A staggering 11.4 million cars in South Africa take to the roads every day without insurance cover.
A further 800,000 vehicles are either unregistered or classified as unroadworthy.
This is according to the Automobile Association of South Africa, which warned yesterday that uninsured motorists – who make up between 65% and 70% of car owners – could face serious financial implications if involved in an accident.
“Paying for repairs and recovering costs after a crash can be a slow, painful and expensive process. This will potentially leave you without transport or reliant on public transport, where it is available, meaning your crash and the result of your being uninsured, will impact on your life in significant ways,” said AA spokesman Layton Beard.
South Africa’s road death toll for 2014 and 2015 stood at 4500, while police statistics show that 55000 vehicles were stolen during the same period.
According to the AA, the 800,000 unregistered or unroadworthy vehicles meant that the possibility of “being involved in a crash with an uninsured car is even higher”.
“Some people may argue that the costs of insurance are simply too high. Our view is that the costs of non-insurance are higher, and that failing to properly insure your vehicle places you at a greater financial risk,” said Beard.
Marike van Niekerk, compliance manager at MUA Insurance Acceptances, said previously 70% of successful motor claims were related to hijackings and car thefts.
“In recent years, the picture has changed considerably and the insurance industry now pays about the same percentage in motor insurance claims towards accident repair costs,” said Van Niekerk.
“Combine this with the alarming statistic that only three out of 10 cars are insured – the reality is that both insurers and underwriters are faced with the dilemma of not being able to recover many of the damages caused by guilty third party drivers.”
Arrive Alive said: “South African vehicle hijackings and road crash statistics provide more than enough evidence to the importance of vehicle insurance. An increase in vehicle theft, accidents and rising repair costs force insurance companies to recalculate the risk and cost of insuring our vehicles.”