Earlier today visitors to the Arrive Alive page on Facebook were shocked to find the above visuals of a taxi driver in Bloemfontein intentionally colliding with a pedestrian for a second time and then assaulting the injured pedestrian!
This made me question not only how we can and should avoid road rage, but also from an insurance perspective what the insurance implications might be with regards to damage to the vehicle if an insurance claim is to be submitted. The experts from Discovery Insure, Hollard and iWYZE provided a response.
What is the legal position where it can be proved that damage to a vehicle has not been only caused by “accident”?
Damage caused intentionally and then claimed for is regarded as fraud.
Insurance policies usually limit the cover to accidental loss or damage. Accidental generally being defined as sudden and unexpected. Any damage caused intentionally by the insured to any property cannot by its very definition be regarded as “accidental “ but purposeful.
Is there a specific stipulation in the policy to the effect that intentional damage is excluded?
Most policies will have a Prevention of loss clause that stipulates that the insured must take all reasonable precautions to safeguard and prevent death, injury, loss or damage to persons and property. Some policies will have a damage caused intentionally exclusion, some will rely on the above.
Are you aware of any decision to this effect by the Ombudsman?
We are not aware of any claim where The Ombudsman upheld a damage caused intentionally claim but believe he would do so if the circumstances warranted it. For instance breaking down a bathroom door to rescue a trapped child.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further queries.
Head of Discovery Insure Technical Marketing
1)What is the legal position where it can be proved that damage to a vehicle has not been only caused by “accident”?
The intention of an insurance policy is to cover insured events which is defined as” a sudden, unforeseen event resulting in damage, loss or liability to the Insured Property.
We do not compensate you for any claims if you, or any person colluding with you, deliberately caused the insured event, loss or damage.
The aforementioned is tantamount to fraud which could result in the claim being forfeited and the policy being voided or cancelled at Our discretion.
2) Is there a specific stipulation in the policy to the effect that intentional damage is excluded?
Insurance policies will have a Prevention of loss and or Due care clause that stipulates that the insured must take reasonable precautions for the maintenance and safety of the insured property as well as to prevent loss, damage and accidents.
3)Are you aware of any decision to this effect by the Ombudsman?
We are not aware of any specific claim for intentional damage being made by the Ombud.
Kindly contact the writer in the event of any further queries.
All short-term insurance policies exclude damage/injury/death intentionally caused by the insured or on his/her behalf. If the insurer can prove that the insured intentionally caused the damage/injury/death (as opposed to it being an accident), then they will reject the claim. If the claim was submitted by the insured under the pretense that the incident was an accident, they may even lay a charge of fraud against the insured.
In the case of the video, the injured may have claimed from the taxi driver for his injuries. The taxi driver may then have turned to his insurer and claimed that the incident was accidental in nature and that the insurer should cover the claim under Third Party Liability.
Should the insurer then investigate and discover that the taxi driver caused the incident intentionally, they would reject the claim and lay a charge of insurance fraud against the taxi driver. The injured would then have to attempt recovery of costs either from the taxi driver or the Road Accident Fund.
For Information on Road Rage view the following sections: