Insurance: What It Is, And Why It’s Important!


May 7, 2024
Team Pineapple

We’re currently at the height of normalisation.

Normalise going to the movies alone. Normalise living at home with your parents. Normalise cheating on your spouse.

Some things, we feel, have been too normalised.

For example, everyone’s heard of the word ‘insurance’ before, but do they know what it even means?

We never stop to ask ourselves what insurance actually is; all that we know is that we need it.

Simply put, insurance is a contract in which the policyholder pays a premium to the insurance company. The insurance provider offers coverage for various losses or damages that may occur unexpectedly.

And today, we will look at the different types of insurance in South Africa.

That’s right; it’s not just one thing but an umbrella term encompassing many different facets.  

These are life, car, house, and specified items insurance.

Tips for Getting the Best Deal on Insurance!

The types of insurance available in South Africa and how they can protect you.

Types of Insurance

Life insurance

Life insurance is a contract between an individual and an insurance company that provides a financial benefit to designated beneficiaries upon the insured person's death.

The individual pays premiums to the insurance company in exchange for a death benefit, a lump sum of money paid out to the beneficiaries when the insured person dies.

There are two main types of life insurance: term life insurance and whole life insurance.

Term life insurance covers a specified term, typically 10 to 30 years. The beneficiaries receive the death benefit if the insured person dies during the period.

The policy expires if the insured person does not die during the term and no benefit is paid.

On the other hand, whole life insurance covers the insured person's entire life and typically builds cash value over time.

Life insurance aims to provide financial security to the insured person's beneficiaries, helping to replace their lost income or to pay for expenses such as funeral costs and outstanding debts.

By buying a life insurance policy, individuals can guarantee that their loved ones will be cared for even if they are no longer there to provide for them.

Car insurance

Car insurance protects you against financial loss in an accident involving your vehicle. It covers damage to your car, third-party liability, and vehicle theft.

This insurance helps to mitigate the financial impact of an accident or loss, providing peace of mind and economic security for vehicle owners.

This can include vehicle repairs or replacement coverage and liability coverage for damage or injury to other people or property for the policyholder and passengers.

The main types of car insurance plans are:

  • Comprehensive car insurance: provides coverage for damage to your car from events other than a collision, like theft, fire, or natural disasters.

  • Third-party liability Insurance: provides minimum coverage protecting damage or injury you cause to another person or their property.

  • Third-party Fire and Theft: provides coverage for damage to a third party's property in the event of an accident and theft or fire damage to a driver's vehicle.

House insurance

Also known as homeowner's insurance, this type of insurance policy provides financial protection for homeowners.

This insurance protects your home and its contents.

A typical house insurance policy will cover losses from fire, theft, natural disasters (such as hurricanes or earthquakes), and other unexpected events.

Premiums are based on the value of the home, its contents, the location, and the risk of loss for the area.

Homeowners can choose the amount of coverage they want and select optional coverage for added protection.

The policy may also cover additional living expenses if the home becomes uninhabitable due to a covered event.

It also provides liability coverage if someone is injured on your property.

Several house insurance policies are available, each with specific coverage options. Some of the most common types of house insurance include:

  • Flood insurance - As the name suggests, flood insurance covers damage caused by flooding.

  • Earthquake insurance - This policy covers damage caused by earthquakes, which is also not typically covered by standard homeowner's insurance policies.

  • Comprehensive coverage - Would insurance even be insurance without a comprehensive option? It provides more extensive coverage, including protection against water damage, accidental damage, and liability.

  1. Specified Items insurance.

Also known as Personal Possessions Insurance, Specified Items insurance protects specific items such as jewellery, fine art, or other collectables.

Specified items are those with a value higher than the limit in your policy wording.

This insurance covers these items anywhere in the world, even in transit.

Specified Items insurance includes coverage for loss or damage due to various causes, such as theft, fire, natural disasters, etc.

This type of insurance benefits individuals who own high-value items that the standard homeowner's insurance policy might only partially cover.

With Specified Items insurance, as a policyholder, you can schedule each item you’d like to be insured.

This allows you to select the coverage limit for each item, ensuring they have the proper protection for your specific needs.

Like all other insurance types, Specified Items insurance provides peace of mind and financial protection. You know you can recover their total value in case of loss or damage.

Some of the most common types of specific items insurance include:

  • Musical instrument insurance: coverage for guitars, pianos, and drums against damage, loss, or theft.

