Insuring your car through online platforms

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Which provider is most cost-effective? Which product can you take out fastest? Which insurance company offers the best value? These, and plenty more, are the questions most consumers want answers to when considering which service provider to select for their car insurance needs.

Below, we’ve compiled the relevant information on five popular insurance products that we think are most suitable for the entry-level youth market – or those individuals enticed by the efficiency and personalisation of a cutting-edge app.

MiWay Blink

Description: An easy, affordable and convenient way to buy – and manage – your comprehensive car insurance using only a smartphone and without any human intervention. The app is available for download on both Google Play and App Stores.

Best feature: The speed (in the blink of an eye) at which you can sign up. It takes only a minute to enter your details into the app (be sure to have your number plate or VIN No. on hand) and a quote for comprehensive cover to be generated. The full policy wording is available online for you; no need to print out and sign an extensive batch of documents. Also, the cashback you’ll receive for driving fewer than 2 500km per month (up to 50 percent); you’re less risky than those always-on-the-roadsters, right? There are no hoops to jump through – your cashback is simply paid into your account when you confirm the kilometres driven in the app. And, if the app detects a car crash, the emergency alert informs the team to head out to rescue you – pronto! There are no strings attached if you cancel your policy.

Could improve on: While your excess could be as high as R5 000 (which is in line with the rest of the market), it is possible to reduce this to R2 500. Perhaps this is not a negative after all, as you can’t necessarily do this with other car insurance companies.

Something quirky: The importance of what MiWay Blink reminds us – bad things can happen in the blink of an eye, so it never pays to travel sans cover.

Speed of getting a quote: Easy, peasy – truly in 30 to 45 seconds.

Read more here: https://www.miwayblink.co.za/

Naked

Description: Disrupting the industry with tech and transparency, Naked’s model allows this industry player to use the platform fees paid by customers for the day-to-day running of the business, while any excess cash goes into the pot to pay out claims.

Best feature: Their transparency and the fact that you can pause your cover to stationary level (called CoverPause) – which many customers have claimed saved them significant cash during the first, and harshest, of SA’s pandemic lockdowns. How this works is that you pay roughly 50 percent of your normal monthly premium for periods when you don’t need to drive your car at all. It will still be covered for things that can go wrong while it is parked, though and, if you need to drive it, you simply pop onto the app and unpause your cover for that particular day. It’s also pretty cool that, at the end of the year, Naked pays any outstanding balance of the funds collected to a variety of customer-selected charities.

Could improve on: There’s no call centre, so you can’t bargain down a price but rather have to take Naked at its word that there are no lower prices available on premiums. Plus: you need to remember to pause and unpause your cover to be able to take advantage of the saving, which could put you at heightened risk if you’re the nutty-professor type.

Something quirky: The concept of a policy that bares all (i.e. provides complete transparency) for its customers…

Sign-up time: Three minutes, tops.

Read more here: https://www.naked.insure/car-insurance

Absa Activate

Description: A feature-rich digital product promising safety, convenience and rewards for driving well. A free tracking/telematics device is fitted in all insured vehicles, which includes stolen vehicle recovery services. Your telematics device will register how your vehicle is driven (e.g. speeding, late-night driving, harsh braking and cornering) and an actuarial algorithm then scores your driving behaviour and allocates the cashback (see the best feature, below).

Best feature: Your 40 percent cashback for good driving behaviour after just three months; the ability to add on building and contents insurance, so everything remains in one place.

Could improve on: The weightiness of this app on a smartphone; if the app is putting your smartphone in a spin, you’re advised to try updating it via your selected App Store, and otherwise to free up storage space on your device. Also, you have to pay a R1,000 penalty fee if you cancel your policy and can’t simply go to Glasfit to have the device removed.

Something quirky: The policy’s African-icity – because we all know that driving on this continent has its hazards.

Sign-up time: Approximately four minutes.

Read more here: https://afs.absa.co.za/activate/getproducts

Discovery Insure

Description: Customers get more than just car insurance when they sign up for this product, due to the innovation, service and safety features on offer; plus reasonable rates. With the option to join Vitality Drive in the mix, with its state-of-the-art safety features, you can benefit from their driver behaviour programme.

Best feature: The combination of the Discovery Insure app and their Vitality Drive Sensor device, which gives immediate trip feedback on your driving behaviour.

Could improve on: While the service you’ll receive from Discovery Insure very much depends on the call centre agent you engage, many reviews on Hello Peter are positive, revealing words like “fast”, “efficient” and “impressed” for those requesting roadside assistance. On a bad day a call-centre agent could slow down the whole process. Also, their rewards programme is rather complicated to get the hang of – you’ll need to carry out an in-depth study to be able to figure out what to do and how to maximise your rewards.

Something quirky: There has been a 15% improvement in driving behaviour among new clients within their first month, and a 17% long-term improvement in all clients, on average, joining the Vitality Drive programme.
Speed of getting a quote: In about two minutes, but then you’ll still need to complete the rather lengthy underwriting process telephonically.

Read more here: https://www.discovery.co.za/car-and-home-insurance/why-choose-discovery-insure

Pineapple

Description: This product allows people to insure their car via a mobile device, using their camera to snap a picture of the vehicle they drive. From there, a series of questions need to be answered before a premium is calculated for you. Pineapple takes a fixed fee, while the remaining 70 percent of premiums go into the user’s Pineapple Wallet for claims payment.

Best feature: Easy, transparent and rewarding – this product is completely paperless, with AI guiding the user journey.

Could improve on: Working via the app has proved frustrating for customers needing an urgent item replacement (say, a laptop stolen from their vehicle) – comments have included “too much back and forth communication” and “I need a replacement ASAP, not when the insurer feels like it”. Also, quite pricey in comparison to other insurers on the Hippo comparison tool. Unfortunately, you’ll get a 30 percent discount on your premium only if you drive fewer than 300km per month.

Something quirky: The name; their story includes “planting the seed” and “growing the fruit”.

Speed of getting a quote: More than five minutes; website/app got stuck about 60 percent of the way through the application.

Read more here: https://www.pineapple.co.za/

So, because there’s a lot to choose from out there, you must be sure to select the service provider likely to suit you best. And, when something goes wrong, your service provider should be on hand pretty much instantaneously to advise, solve problems and assist with logistics. You also wouldn’t want to be left behind, what with smart telematics (a range of hotshot digital monitoring systems for vehicles) changing the overall insurance playing field. 

Whatever product you choose, just remember that this choice is never set in stone and you should make enquiries via other service providers at least once a year, to ensure you are on the receiving end of the best features out there and that you’re not overpaying.

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