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Thursday / 20 June 2024
HomeFeaturesCivilians directing traffic – What it could do to your insurance claim

Civilians directing traffic – What it could do to your insurance claim

The increase in national loadshedding has brought about the more frequent occurrence of civilians taking it upon themselves to direct traffic flow at busy intersections when the lights are down.

However, this poses a serious threat as these individuals are unqualified to direct traffic and could therefore cause serious accidents, leaving the motorists involved with no one to point fingers at.

We spoke to three prominent insurers to find out what you need to keep a lookout for if you ever find yourself in a similar situation.

King Price

In the event that a King Price client was involved in a crash where a civilian directing traffic was the most likely cause of the accident, the insurer said it will pay out the claim only if the client kept a proper lookout and acted with due care and caution.

It is assumed that the insured party acted with due care and caution until another party is able to prove that they did not.

“A reckless driver speeding towards an intersection where the traffic lights are out of order with disregard to anyone directing traffic in the intersection, in other words, [does] not act with due care and precaution [and] might find himself in a position where he will not enjoy any cover for a loss or accident,” said King Price client experience partner Wynand van Vuuren.

Even with a qualified official directing traffic, the onus remains on the driver to keep an eye on their surroundings at all times to make sure they are not put in unnecessary danger.

“It is not for the insured to prove that he did keep a proper lookout. It is for anyone else to prove that he did not keep a proper lookout,” said Van Vuuren.

MiWay

The mere fact that a civilian point guard is on duty will not be a sufficient reason for MiWay to reject its clients’ claims, it said.

A MiWay client’s cover is subject to compliance with the terms and conditions set out in the policy, and as long as a client adhered to these conditions and acted responsibly while following the instructions of a civilian directing traffic, MiWay said it will honor the claim and pay out.

“We take the information provided by the client in good faith, and unless there are other pieces of evidence available to confirm that the client did not exercise due care and precaution, we will act on the information as provided by the client during the claim process,” said the insurer.

“Most clients are covered comprehensively for accidental damage which will be covered if the terms and conditions of the policy are adhered to, and the severity of the actual damage would not have an impact on the client’s ability to claim for the damage resulting from such an incident,” said MiWay.

This is also the case where a qualified officer directed traffic and an accident occurred, as the responsibility remains on the MiWay client to act within the bounds of their agreement with the insurer.

Naked

Naked Insurance said its clients should remain covered if they were involved in an accident where a civilian was directing traffic, but that there are two main factors that will impact the success of each claim.

“When we assess a claim, the most important questions we ask are: Did you explicitly or deliberately break the law? Did you take reasonable care to avoid the loss?” said Ernest North, Naked co-founder.

“Irrespective of who is directing the traffic at a given time, those questions apply. We would be reasonable when evaluating a claim, provided you were driving with appropriate care and caution for the conditions on the road.”

North said Naked reserves the view that unless there is clear evidence of the law being broken or the driver failing to exercise caution, the claim will be approved.

“That said, motorists should be aware that these citizens have not been trained to direct traffic,” he said.

“They should be vigilant in following their directions. The rules of the road are that cars should treat the intersection as a four-way stop when the traffic light is out. However, we understand that it might be safer to follow the non-official pointsguard’s direction if other cars are doing so.”

He said the frequent load shedding has contributed to an increase in traffic accidents due to non-functional traffic lights, traffic jams, and frustrated motorists.

“Our advice is to be as careful as you can and avoid putting yourself and other motorists at risk,” said North.

“Even when an official traffic officer is directing traffic, it is important to slow down and act with due care.”

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