  • Sports equipment insurance: coverage for golf clubs, skis, and bicycles, against damage, loss, or theft.

  • Electronics insurance: coverage for smartphones, laptops, and televisions, against damage, loss, or theft.

Ensuring that you have the right coverage for your specific needs is necessary.

Understanding The Different Insurance Policies

Explanation of policy coverage and limits

Life Insurance: The coverage of a life insurance policy is the amount of money the beneficiaries will receive upon the policyholder's death.

The policy coverage limit is the maximum amount the insurance company will pay out under the policy.

You should choose the policy coverage limit based on your financial needs and goals, like paying off a home loan/bond, providing for your family's living expenses, or funding a child's education.

Car insurance: policies offer coverage for different types of losses and damages that may occur due to a car accident.

Common types of coverage include liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage.

The policy coverage limits refer to the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for a covered claim.

For example, if you have a third-party liability coverage limit of R100 000.00, your insurance company will only pay up to R100 000.00 for damages or injuries you cause to others.

House insurance: Home insurance policies offer coverage for losses and damages that may occur to your home and its contents.

Some common types of coverage include dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, and liability coverage.

And like car insurance, the policy coverage limit refers to the maximum amount your insurance company will pay for a covered claim.

Specified items insurance: This policy protects against damages, losses, or theft of selected high-value items, like jewellery, artwork, or electronic equipment.

The insurance coverage protects your personal belongings when you are away from home.

Some policies may also offer coverage for items temporarily left in a vehicle, lost or damaged while stored in a hotel room or rental property.

Discussion of policy premiums and excess

Life Insurance: A life insurance policy requires the policyholder to pay regular premiums to keep the policy active and in place.

The policyholder's age, health, and coverage limit determine the premium amount.

Policies also have an excess, a fixed amount you are responsible for paying before your insurance coverage kicks in, in case of a claim.

Car insurance: The premium is the amount you pay your insurance company for coverage.

The cost of your premium is determined by several factors, including the type of coverage you choose, the age and make of your car, your driving record, and the location of the area where you live.

The excess is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in.

For example, if you have a R5000 excess and get into an accident that causes R50 000 worth of damage to your car, you would first pay the R5000, and your insurance company would pay the remaining R45 000.

And the higher your excess, the lower your premium will be.

House insurance: The premium is the amount you pay your insurance company for coverage, typically paid monthly.

And the excess is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. It is paid only when you lodge a claim before your insurance can pay.

Specified items insurance: Premiums vary depending on your possessions' value, location, and chosen coverage limits. Generally, the more coverage you require, your premiums will be higher.

Going for a higher excess can lower your premiums, but it also means that you will have to pay more out of pocket if you file a claim.

​​When insuring your items, be mindful of balancing the cost of premiums and deductibles against the value of your possessions and the potential risks you face.

Importance of reading and understanding insurance policies

Life Insurance: It is imperative for the policyholder to thoroughly read and understand the terms and conditions of their life insurance policy before signing.

Reading to understand the policy's coverage and limits helps you gain awareness of the premium and excess amounts and any exclusions or limitations that may apply.

Reviewing the policy regularly to ensure that it meets your financial needs and goals is also crucial.

Car insurance: Understanding your policy will help you make informed decisions about your coverage and also help you know what to expect if you ever need to file a claim.

Additionally, insurance policies can be complex, and you may need to know provisions or exclusions.

By reading and understanding your policy, you can ensure you have the coverage you need and avoid surprises when filing a claim.

House insurance: Your home insurance policy will outline the terms and conditions of your coverage, including what is covered and what is not.

The wording in your policy can be tricky; thus, you may need to be aware of any hidden provisions or exclusions.  

Understanding your policy can also help you identify gaps in your coverage and make changes to your policy as needed to ensure that you have the protection you need.

Specified items insurance: Understanding what is covered and what is not can help you decide what types and levels of insurance coverage to purchase.

For instance, if your policy has maximum coverage for a particular item or event, this is something you need to know.

Insurance policies also list exclusions or situations and events not covered by the policy.

Choosing the Right Insurance Policy

Explanation of how to assess insurance needs

Life insurance: Consider any future expenses, such as medical bills or funeral costs, your current income and expenses, and any future financial obligations, such as children's education or retirement.

Plus, any outstanding debts or liabilities, like a home or car loan, also play a part in determining your insurance needs.

Also important to remember is how much income would need to be replaced in the event of your untimely death to support your dependents.

