According to the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA (NAAMSA), sales of new cars in South Africa reflected a substantial decline of 13.2%, compared to new cars sold in September last year.
In addition, 21.9% of the new cars, or more than 1 in every 5 new cars, were purchased by the car rental industry.
This indicates that consumers are becoming increasingly cash-strapped due to the difficult economic climate, and simply cannot afford to replace their cars with new models as frequently as they have in the past.
Because of this, a growing number of cars owners are driving older cars which, if not regularly and properly maintained, may lead to increased incidents of breakdowns and repairs, which can carry their own dangers and high costs for consumers.
“It is critical that drivers of older cars which are out of motor plans ensure that comprehensive insurance cover and a comprehensive maintenance plan are in place to cover any car-related expenses, in order to avoid being liable for costly repairs and replacements,” says Lizette Erasmus, IntegriSure Head of Insurance Expertise.
“Ensuring comprehensive insurance cover is in place – which covers all scenarios for damage to or loss of a car – is critical as the drop in new car sales indicates that many consumers aren’t financially able to replace their car without this in place.” According to Erasmus, the IntegriSure claims department has noted an increase of 27% over the last 3 years in the cost of car repairs over the last three years which is fueled by the current poor rand dollar exchange rate. “Ensuring correct insurance cover will safeguard against the consumer being financially liable for these increasingly high costs,” she says.
“In addition, it is crucial for consumers to ensure that their cars are roadworthy at all times, as claims will be repudiated should the insurance provider finds the car was not. This is because unroadworthiness will most likely contribute greatly to the cause of the accident or damage.”
Erasmus goes on to explain that there are a variety of other benefits to comprehensive insurance policies, such as ‘take me home’ services, emergency roadside assistance or car hire services.
“As older cars are more likely to have technical issues or experience breakdowns, these services become valuable options to car owners.”
A car maintenance plan is taken out with the dealership the car was bought from or by an individual automotive company, and covers scheduled services, as well as specific wear-and-tear parts and labour costs. These can all be potentially expensive, but with a maintenance plan in place you can safeguard yourself from exorbitant costs on your car.