Run FlatThe past weekend I have spent quite a bit of time researching run flat tyre technology and the impact that this might have on the safety of road users. Tyre manufacturers are spending much time and funding on efforts to develop tyres that are safer and that provides “run flat capabilities”.

All these efforts are however in vain if the driver does not monitor the condition of his tyres. We can have the best tyres from the most reputable tyre manufacturers, but if those tyres have travelled too far and are worn out, they simply would not be able to provide the necessary grip on the roads!

In the event of a car insurance claim, the insurer may reject the claim if the accident was the result of operating a non-roadworthy vehicle. We have previously written about this in a blog titled “Car insurance claim can be rejected if vehicle tyres are not roadworthy!”. It is however important to recognize that such dismissal/ rejection of a car insurance claim would not be accepted merely by having a look at the appearance of the tyres –but by asking whether there is a causal connection between the smoothness of the tyres and the accident.

We would like to refer to an actual example/ decision by the Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance.

Facts:

The Insured entered a traffic light controlled four-way intersection at a speed of 50 to 60 Km/h. The green light was in his favour and just before he entered the intersection, an Isuzu white Bakkie entering the intersection from the opposite direction executed a turn to the lsuzu’s right, i.e. across the direction of travel of the Insured. The Insured applied brakes slightly and noticed that the light was still green for him. To his surprise a Mazda 323 followed the manoeuvre of the Isuzu Bakkie and a collision occurred. The Insured’s Toyota collided with the Mazda’s left rear door. The Insurer rejected liability on the ground that the two front tyres were smooth and that liability is excluded as a result of “damage to the vehicle caused by or attributable to an unroadworthy condition of the vehicle”.

Ombudsman’s response

The Ombudsman pointed out that having regard to the circumstances of the collision, the smooth tyres had no causal connection to the collision and the subsequent damage to the complainant’s vehicle. The Insurer was persuaded to meet the claim.

From the above we can see that the mere presence of smooth tyres will not repudiate the accident claim – it must be one of the factors that caused the accident. The condition and smoothness of your tyres are important for car insurance – but even more so for your safety on road!

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