Football supporters will be transported on all possible modes of transport during the World Cup. We can expect many tour groups on buses, thousands of rental vehicles and the usual private transportation. We have addressed on the car insurance blog the need to check car insurance before the World Cup – and also the road safety advice provided on the Arrive Alive website for our road users during the World Cup.
Many South Africans would have offered to assist friends and family from abroad with accommodation and even transport – and we need to ask – is this safe? We are not referring to the usual road safety advice – but rather the need to investigate whether this could have negative financial and legal consequences on the vehicle owner….
There are 2 very important aspects to consider when lending your vehicle to foreign visitors:
- Car insurance and whether your policy protects the vehicle owner
- Whether the driver will be transporting passengers within the Rules of the Road and Licensing Laws
[In this investigation we would like to refer to some insights from another publication – FA News, 14 April 2010.]
Car Insurance and lending your vehicle to other drivers during the world cup
Every vehicle owner should be aware that his car insurance policy and the insurance premium payable under such a policy is calculated after disclosure of specific risk factors present at the time when the agreement is concluded.
There is an obligation on the policyholder to notify the insurer when these risk factors – such as the identity of the designated driver changes – and failure to do so could nullify the agreement. The consequences for the vehicle owner could be disastrous if the correct car insurance cover is not in place!
“If a foreign visitor without a valid South African or international license drives your car and crashes into another vehicle you will have to pay for your own damage and may also be liable to pay for the other parties‟ damage and injury” says Gari Dombo, Managing Director, Alexander Forbes Insurance.
It is important to “check whether your motor policy is restricted to nominated drivers, or if it covers all drivers as, depending on the wording of your policy, your insurer may not pay out in the event of mishap” warns Dombo.
It is of the utmost importance that vehicle owners allowing others to drive their cars during the World Cup, communicate with their car insurance, disclose these factors and ensure that the necessary cover is in place!
Licensing Requirements for those driving in South Africa
It is even more important to check whether the driver of your vehicle is indeed licensed to drive on the roads of South Africa. You will only be insured if you are legally allowed to drive – and may face the wrath of the law if you drive without a valid license!
Keep in mind that:
- Some foreign licenses are not valid in South Africa and their holders are therefore not licensed to drive while travelling in South Africa.
- South African authorities accept a drivers‟ license that is current in the country of its origin and valid for the driving of the same type of vehicle that is to be driven in South Africa – as long as the license is written in English and bears the driver’s photograph.
- If an unlicensed driver causes damage, injury or even fatality you may end up in court for allowing your overseas guest or friend to use your vehicle.
- If you are unable to pay the damages you may have your assets attached to settle liabilities.
- Most car insurance policies exclude carrying of fare paying passengers or carrying of passengers for reward. So, if you are thinking of charging foreign guests (or taking any kind of reward) for drop-off services you must check whether your insurer covers this since you would need a PDP drivers license to do this legally.
Advice to vehicle owners considering lending vehicles to foreigners
Alexander Forbes Insurance advises asking a few questions
- Is the tourist a licensed driver?
- Is the license acceptable in South Africa?
- Are they familiar with the rules and regulations of our roads e.g. driving on the left hand side?
- What is the risk profile of the driver (age, experience etc?)
- How many people will be driving the car? The more people you nominate as drivers, the more you will pay on your insurance premium.
- Do you know the history and driving competence of the person you are lending your vehicle to? It’s always better if they have been referred by somebody you trust and you have done a security test.
- Are you covered for third party liability in the event that someone else who is driving your car causes damage to property or even death?
We would like to advise that you communicate with your car insurer to confirm that you are keeping to your side of the contractual agreement. It is better to have a temporary change to the terms or an increase in the car insurance premium [or additional excess] than to be held liable for damage, injury or death due to the behavior or driving status of the foreign guest that you lent your vehicle to – or those tourists that you injured while driving them to a match for reward.