Vehicle statistics made available on the Moneyweb website makes for interesting reading. It has been revealed that in December, SUVs accounted for 25% of passenger car sales. It is said that one in six passenger cars being sold in SA these days can be loosely termed a sports utility vehicle (SUV).
Why are so many buyers opting for SUV’s?
We need to reflect on some of the reasons for the shift in purchasing tendencies:
* They are more spacious/ comfortable;
* Being higher, they offer better visibility;
* They can go anywhere, which suits outdoor SA lifestyles;
* They are seen as safer for their occupants in a crash;
* They can ride the potholes better [road conditions off the main roads have deteriorated];
* The best equal or exceed the luxury of the best saloon cars;
* They convey an adventurous “tough guy” image.
Analysts have disclosed that the SUV segment is growing in size, but the 4×2 SUV sub-segment is becoming a very popular option. It is also interesting to note that 4X4 vehicles have increased their market share from 8%-12% during three years of desperate recession.
What is an SUV?
A sport utility vehicle (SUV) is a generic marketing term for a vehicle similar to a station wagon, but built on a light-truck chassis. Usually equipped with four-wheel drive for on- or off-road ability, and with some pretension or ability to be used as an off-road vehicle, some SUVs include the towing capacity of a pickup truck with the passenger-carrying space of a minivan or large sedan. [Wikipedia]
SUV/ 4X4 and insurance risks
Many SUV owners might not buy the vehicle for its 4×4 ability, but having these capabilities at hand, might provide additional safety concerns. We have referred to purchasing considerations as including the ability to go “anywhere” and the perceived “tough guy image”. This is exactly where the additional vehicle insurance risk can be found!
Owning and driving a 4×4 vehicle does not mean that the driver is capable of driving off-road safely. Without proper training a 4×4 could be dangerous in the hands of the inexperienced driver. Too many 4×4 vehicle roll-overs occur when drivers drive these vehicles at incorrect speeds and without the proper technique on gravel roads!
Insuring your 4×4 vehicle and communication with your insurer
The vehicle owner needs to pay special attention when insuring his SUV and 4×4. The type of vehicle that you drive and the purpose of use are important considerations in calculating the insurance premium payable! If the SUV is not to be used for rough 4×4 driving, you might need to communicate this to your insurer – or at least confirm that this vehicle does not attract a very expensive car insurance premium from your insurer.
Car Insurance Advice and suggestions for the SUV/ 4X4 Owner
The Car Insurance Blog at carinsurance.arrivealive.co.za would like to advise the following:
• Pay close attention to insuring your 4×4 or SUV.
• Shop around and compare insurance quotes from several providers
• Avoid additional risks and 4×4 insurance claims through a focus on safety.
• Focus on safety and driving skills on off-road and 4×4 terrain
• Improve your skills through accredited 4×4 driving courses
• Ensure that additional drivers also gain safe 4×4 driving training as well.
• Do not overload your vehicle and be especially cautious when towing
The Arrive Alive road safety website has made available several pages of content on 4×4 driving safety. We would like to urge all 4×4 vehicle owners to view the following section:
• 4×4 Off-Road Driving Techniques & Safety
• 4×4 Vehicle Insurance