Will My Insurance Pay if I Was Speeding and Had an Accident?

    Observe speed limits as a general rule and take note of the following.

    • Momentary lapses in checking speed should not negate your policy
    • Reasonable precaution is a reason for refusal of claims
    • Depending on the circumstances, you should receive an insurance payment following an accident even if you were speeding

     

    This important question is one every person who has ever insured their vehicle has pondered, at one time or another. This is a question to put to the experts, in order to get the most truthful and helpful answer possible.

    Observe speed limits

    Most of us are aware of the reasons an insurer can refuse to honour a claim from an uninsured driver. These include severe overloading, driving minus a license and drunk driving, to mention a few.

    Speed and Car Insurance

    The question is, if over-speeding by less than 10 kilometres per hour, is this still an offense? We put it to the Short-term Insurance Ombudsman, through the use of an example, and this is what he said:

    Speed limit exceeding – reasonable safeguards to minimise/avoid a loss.

    Facts about speeding

    The nineteen-year-old son of the insured was driving from Durban on the N3. At some point, this road descends into a right-hand turn, in a circular manner. It was at this point the driver was in a mishap that left the car severely damaged.

    The insurer rejected the claim for the reason of ‘Reasonable Precaution’, because the driver admitted to exceeding the speed guidelines. The road in question has a 100 kph speed limit, which reduces to 80 kph and finally to 60 kph. The accident happened at the stretch between 80 kph and 60 kph.

    Response of the Ombudsman

    The Ombudsman referred to the famous Santam vs CC Designing CC judgement. It clarified the burden of proof that lays with insurance providers when quoting the condition ‘Reasonable Precautions’.

    The judgement stated that an insurance company must show without a doubt that the driver/insured is cognizant of the propensity of loss, but opts to ignore the likelihood of danger due to they being insured against said danger, i.e. the accident was caused intentionally.

    ‘Many accidents happen in circumstances of negligence by the driver/insured. A motor cover policy insures against all risks, including negligence of a driver/insured’.

    ‘With the circumstances outlined above, in order for an insurance provider to decline a claim on that basis, they would have to prove in every claim, were ‘reasonable precautions’ taken into account? This situation would be untenable’, ruled the Ombudsman.

    Following friendly negotiations, the claim was settled by the insurer.

    What this means is reasonable error does not negate a legitimate insurance policy claim. The conclusion clearly means that momentary failure of monitoring your speedometer will not result in unnecessary financial risk. It is, however, prudent to observe speed limits, which are known to lower risk of accidents.

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