Car insurance and motor warranties are two different creatures, but both are necessary when driving in the urban jungle
Vehicles are not considered to be investments because of their relatively short life-spans and the many ways in which they can be damaged, but with sufficient car insurance and a suitable motor warranty, you can ensure that your four-wheeled baby maintains its optimum value. Before you owned your car, you might have imagined car ownership as something like the slicked-hair-combing, pelvis-thrusting, Pink Ladies-dating John Travolta with his Grease Lightning. Unfortunately, car ownership in real life involves far more paperwork and diligent planning than the movies would have us believe. Between potholes, taxis, drivers playing Candy Crush on their way to work, and just plain bad luck, there is never a time that you don’t need both car insurance and a motor warranty every time you drive out your garage.
Car insurance is a service you pay an insurance company to offset the expenses should you be involved in an unfortunate event in which your vehicle is damaged or written off. Three types of car insurance are available in South Africa – Comprehensive, Third Party, Fire and Theft, and Third Party. Comprehensive insurance, as its name suggests, covers most accidental damages sustained to your vehicle caused by yourself or someone else. It includes cover for damage caused by natural disasters (like floods), as well as third party cover, meaning it covers the costs when you’re responsible for damage caused to someone else’s vehicle, property or person. Comprehensive insurance also covers loss of a vehicle as a result of theft or hijacking. Third Party, Fire and Theft insurance offers insurance for only these three conditions – third party cover for when you are responsible for damage to someone else; fire or natural disasters; and theft. Significantly, this type of insurance does not cover you for accidental damage to your car in the form of a car accident or your own “preventable” actions when operating your vehicle. Finally is Third Party insurance, which covers only the damage that you cause to someone else. Any of these circumstances are at best inconvenient and unpleasant, and car insurance can help ease the financial woes that they bring.
A motor warranty, on the other hand, covers expenses that arise when parts of your vehicle malfunction. Car parts are designed for a specific function and with the intention of lasting for a certain time-frame without undue stress or forces acting on them. This means that if a part stops working through no fault of your own or without the intervention of an outside force (such as an attempted theft or natural disaster), the warranty acts as a guarantee that the parts will be repaired or replaced based on the specific value of the part and its age. The mechanical and electrical integrity of today’s cars are fundamental in their safety and longevity, but because perfection is unfortunately unattainable, motor warranties help protect you as a consumer from malfunctions.
Despite what car commercials and music videos would have us believe, vehicles are unfortunately a liability, rather than an asset. However, instead of comparing car insurance versus motor warranties, they should be seen as services that go hand-in-hand to promote the lifespan, value and safety of your vehicle. A motor warranty can ensure that your vehicle operates at its optimum, which in turn can help prevent accidents. But because of the uncertainties of life, car insurance ensures that even in the case of an accident, you, your car, and your wallet can be protected. So just like Danny and Sandy, car insurance and motor warranty go together like “ramma lamma lamma ka dinga da dinga dong.”