The popularity of vehicle-tracking devices in South Africa has grown significantly in recent years as local insurance companies use the devices to offer competitive premiums to consumers. However, it is essential for anyone considering installing one to consider all factors before doing so.
According to Arnold van der Linde, executive chairperson of IntegriSure, a tracking device can have a very positive effect on a consumer’s motor insurance premium as it improves the likelihood of a stolen vehicle being recovered, thereby reducing the risk on the part of the insurer. “Statistics previously released by the tracking companies Tracker and Altech Netstar have shown that the recovery rate of a stolen vehicle with a tracking device is around 85%.”
However, van der Linde said that while there are advantages in better premiums for consumers when installing a tracking device, there are a number of terms and conditions that must be adhered to. “Vehicle owners must ensure that the tracking device is in full working order and have it tested regularly. If this is a stipulation set out in the policy then failing to do so could result in a claim being repudiated.”
“Motorists should also ensure that they check with their financial services provider first before buying and installing any particular device, as not all tracking devices are approved by all insurers.”
Van der Linde says it is also important to read the terms and conditions set out in the policy as some insurers actually specify that consumers must fit a tracking device. “If this is a requirement then any claim will again be repudiated if the client has not complied with this condition. However, consumers should also question why an insurer may stipulate that a tracking device be installed; that is this information going to be used to reward the client for responsible behaviour or to penalise them?”
He says a tracking device ultimately means one is sharing a lot of personal information and it is important for any consumers who are considering installing one to make sure that they not only partner with the right tracking company but also the right insurer. “Once this information is out there it is then available for others to use and get hold of. As a result, it is advisable to only partner with the top insurance companies who have a long and established track record. It would be wise to use a professional and independent intermediary to place the business for you as they will be in a position to independently advise you of any possible pitfalls and act as your mediator when that dreadful day of claiming arrive. Professional insurance intermediaries have to adhere to the strict prescriptions in the FAIS Act and also have to have professional liability insurance in place and thus you are much better protected as a consumer.”
“Tracking devices can provide a very efficient way to not only recover a vehicle but to also lower premiums for responsible drivers. However, it is important that consumers are not forced into using a product where the intention may be to use the information against them,” concludes van der Linde.