Beware the Ts and Cs of your insurance…
Having the correct comprehensive insurance in place is a legal requirement for heavy hauliers. However, in the event of a claim, insurers can have legal recourse should it be found that the conditions of the contract between the insurer and the insured have not been fully met.
Anton Cornelissen, head of Heavy Haulage at Santam, says: “It’s essential for heavy-haulage clients to understand the terms, conditions and exclusions on their insurance policies, especially as any breaches to the contract could lead to a claim being rejected and result in a costly setback for the haulier.”
Transport operators and heavy haulers should take heed of the following:
- Always notify the insurer of the status of drivers’ licences: It is the responsibility of the transport company or heavy haulier to notify the insurer if the licence of an authorised driver in their employ has been endorsed, suspended or cancelled, or if they are charged or convicted of negligent, reckless or improper driving.
- Make sure all drivers’ licences are valid: According to the National Road Traffic Act (Act 93 of 1996), any person who drives a vehicle on a public road must be in possession of a valid driving licence. In the event of a collision, an insurer will not honour any claims where individuals driving a vehicle are not in possession of the relevant valid driver’s licence, as required by the terms and conditions of their policy.
- Ensure that all drivers have the appropriate licences: A driver who is not licenced to drive a heavy-haulage vehicle, or who drives without a Professional Driving Permit (PrDP), are two more instances in which a claim might be rejected.
- Roadworthy vehicles: It is a legal requirement that all vehicles on South African roads – including trucks – must be in a roadworthy condition. All trucks must undergo a roadworthy test annually.
Owners will not be able to renew their vehicle licences without the presentation of a valid roadworthy certificate. The insurance policy stipulates that truck/fleet operators must ensure their trucks comply with the Road Traffic Act in terms of roadworthy conditions.
Cornelissen further advises that any misrepresentation, incorrect description or non-disclosure that may have a bearing on the insurance policy can render a claim null and void.
“Having full knowledge of the stipulated terms and conditions and knowing the responsibilities of both the insurer and insured party is, therefore, essential for those engaged in the heavy-haulage industry,” concludes Cornelissen.