This article was written by Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Head of Marketing & Brand and originally appeared on womenonwheels.co.za.
Hijacking and theft are commonplace in the South African lexicon – hardly surprising given the fact that the 2018 SAPS Crime Report recorded an astonishing 16,325 carjacking incidents in the last year alone.
Given the increasing vulnerability of vehicle owners to various forms of crime, tracking devices have become fairly standard over the past few years, with many insurers requiring certain makes and models of vehicles to be equipped with one so as to qualify for cover.
While tracking devices are not always a mandatory requirement for insurance, they can have a significant impact on vehicle owners’ monthly premiums, thanks to the lessened risk inherited by the insurer as a result. Not only can these devices increase the chances of vehicle retrieval in light of theft or hijacking, but many can also monitor speed and driver behaviour, which can in turn incentivise more sensible road use, thus facilitating a lower likelihood of accidents.
If you are looking to lower your monthly insurance premiums, it might be time to invest in a new tracking device. However, it is important to remember that not all devices are created equal, so make sure you familiarise yourself with this handy checklist before proceeding:
Consult with your insurer
It is important to note that different tracking devices can serve entirely different purposes. For instance, while some merely track the vehicle’s location, others measure its speed and can detect impact and potential theft. As such, it is important to clarify with your insurer ahead of time which kind of device is required as part of your contract, as installing the wrong type could end up invalidating future claims.
Keep things in working order
There is little benefit to having a tracking device that is not in working order. Should you fail to keep yours functional, it could result in you being unable to enjoy the benefit of emergency assistance and could in turn have further impact on any subsequent claims. As such, it is important to check on your tracking device’s functionality from time to time and to ensure that your account with the tracking provider is fully paid up.
Remember to notify your insurer immediately should you detect any defect with your device, as you may put your cover at risk should the problem not be reported and dealt with swiftly.
Know the process
Just as different devices offer differing levels of functionality, the process via which they alert insurers and emergency service providers can also vary. While some might fire off immediate alerts to an insurer or tracking provider, others may require you to initiate the process manually, so make sure you understand this at the outset, to ensure you receive immediate assistance when needed.
Raise the alarm
Remember that, while your tracking device might offer an assortment of high-tech features, it is no substitute for human intelligence. Do not make the mistake of assuming that your tracking device is simply going to sound the alarm to the authorities of its own accord – should you fall victim to theft or hijacking, it is imperative that you alert your insurer and the police as soon as possible. Remember, the sooner the alarm is raised, the greater the likelihood that your vehicle can be retrieved.