• SA motorists are at wits end with the difficulties of trying to renew their driving licences.
• SAIA puts worried motorists at ease that their insurers would not commit to an accident claim if a licence had expired.
• Policyholders are encouraged to keep their insurer in the loop with their driving renewal process.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24
South African motorists have been given a 31 August 2021 deadline to renew their driving and vehicle licences. This announcement has caused many motorists great concern as they deal with the inept and frustratingly difficult online booking system.
One of the aspects motorists had many questions over was whether insurance companies would pay out in the event of an accident if they are driving around with expired documents. Of course, this needed addressing, prompting the South African Insurance Association (SAIA) to step in and put motorists at ease.
SAIA makes it clear that a claim will not be automatically rejected because of an expired driving licence. And part of the reason why this is is because of the backlogs and delays in getting an appointment at Drivers Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) across South Africa.
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SAIA speaks out
SAIA said in an official statement: "Insurers follow the guidance provided by the Ombudsman for Short-term Insurance (OSTI), who has from as far back as May 2007 ruled that insurers should not refuse to entertain the claim if the driving licence or licence disc has expired. To determine an equitable outcome, the insurer would need to demonstrate prejudice because of the failure to be in possession of a valid licence. Therefore materiality is a critical factor for consideration.
"The OSTI stated that the insurer should consider the full merits of each claim before making a decision and not reject claims solely because a driver's license had expired. Therefore, as each individual claim is judged according to its own merits, in some cases, after examining the particulars of a claim, an insurer may determine that not having a valid licence was material and therefore directly relevant to the claim. In such a case, a claim might be denied.
"SAIA advises the policyholder to proactively contact their respective insurer or broker to make them aware of difficulties being experienced in getting a licence renewed, and provide evidence that the renewal application has been made or at least that attempts have been made in this regard. Insurers would make the necessary concession(s) for valid claims in consideration of this."