Car insurance: The value of your car (its make, model, age, and additional features that need to be covered) will influence your decision.

Another factor to remember is your driving habits, including the time you drive and the types of roads you typically drive on.

On your insurance provider’s side, they will consider your personal situation, including your age, driving history, and credit score.

But you must remember why you wanted car insurance first; protection against potential risks, like accidents, theft, or damage from natural disasters.

House insurance: To assess your home insurance needs, keep the value of your home and its contents in mind.

Also important to remember is if there are any potential risks in your area, such as natural disasters or crime rates.

You should also consider any special coverage you may need, such as flood or earthquake insurance.

Specified items insurance: When considering insurance needs, it's important to evaluate what risks you are exposed to and what level of protection you need to mitigate them.

For example, getting these items insured becomes necessary if you own expensive valuables and would be even pricier to replace.

You never know when your possessions might be stolen or damaged, so preparing for these possibilities is better.

Discussion of budget and affordability

Life insurance: The value of human life cannot be quantified; it is simply priceless. And the cost of life insurance can be exceptionally high, and while having adequate coverage is essential, you want to maintain your financial security.

That’s why you need to look at how much you can afford to pay in monthly or yearly premiums and look for policies that suit your budget.

Car insurance: Ask yourself, “How much can I afford to pay in monthly premiums?” and look for policies that offer the right balance of coverage and cost.

Having adequate coverage to protect yourself and your vehicle is great, but you also want to ensure the cost fits within your budget.

House insurance: Before signing on any dotted line, you should take into account the cost of the premium and excess, plus any additional fees or endorsements.

You should also evaluate your ability to pay out of pocket for any damages your insurance might not cover.

Specified items insurance: You'll want to balance your coverage needs with your budget to find the right insurance policy to suit you.

When choosing insurance coverage, you must consider your budget and what you can afford to pay for insurance premiums.

Some insurance companies even offer discounts for bundling multiple policies or having certain safety features in your home or car, like a safe or a tracking device.

That’s why knowing about the insurance provider and their policies is good.

Importance of comparing insurance policies and companies

Life insurance: Comparing insurance policies and companies vital to find the right coverage at the best price.

Comparing policies lets you weigh your options and know other policies' different features and benefits.

Look for policies that meet your needs and provide adequate coverage, keeping the premiums, excess, and other exclusions in mind.

The financial stability and reputation of the insurance company, and any customer reviews or ratings, should also influence your decision.

By comparing policies and companies, you can make an informed decision and find the right life insurance policy.

Car insurance: Spending some time weeding through different insurance companies and policies will pay off in the long run.

Regularly comparing with different insurance companies can be used to your advantage; you can use this to negotiate a lower premium for your policy.

Plus, car insurance is no longer cut and dry; consider any discounts that may be available, like usage discounts and multi-car discounts.

House insurance: It’s essential to compare insurance policies and companies to ensure you get the best coverage for your needs at a reasonable price.

Factors like the coverage and its limits, excess, exclusions, customer reviews, and each company's financial strength and reputation should help you conclude your comparative journey.

Specified items insurance: The cheapest policy isn't always the best choice, so weigh the cost and benefits of each policy.

Shop around and compare insurance policies and companies to find the right coverage at the best price.

Compare coverage options, premiums and excess across the board and ensure you get the best deal possible.

You may even want to read reviews or consult with friends or family for their recommendations on insurance companies.  

Making a Claim on Your Insurance Policy

Explanation of the process of making a claim

Life insurance: The beneficiary must first notify the insurance company of the policyholder's death to claim from a life insurance policy.

Before any amount is paid, the beneficiary must provide the insurance company with a copy of the policyholder's death certificate.

Contact can be made by phone, email, or in writing.

After that, the insurance company will review the claim and determine whether it is valid.

Car Insurance: You should contact your insurance company immediately after an accident or other covered event and provide information about the accident or incident, including the date, time, location, and description of what happened.

You’ll need to provide documentation to support your claim, like photos of the damage, police reports, and witness statements.

House insurance: After a covered event, such as a fire, theft, or weather-related damage, you need to let your insurer know immediately.

The insurance company may also request information about the value of any damaged or lost items.

As the policyholder, you’ll need to provide documents to support your claim, i.e. photos of the damage, police reports, and receipts for any damaged or lost items.

Specified items insurance: The first thing to do is contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the covered event that resulted in the loss or damage of the specified item(s).

It’s a good idea to keep the receipts of your purchases to support your claim, such as proof of ownership and evidence of the item's value.

