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Can Speeding Influence Your Insurance Claims?

Are you a speed lover? Find out if and how speeding can affect your insurance claims in South Africa and what you can do about it.

The short answer to whether speeding can influence your insurance claims is yes, but not speeding alone. There are measures the insurer will need to take beyond proving that you were speeding to show you drove recklessly. The insurance company can’t reject your claim just because you may have gone over the speeding threshold.

They will need to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that you were speeding first. Then they need to prove you were also driving recklessly.

More Insurance Claims Rejected for Reckless Driving in South Africa

In a recent report published by the Short-Term Insurance Ombudsman of South Africa, more insurance providers are rejecting claim for damage in respect of a road accident based on a clause within the insurance policy. This clause requires that drivers to use reasonable care and take reasonable precautions to minimise losses, death, accidental damage, injury, and liability.

If the insurer can prove you have breached this clause, they can reject your claim for damage due to an accident. The ombudsman claims that more complaints are coming in for claims rejected due to this clause. Insurance companies purport that claimants are in breach of contract when they speed and drive recklessly.

Is My Insurer Allowed to Reject My Claim if I was Speeding?

The question the ombudsman must then answer is whether your insurance provider has the right to reject a financial claim if the insured person was speeding. In such cases, the first thing they need to determine is if you were really speeding. They can then move forward to ascertain whether you were driving recklessly.

Each case is different, but the burden of proof always rests on the insurer. That means they need to bring evidence to prove you were speeding. Some sources of such evidence can include vehicle tracking devices and reports, data from the vehicle’s on-board computer, or accident reconstruction.

The ombudsman will consider how reliable the evidence is before moving on. In some cases in the past, it was found that accident reconstructions delivered inaccurate evidence or were not always based on the facts. Sometimes, they find that the expert assessor didn’t consider all the objective evidence at the scene. At other times, they find inconsistencies in measurements and speed calculations.

If the ombudsman determines that the driver was actually speeding, they can then consider the legal implications of the reasonable precautions clause. It is not permissible for an insurance policy to exclude liability solely due to the negligence of the insured.

In this context, speeding alone does not automatically equal reckless driving. Reckless driving implies a degree of foreseeability by the insured person. So, they must have been able to foresee the possibility of an accident, yet still have chosen to drive dangerously.

Or the insurer should be able to prove that the driver just didn’t care about whether they were taking enough precautions to avoid an accident. For example, if there is low visibility or you are driving in an unfamiliar area, it is reasonable to slow down and drive more cautiously to avoid an accident. If this is proven, the ombudsman could find in favour of the insurance company.



What Can I Do to Ensure My Claim Isn’t Rejected for Speeding or Reckless Driving?

Aside from always paying your insurance premium and practicing safe driving, there are a few things you can do. We’ve put together a comprehensive list that can help ensure the monthly premium you pay for comprehensive car insurance is worthwhile.

1. Install a sophisticated vehicle tracking device.

Some real time trackers have the capability to log your vehicle’s locations, routes, the speed at which you are driving, and other markers that can indicate driving behaviour. When you make claims for damage and loss due to an accident, this data alone could result in your receiving compensation for damages without having to involve dispute resolution parties.

2. Take photos and videos at the accident scene.

Photographic and video evidence can often come in handy during the claims process since it can give assessors more details from which to reconstruct events. This, along with a driving record from your car tracker, can lead to successful claims. Or, if you truly were driving recklessly, it could mean a rejected claim.

3. Avoid drunken driving and bad driving behaviour.

That’s why it’s important to build a strong driving record showing you are a responsible driver. If you have previous counts of drunk driving or bad driving behaviour on your record, it could indicate a pattern that may lead to a rejected claim. Insurers may even increase your monthly premiums because your accident risk profile may be influenced.

4. Write a full report of events as they occurred in a SAPS Affidavit.

It is important to inform your insurer and the police about the accident and to get the events on record in detail. The official way to do this is to write an affidavit at the police station. Details in this report can later be used as evidence for or against your claim, so be sure to keep it honest and as accurate as possible.

5. Call on the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance if needed.

If you feel your insurance provider has unjustly rejected your claim, you can contact the ombudsman to dispute it.

It makes sense to use advanced technologies and to get access to safety features offered by electronic devices to improve your chances of claiming successfully after an accident. If you need car insurance or a vehicle tracking device, you can fill in the form at the top of this page. We make it easy by matching the best provider with you, and they will contact you with an obligation-free offer.