What is comprehensive car insurance?

Comprehensive Car Insurance 3 min read 26 May 2022

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There are many things that could happen to your car but only one type of car insurance that can make it right again, and that is comprehensive car insurance. It is the highest level of protection you can get for your vehicle, with complete peace of mind that your investment is well looked after on and off the road.


What is actually included may vary from insurer to insurer, so we look at the benefits to help you make an informed decision about the right insurance for your needs.


How comprehensive car insurance compares to other types


The biggest difference between comprehensive insurance and limited types of cover (such as fire, theft and third party cover and third party only cover) is that these types only cover damage to other cars following an accident that was deemed your fault. Damages to your own car will therefore be for your own account. However, if you had comprehensive car insurance, damages to your own car will be covered as well.


What does comprehensive car insurance typically cover?


Naturally comprehensive vehicle insurance will include cover for damages caused by all insured events such as accidents, fire and theft (and hijacking), as well as third party cover should you drive into someone and a claim is made against you. When you claim for any of these events, your insurer will either repair your vehicle or compensate you at reasonable market value or the sum insured of your vehicle (whichever is the lesser)in the event of a total write-off, less the excess amount applicable. An excess amount exists to make the insured co-responsible in the event of a claim. Typically, the higher the excess, the lower your vehicle insurance premium will be.


What does comprehensive car insurance not cover?


While comprehensive car insurance covers you against most types of accidents, it doesn’t look after the maintenance and servicing of your vehicle. Mechanical breakdowns won’t be covered by insurance and things like depreciation and gradual causes (like wear and tear and worn tyres) will also be for your account.


Speak to your insurer or intermediary to see if car hire is included in your policy, should your car have to go in for repair work, and whether you get any complimentary emergency support services.


What if my car is stolen or written off?


If your car is stolen or uneconomical to repair, this is called a ‘total loss’. If your car was insured for less than its reasonable market value, you may end up with less cash than you need to buy a similar make and model.


To help car owners avoid any uncertainty, Santam has introduced comprehensive insurance with an option to insure your vehicle at a guaranteed value. This new concept in car insurance guarantees the compensation amount of your vehicle quoted in your policy schedule as the sum insured to remove any uncertainty during claims when your vehicle is stolen or written off. You will therefore know exactly what you’ll get paid out.


With Santam’s comprehensive vehicle insurance, the following added benefits are included in your policy schedule:


  • Six free SOS services to our personal lines policyholders, such as roadside assistance, a drive-home service or emergency household repairs.
  • Free legal advice or route assist over the phone.
  • Replacement costs for locks, keys and remote controls.
  • Recovery costs for found vehicle following theft or hijacking.
  • Emergency accommodation.
  • Emergency costs payable to public authorities.
  • Trauma treatment.
  • Medical expenses of passengers (your family).
  • In the event of a claim and your vehicle is deemed uneconomical to repair or stolen and the age of the vehicle from the date of first registration is less than 12 months or has travelled less than 30,000 kilometres, Santam will replace your vehicle with a new similar make and model.



If you have any questions about the right type of car insurance for your needs, call us on 0860 444 444 for a free quote.


Remember: if you’re an existing Santam client, you can add policies and make changes to your cover right here on the Santam client site.