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Running in the Ocean


Insurance can be very trying to get your head around, with different legal hurdles seemingly waiting to trip you up. In South Africa, insurance is a big part of day-to-day life and this article can help you to cut throughout the legalese and understand what insurers are on about.

Car insurance glossary

Agreed value: Prior to obtaining cover from an insurer, the company that you have chosen will usually proceed to value your car in order for you to establish the amount you pay for your policy on an annual basis.

Cooling-off period: The two weeks of time that you have to revert from a policy that you took with an insurer if things aren’t working out as planned.

Declared/additional driver: If it isn’t just you who will be driving your car, this needs to be documented on your Certificate of Insurance.

Excess: There are different ways to cut through excess, but usually it is a specific amount that you pay towards the cost of any claims you make. The insurer will not give you a cheque for the repairs until you have contributed. Higher excess can mean lower premiums. (But if you do set your premium higher, make sure you can afford to pay the higher amount. Not being able to come up with the funds in the event of an claim, could mean that you are without a vehicle for a long period of time.)

Roadworthy: The checks taken to ensure your car is safe to drive and complies with legal standards.

Market value: If worst comes to worst and you find that your car is irreparable; this is the amount that you would get to contribute to a new car. The market value takes into account the condition of the car and market trends.

Home insurance glossary

Contents with a maximum limit: Some items are only covered to a certain amount by a home insurance policy if it is a particularly valuable item.

General contents: Contents that are not limited and are covered under your buildings cover.

Insured address: The address that your insurer has on file as the address of your property

Period of insurance: The inclusive dates where you are protected against an event by an insurer.

Items with a special limit: If you have items of value, you can take out additional cover so an insurer would compensate you for the full market valuation of the item in question.

Insured sum: The sum that determines how much you are protected for by your insurer.

Total loss: In the event of damage being accrued to a property or the contents within it under insurable circumstances, this is the total that the claim amounts to.


Health insurance

Accident benefit: The more people who were in the accident from your family, the more money will be paid out by the insurer to cover medical costs.

Agreed hospitals: Health insurers that specialise in private care offer you agreed hospitals: set places where you can get care as detailed in the policy.

Baby bonus benefit: Cover for the event of childbirth arranged in advance and/or covered in some policies.

Co-payment: Similar to excess, the insured contributes money to some costs like overnight stays to keep premiums as low as possible.

Couple policy: Available to those who are married and live in the same household.

Dependent children: Varies with insurers – usually, children of the policy holder and the married spouse that are under the age of 21 and live at home.

Excluded service: A medical routine not covered by an insurance policy.

Limits: If a medical treatment is ongoing, limits define how much an insurer would be willing to pay for a treatment that is repeated numerously.

Partner authority: When the Policyholder is unavailable or too ill to make executive decisions, a partner can decide on behalf of the Policyholder.

Pre-existing condition: Can affect how low a premium is. Those with pre-existing conditions are more likely to have to take out dedicated cover.

Time limit on claims: The duration of time after an event when a claim is valid.



Life insurance

Benefit period: The duration of time after an event when a claim is valid.

Policy expiry date: The date from which no claims are possible should an event arise.

Date insured from: When you get your Certificate of Insurance, this is when date when you can begin to claim and when you are protected.

Life Care: The amount determined on a policy for a payout to the deceased Policyholder’s family.

Nominated beneficiary: Where the Life Care payout is directed to and their trust fund.

Policy anniversary date: A long-standing policy normally requires an annual review to assess the situation of the Policyholder.

Premium due date: When a policy is about to mature by a year, this is the date when the premiums for the next year are due, unless the payments are monthly.


Business insurance

Chosen solicitor: If you engage in a legal dispute, this is your legal representative in a court of law.

Attendance expenses: Expenses that you can claim for should a worker in your small business be absent through circumstances beyond your control.

Capital additions: After the Certificate of Insurance, if you add significant investments to your buildings or contents portfolio, this is known as capital additions.

Indemnity period: The indemnity period is length of pre-determined time where a business can claim once an event occurs.

Limit of indemnity: In the cases where there is a significant event, some insurers limit their cover and this is indicated on the Certificate of Insurance.

Product Disclosure Statement: The document (similar to a Certificate of Insurance) which explains your cover in detail.

Risk: What your insurer uses to determine how likely your business is to claim.


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