Road fatalities in South Africa, especially over Easter and December, continue to be among the highest in the world, with some regarding it as a national crisis.
For many, the holidays end in tragedy as the dangers on South Africa’s roads are heightened. While last December saw a decrease in road deaths (down to 1 527 from 1 714 the previous year), this year’s Easter holidays saw 510 people dying on our roads, which is a 14% increase from last year’s figure of 449.
The risk of travel during the holiday season is a reality that all South Africans face. For this reason, it is important to consider what will happen to your family if you are involved in a fatal accident over the festive season.
“Road accidents are just that – accidents. They are beyond our control,” says Sonja Visser, the CEO of long-term insurance provider African Unity Life (AUL).
“While you can take all the steps necessary to reduce your risk having an accident, such as avoiding alcohol when you are going to be driving, and staying under the speed limit, you can’t be sure that everyone else on the road is doing the same. Sometimes, things just go wrong, no matter how careful you are.”
Thousands of South Africans will be making use of minibus taxis for their Christmas journey in December. They will embark on long distance trips to other provinces, most notably to and from Gauteng and the Western Cape.
“While such road users are at risk, and this means that their families are also at risk of losing a breadwinner or household contributor, the protection of life insurance has traditionally been seen as unaffordable to this market. For this reason, AUL have pioneered a new type of travel insurance that protects cash-strapped travellers against accidental death,” says Visser.
AUL, in partnership with travel market justGO, launched an innovative insurance solution tailored specifically to the needs of price-conscious travellers, regardless of their preferred mode of transport. It costs the traveller as little as R12, which is a once-off payment, that covers them for an amount of R30 000 for a continuous period of 30 days from the first minute on the first day of travel.
“You’ll be covered for any kind of travel, including taxi, bus, train and airplane over the insured period. If you want to extend the cover beyond 30 days, you can buy it again, or you can take it out for 12 months continuously,” says Visser
“This makes a huge difference to low-income families for whom road dangers present the terrifying possibility that the life of a loved one could be lost, and that they could find themselves in a terrible financial situation,” she concludes.