South African Insurance Association

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Towing and Consumer Rights- SAIA Bulletin May 2019

SAIA was recently invited to participate in a SABC 1 Consumer Affairs show which looked at consumer issues regarding towing. The focus was not only on the insured market but also the ordinary man on the street who might require towing services.

Conversations that took place during the show and questions from callers highlighted the vast awareness gap that consumers experience when they are involved in an accident. The panellists all concurred that there was a need to educate drivers on their rights and responsibilities when it came to towing; taking into account that lack of regulation in this industry has resulted in alleged consumer abuse.

Although the non-life insurance industry has come up with various strategies to ensure safe removal of damaged cars from the accident scene and storage thereof; empowering policyholders with knowledge will ensure that they are able to manage the situation after an accident.

It is therefore, proposed that a guideline be produced for policyholders, on how to manage various issues that may arise after a car accident. Some of the questions that the industry may answer in the guideline are:

  • What happened to an accident damaged car if the driver is unconscious?
  • After an accident, the driver may experience shock, which will hinder him/her from making decisions on who tows the car and where it goes; if the policyholder is not sure that the tower is insurer-authorised, how long does he/she have to make the towing decision after the accident?
  • Can a driver request that the car be towed home instead, if this happens what are the consequences as far as the policy is concerned?
  • How does a policyholder ensure that the call centre person he/she is speaking to is an authorised representative of the insurer?
  • What other tips should consumers be aware of?

Attached is the full interview, as flighted on SABC 1 on the 20th of May 2019:

For more information contact Zanele Gigaba, SAIA Transformation Manager: