How crime affects your car insurance

How crime affects your car insurance

The formula for determining your insurance premium is a tricky one at best, based on your individual risk profile. This includes your age, your income, your insurance history – and the car that you drive. "Your car is a determining factor in the cost of your insurance and it's not purely about price. The availability of parts, reliability, age and condition all factor into it. And unfortunately, the likelihood of that car being targeted by criminals also plays a part," says Jeff Osborne, Head of Gumtree Autos.

There is a huge demand for bakkies, vans and SUVs on the black market in neighbouring countries. "The Toyota Hilux is one of the best-selling cars on our market, and the one most frequently stolen (as are competitors such as the Nissan 1400). If you are a target for hijackers or car thieves, your premium goes up."

Similarly, the Fortuner is believed to be targeted for parts resale for the mini-bus tax industry

Toyota as a brand was flagged by CarInfo in 2015, citing that Toyotas make up 4 out of 5 of the most stolen vehicles in SA, although that is extremely difficult to verify. "My belief is that this is because Toyota is top selling brand, which automatically makes it more prevalent and more desirable."

A later investigation by BusinessTech showed that the Hilux, Fortuner and VW Polo were the most stolen vehicles in South Africa. "If you were to visit a comparison website, you will see the price of insuring a Polo compared to a Rio, which are comparable vehicles, is much higher," says Osborne.

Entry-level cars are also targeted for their parts, due to their popularity, as are vehicles older than 7 years.

"If you reside in or commute in high-crime areas, it could also affect your risk profile," says Osborne. Pinetown, Booysens, Roodepoort and Springs are all known as hijacking hotspots.

Osborne says it is absolutely crucial to review insurance costs before purchasing a car. "It can make a significant difference to your premium."

It is also important to ask your insurer whether additional safety features – such as a Car Tracker – can lower your premium. "Do your due diligence before making a decision," says Osborne. "Don't skimp on insurance, rather spend time comparing options and investigating ways of lowering your costs."

And the most important lesson to be gleaned? "Don't buy black market parts! They may be cheap in the short term, but they come at a high cost for everyone."

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