The backlog with issuing drivers’ licences has left many people
concerned that their car insurance would not pay in case of damage if they do
not have valid drivers’ licences.
It would appear that most of the country’s vehicle insurers are willing
to give consumers the benefit of the doubt for now, if they happen to get
involved in a fender bender while driving without a valid licence.
Hard lockdown measures that were in force since 26 March 2020 meant that
any licences and permits requiring renewal could not be processed.
Fikile Mbalula, minister of transport, published guidelines on 20 May
2020 in terms of the Disaster Management Act which offered a validity extension
to all licence and permit-holders who could not apply for renewals between 26
March and 31 May.
Licencing and driving licence test centres were only allowed to operate
again from 1 June, with many operating at reduced capacity while working
through the backlog of applications. A further extension has not been
announced, while the number of expired licences and permits increase, meaning
that more people will be using the country’s roads without valid licences.
In response, Natasha Kawulesar, head of client relations at Outsurance,
says when its clients are in possession of a driver’s licence that they have
been unable to renew timeously, their claims will not be impacted.
“We will settle claims where the only point of concern is a recently
expired driver’s licence. Drivers and vehicle owners will therefore be
recognised as legally licenced should they need to claim against a Discovery
Insure insurance plan, provided they are in possession of a valid licence,
Marius Neethling, personal line underwriting manager at Santam, says in
line with government regulations regarding the validity period of driving
licences, Santam has made a concession to regard all driving licences and
permits that have expired between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2020 as valid
until 31 January 2021 for purposes of its insurance contracts.
“Once the authenticity of the expired licence has been established, the
claim may be handled as if the licence card was still valid.”
“The short answer,” says King Price’s client experience partner Wynand
van Vuuren, “is that an expired license because of Covid-19 will not affect
your cover. The important issue is the principle of ‘causal nexus’, which means
the reason for a claim rejection must be directly linked to the cause of the
accident. Just make sure the vehicle is always roadworthy and there are no
additional factors that can cause or contribute to an accident.”
Old Mutual’s insurance expert, Christelle Colman, says Old Mutual Insure
is fully aware of the delays in the renewal of drivers’ licenses because of the
administration backlog in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown period.
“As a result each policyholder’s personal circumstances will be
considered at the time of an accident while firmly supporting the principles of
Treating Customers Fairly, as well as the various conditions contained in the
policy wording. We will therefore treat each claim on its own merits in a fair
and equitable manner,” she says.
Rudolf Britz, chief actuary at Momentum Short-term Insurance, says
Momentum’s stance is that an individual with an expired license card is still
licensed to drive as the document has just expired.
“Therefore we would deem such an individual as adequately licensed and
honour the claim as long as all other criteria set out in the policy agreement
For any queries please contact our offices on 031 5021922 or visit our website
featured in the Citizen under the personal finance section, written by Ina