Make sure this option is ticked on your car insurance policy as civil unrests rise in SA

• Civil unrests are on the rise in South Africa, putting personal property at risk.

• Car owners should ensure that Sasria cover is added to their insurance policies.

• Sasria is a state-owned entity that covers for loss due to protests and civil unrests.

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With an average of 2.26 protests per day over seven years – for anything from labour issues to municipal services, corruption and governance – South Africans are no strangers to protests and riots. 

While 62% of protests are peaceful, recent protest actions in various parts of the country erupted in violence and malicious property damage, with reports of one uninsured car dealership losing 32 vehicles in a fire. At Auto & General, we urge South Africans to be vigilant in safeguarding themselves and their possessions, as well as having adequate cover against civil unrest in place.

Because of these incidents’ unpredictable and often chaotic nature, both private and public property can suffer expensive damage. For this reason, we encourage people to ensure that Sasria cover is included in their insurance policies so that they are covered should the matter affect them personally. If they’re not properly covered, their insurance company might reject claims for damage or loss incurred during a strike, civil unrest or protest.

What is Sasria?

Sasria, which stands for ‘The South African Special Risks Insurance Association’, is a state-owned entity that provides cover for loss or damage to insured property due to civil unrest, including rioting, strike action, and public disorder. Sasria is the only insurer in South Africa that provides cover for any damage caused during these kinds of incidents.

Some insurance institutions, like At Auto & General, automatically include Sasria in their car insurance policies. Car owners are urged to check with their insurance companies that Sasria cover is included on their premiums, given that this cover is optional.

Auto & General provides the following advice to safeguard yourself, your loved ones and your possessions in times of civil unrest:

• SOS on speed dial: Make sure that you have the numbers of all emergency services – including community protection services – on hand.

• Layers of protection: Make sure that panic buttons, alarm systems, security doors, burglar bars, electric fences, CCTV systems etc. are all in place and working. Fortify your security measures if possible.

• Emergency equipment: Make sure that safety equipment like fire extinguishers is in place and working.

• Plan: Have an emergency plan, including an evacuation route in place for when unrest spreads to your area and make sure that all those close to you know how to follow it.

• Tuned in: Keep an eye on the news to stay informed about civil unrest hotspots and avoid them at all costs.

• Caught on the road: If you are in your vehicle during civil unrest, keep your car moving and try to avoid the crowd. If this isn’t possible and you see that your vehicle will be caught up in the unrest, park and lock it and make an escape to a place of safety if you can. If you can’t, it’s best to stay in your car, lock it, remain calm and not show any signs of hostility or anger. Never attempt to drive through a crowd of protesters. Alert authorities as soon as possible.

As civil unrests continue to put the country under pressure, we encourage South Africans to not spread fake news. It adds unnecessary and additional pressure to already under pressure systems like the South African Police Service (SAPS) and Central Provident Fund (CPF).

Ricardo Coetzee is the head of Auto & General Insurance.