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Going on an Easter road trip? Remember to pack your insurance

Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure,

South Africa offers some great road trip destinations, and locals seem to be taking more advantage of the many options (and routes) available, especially since Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted. Whether its camping, visiting family on the other side of the country or just a chance to enjoy the wide-open road, the Easter holidays is a popular time to go road-tripping.

Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure, points to Easter weekend road statistics, which have fluctuated considerably over the past two years. “The hard lockdown over the 2020 Easter period saw a significant reduction in road usage of up to 70% but there was a dramatic shift during Easter in 2021, with the number of cars on the road almost back to pre-Covid levels. Despite increasing fuel prices, it can be expected that many South Africans will be on the road this Easter.”

While an international holiday is beyond reach of many, exploring new places is still very much on many South African’s to-do lists. “And what better way to experience the many wonders of our beautiful country than by car, but as with all holiday travel, it is vitally important to consider the risks before setting off on an adventure of any kind. Anyone who’s road tripped before will know it’s all about being prepared.”

With this in mind, Visser delves into some of the most important boxes to check before you set off on your next road trip adventure.

Do your safety check first

Visser explains that ensuring your car, trailer or caravan are roadworthy is the first priority. “If you’re hauling caravans/trailers this holiday season, it’s important to inspect your tyres, particularly if they haven’t been used in a while. Tyres do deteriorate with age even if they are in storage. Factors such as temperature, humidity and light exposure can cause the quality of the tyres to be compromised, making them unsafe. In addition to this, all tyres need to be replaced as soon as the tread is below the legal minimum of 1.6mm. Always replace your tyres at a reputable dealership, in line with the legal tread requirements.”

Next, he says checking that all tyres (including spares) are inflated to the correct optimum pressure is essential for ensuring that one’s vehicle is balanced. “This is particularly important when hauling heavy caravans or trailers. Unroadworthy tyres are among the most common causes of accidents and are commonly cited as the reason for an insurance claim being repudiated. Insurance policies will typically not cover you for an accident or claim if you do not honour the conditions of the policy.”

Service is king

Keeping up with one’s service schedule is another critically important factor in ensuring your car or caravan is roadworthy. “Always make sure your service is done in accordance with your service book requirements regardless of whether you go away once a year, four times a year, or once every two years. And don’t forget about updating your licence disks!”

Get the right cover 

Holiday and camping equipment can be expensive and the values can add up to quite a significant sum especially when you include outdoor sporting equipment. According to Visser, it’s always best to talk to your adviser and let them know what equipment you are traveling with to ensure you have enough cover and that your sum insured is adequate. 

“Caravans or camper vehicles have to be specified in your insurance policy similar to a normal vehicle. Anything specific, or the more expensive items you might take on a camping or caravanning holiday such as mountain bikes, kayaks, camp fridge/freezers, family tents and awnings need to be specified under the all risks section in your policy. This will ensure your valuables are covered in any eventuality. Note this should also include any modifications you have made to a caravan, for example a fixed roof rack or roof tent.”

SOS

Lastly, Visser states that if it happens that you have a breakdown or accident while on holiday, make sure that you know who to call. “In case of a breakdown or accident, you should immediately contact your adviser or insurer to get authorisation to tow your vehicle. It is vital that you don’t allow an unapproved towing company to tow your vehicle or caravan. While it may seem like the quickest solution, it often causes issues when it comes time to claim.”

He says that travellers should keep key contact information (like the contact details for their insurer, broker and emergency responders) close at hand on any road trip. Taking out roadside assistance for minor emergencies such as flat tyres and other minor events is also helpful.

“With your safety checks done, your licence disks renewed, your car or caravan packed, and your insurance updated, you’re ready to head for the roads, hills, oceans, mountains or nature reserves to nourish your soul. But it must be said that those looking to travel to or around KwaZulu-Natal this long weekend should take extra caution on the roads due to the disruptive rainfall and flood conditions currently being experienced,” Visser concludes.







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