Massive fuel price increase ahead: carpooling may be the remedy to deal with rising costs

3 min read 23 May 2022

With a massive increase expected to take fuel prices beyond R23 per litre this June, drivers must once again tighten their belts. Motorists will be squeezed even tighter as more people return to the office. Carpooling can be a fantastic way to ease this burden and help everyday South Africans save money. It also has the added benefit of reducing your carbon footprint while relieving some of the boredom that comes with being stuck in traffic alone.

What’s more, apps like CarTrip and Ugomyway can help you offset some of your running costs by allowing you to share rides with people travelling in the same direction as you. There are several benefits to carpooling, but it is important to understand the effect this can have on your car insurance.

Marius Steyn, Underwriting Manager at Santam says “It’s important to know the terms and conditions that may affect the cover on your policy. Not doing so runs the risk of cover shortfalls or your claim being denied altogether.

So, before you hang up your car keys, decide which carpooling setup works best for you:

Find the best fit for you:

Whichever carpooling scenario you choose, it’s important to let your insurer know if anything changes in your regular driving set-up as this can affect insurance claim excesses and pay outs.  For example, if the designated driver of your car is not the 'regular driver' quoted in your insurance policy documents and is effectively using your vehicle the most your claim may be negatively impacted due to additional excesses or premium being applicable.

If money changes hands, things can get more complicated too. It could be seen by an insurer as a commercial transaction, especially if the money you're receiving is more than what is necessary to cover petrol, maintenance, parking etc. You would then potentially need business insurance, or a special permit if you transport children or more than 12 people at a time.

Steyn concludes “Insurers have different definitions of what defines a ‘lift club’. In the case of Santam, when two or more people, who each own their own vehicle, all travel together in one vehicle and they take it in turns to each use their own vehicle and there is no other consideration of any sort, this can be termed a lift club.”