Whether you’re taking your own car abroad, or hiring a car in South Africa, it is crucial to take out insurance on the car. Without it, you are not just putting yourself but also other people at risk. Should you accidentally damage another individual or their car, it can incur astronomical costs to you for some time after.
Car insurance now is cheaper and easier to obtain than ever! However, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of taking unnecessary car hire cover, on which the excess can be very high. Check out our tips to help you find the best car insurance for your time in South Africa.
It is standard for rental companies to charge a very high excess, even for small scratches. Excess reimbursement insurance lets you claim back whatever you are charged for – right down to tire wear or lost keys! Daily policies start at around £3 daily, whilst annual policies rarely exceed £40.
‘Top up insurance’ may seem like a good idea, but this is often a waste of money! This may be dressed up as ‘super collision damage waiver’ or ‘non-waiver cover’. It reduces your excess to zero, but can be extremely expensive and excludes lots of potential risks.
Taking Your Own Car to South Africa
Depending on your country of origin this could be a feasible option that will save you money and hassle. For other tips on how to see the world on a budget, check out these money saving tips for travel.
Before you enter the country it’s important to be aware that your insurance company may in fact cover you already! Often intra-continental travel insurance policies extend a basic coverage to other countries within their continent.
Should this be the case, talk to your insurance company about extending this basic cover to include damage to your car and theft. This can be important, since it is the most likely risk you will face when travelling in South Africa. On top of this, there are a variety of South African insurance companies that will provide you with separate breakdown cover, e.g. King Price. Just to be on the safe side!
Hiring a Car Abroad
Unfortunately car hire abroad is subject to plenty of fraud, so unless you’re certain a company is legitimate, it is advised to go with well known organizations. Hertz, Avis, Budget and Europcar are South Africa’s best rated car hire companies. They operate worldwide, and are certified. That being said, there are plenty of rental companies that operate nationally in South Africa e.g. Rent A Cheapie. These are also legitimate, and often charge you significantly less than respective international companies.
Regardless of whether you go for a worldwide company, or a lesser known one, it is important you take the following steps:
1.What does the policy include?
To travel in South Africa it is recommended you have three types of basic insurance. Vehicle theft cover, damage excess waiver and third party cover. These should protect you in most scenarios. Read through your policy to confirm they are included.
2. Understand credit card pre authorization
A car rental agreement often authorizes the rental company to charge your credit card for any damage incurred. This means they can take a payment from your card without you knowing, in theory charging you full ‘excess’ for even minor damage. To avoid unfair charges, ensure you check the car over fully for damage and scratches, before getting the company to sign this off.
3. ALWAYS check the fine print
Before hiring the car read the terms and conditions provided, and make sure you look out for the following: If you are travelling long distances, ensure your policy covers you for unlimited daily mileage.
After returning the car be sure to look over your credit card statement. Any unusual charges that you wish to question should be reported to the hire company and also your credit card provider.
Without being able to distinguish the many different car insurance policies, it is easy to fall into a trap and become subject to unnecessary expense. We hope this brief guide has been helpful, and makes you feel more comfortable when hiring a car in South Africa!