance, a report by MoneyWeb states.

If you’re on the other side and are looking for the best car insurance deal, you may be posed with many questions when applying for an online insurance quote.

“Who is the regular driver of the vehicle?” is a common question you’ll be asked when shopping for insurance . Often, the importance of stating the correct regular driver to your insurer is not clearly understood; we are here to help you understand why this question is asked and how it affects your policy.

What does ‘regular driver’ mean?

According to your insurer, a regular driver is someone who drives the insured car most frequently during a given period, usually a month. Now, working this out when your family only has one car shared between multiple individuals, can be tricky. However, there should be clarity on who drives the car most often.

Why do some policyholders name the wrong regular driver?

Because premiums are calculated for each individual based on their risk profile, one may be tempted to be economical with the truth if their risk profile is better than that of the actual regular driver. For example, parents may claim to be the regular driver of a car that is actually driven by their teenage child.

How are premiums affected by the regular driver?
The size of the risk you potentially pose influences the premium you are likely to pay your insurer. For example, a first time driver poses a higher risk than someone who has been driving for a couple of years – this is due to experience. An individual who has been driving for 5 years, for example, has more experience and can handle themselves better on the road than a first time driver, thus possibly finding themselves in less accidents.

What’s wrong with noting the wrong regular driver?
Insurance is based on good faith and mutual trust; and because premiums are based on the information given when taking up a policy, your insurer will always check the regular driver at claims stage as part of the validation process. If you’re found to have been dishonest, your policy becomes voidable at your insurer’s discretion, which means they have the right to decline your claim. You could also face higher premiums in future.
Does this mean I can’t let someone else drive my car?
If the correct regular driver is noted on your policy and your car gets involved in an accident when driven by someone else, your insurer can still cover you as long as the driver is a legal driver and was abiding by the terms and conditions of the policy. You may be expected to pay an additional excess, depending on your policy.

Full disclosure is always the best strategy, especially when it stands to impact your profile and can negatively affect what happens at the claims stage.

Correctly noting your child as the regular driver can work out for the best in the long run – they can begin building up their own insurance history for when they look to take up their own insurance cover one day. Remember to check your insurance policy regularly and inform your insurer of any changes. This will make claims stage that much easier.

 

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