Everything you need to know about 4x4 insurance

Ensure you're covered with Santam

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While there are very few true wilderness areas left in this world, many South Africans enjoy recreation in the abundant natural vistas that the sub-continent has to offer in their 4x4 vehicles.


Before you head out on your epic adventure, it's a good idea to check exactly what you're covered for.


Santam answered some questions about the big world of 4x4 adventures, from making sure you have the proper winching equipment to escaping some tricky situations.


What does a standard 4x4 insurance policy cover?


Most specialist 4x4 insurance cover differs in terms of the following criteria:


  • When you cross South African borders;
  • Unforeseen events; and
  • Bringing your car back into South Africa



Santam offers extended territorial cover which includes Angola, Zambia, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).


Also ensure that your insurance cover makes provision for winching equipment which you'll need in the event of sudden and unforeseen mechanical and electrical breakdown, failure or breakage of the winching equipment of the vehicle.


If your vehicle is accidentally damaged, Santam will pay the cost of returning your 4x4 vehicle to South Africa, if it is accidently damaged.


What do 4x4 drivers typically get exposed to?



  • Political instability or unrest in a country;
  • Theft or attempted theft of vehicle or accessories;
  • Attacks from wild life; and
  • Inappropriate road surfaces or non-existent roads.



What are some of the biggest (and less notable) risks insurers need to consider when insuring off-road adventures?


The biggest risk with respect to off-road adventure is the overturning of a 4x4 vehicle. Santam relies on its world-class rating methodology to determine the rates on different types of 4x4 vehicles and the way in which we calculate this risk has been adjusted accordingly.


What can adventurers do to protect themselves from each of these risks?


  • Always ensure that your 4x4 vehicle is properly equipped to perform on the chosen terrain (i.e. vehicle capability);
  • Ensure you are familiar with your chosen terrain; and
  • Your tyre pressure;





A client is on his overland holiday in Tanzania. His vehicle suffers serious body damage after the client hammers it off-road. As such, the vehicle is immobile and the clients/ and his family are stranded in Tanzania. He contacts his 4x4 insurer. What is the next course of action for the insurer?


Santam will confirm that the insured has the appropriate cover after which, a claim will be lodged. The client's intermediary and/or Santam may assist with the necessary arrangements to get the vehicle to the nearest South African border (i.e. repatriate) and get in touch with the local South African authorities. Santam will pay the reasonable cost of returning the vehicle to South Africa. Compensation is however limited to R25 000.


Santam will appoint an approved repairer to meet the client at the South African border and have the vehicle taken for an assessment and repairs. Santam's 4x4 insurance cover makes provision for body damage across the South African border. Santam also covers medical expenses of vehicle passengers, up to R5 000 per person as well as accommodation for the driver and passengers up to R5 000 per person involved in any incident.