The receipts will inform the insurance company about the item(s), including their value and the circumstances surrounding the loss or damage.

Expectations during the Claims Process

Life insurance: After a life insurance claim is filed, the insurance company will usually assign a claims assessor to review the claim, ensuring that all the required documents have been provided.

The claims assessor may contact the beneficiary to request additional information or documents if needed.

Documents could be a post-mortem report (for accidental death), certificate and records from the treating hospital (for death due to illness) and an advance discharge form for the claim processing.

Once the claim has been reviewed and approved, the insurance company will issue a payment to the beneficiary.

The timing of the payment will depend on the insurance company's policies and procedures.

Car Insurance: In case of a claim, your insurance provider will assign an accessor to review the claim and determine whether it is covered under the policy.

The assessor might contact you, as the policyholder, or other parties involved in the accident to gather more information.

They must also inspect the damage and determine the claim amount based on the policy terms and any applicable excess amounts.

Once approved, the insurance company will pay you or any third parties involved in the claim.

House insurance: An assessor will be appointed to review your claim.

The assessor will determine the amount of the claim based on the policy terms and any applicable excess and may even contact other parties involved to gather more information and inspect the damage.

Once approved, the insurance company will pay you or any other parties involved in the claim.

Specified items insurance: An assessor will assist in validating your claim by reviewing the claim, determining whether the incident is covered, and may also contact you and a third party involved in the claim to inspect the damage or loss.

The assessor will also determine the amount based on the policy terms and any excess applicable.

The insurance company will pay you for the lost or damaged item(s) value if the claim is approved.

Importance of Being Prepared

Life insurance: When making a life insurance claim, be prepared by having all necessary documentation in order.

Being prepared can help to expedite the claims process and ensure that the beneficiary receives the payment as quickly as possible.

It's also essential to understand the terms and conditions of the policy and any exclusions that may apply.

Most importantly, choose a reputable and financially stable insurance company known for paying out claims promptly and efficiently.

Car Insurance: It's essential to be prepared with the necessary information, including the policy number, contact information for any other parties involved in the accident, and documents of any injuries or property damage.

Additionally, you must notify the insurance company immediately of a covered event to ensure the claims process can begin promptly.

House insurance: The damage to your property should be communicated because poor communication usually delays the claiming process.

Keep all the necessary documents and other information available so that your claim can be investigated swiftly.

It's also essential to notify the insurance company immediately after a covered event to ensure the claims process can begin promptly.

Specified items insurance: Have the policy number, contact information for any parties involved in the claim, and receipts of the value and ownership of the item(s).

Make the insurance company aware after the covered event as soon as possible to ensure the claims process can begin promptly.

And to avoid any unnecessary stress and unease, go with a reputable insurance company known for paying out claims efficiently.


Normalise making your life 10x easier by ensuring you understand what you’re getting into when dealing with any type of insurance.

Insurance generally doesn’t stray too far from the established formula; you pay a premium, and your elected insurance company protects you.

Insurance is a worthwhile investment, whether life cover, car insurance, protection for your house or taking care of your valuables.

Understanding insurance policies and choosing the right insurance policy is crucial in protecting your assets and ensuring that you are adequately covered in an unexpected loss.

Nothing beats the peace of mind that you are protected from unpredictable events.

However, there are particulars to consider, like exclusions and limitations, added benefits and the insurance company’s overall reputation.

To ensure that you are making informed decisions about your insurance coverage, it’s important to understand the coverage and limits of your policy and the premium and deductible amounts.

Assessing your insurance needs and considering your budget is crucial when selecting an insurance policy.

Furthermore, compare insurance policies and companies to ensure you get the best coverage for your money.

If you need to make a claim, it’s essential to be prepared and understand the process of making a claim, as well as what to expect during the claims process.

By taking these steps, you can have peace of mind knowing that you are adequately protected and prepared.

Normalise that!

Ready to secure that peace of mind and ensure you're getting the best deal? Don't wait for the unexpected to happen. Get your personalized insurance quote today and take the first step towards comprehensive protection and ultimate peace of mind. Click here to get started!

Pineapple (FSP 48650) is underwritten by Old Mutual Alternative Risk Transfer Insure Limited, a licensed Non-Life Insurer and authorised FSP. T&Cs apply. Premium is risk profile dependent.

Team Pineapple

Team Pineapple comprises our company’s top talents, who are dedicated to creating clear, high-quality content on essential vehicle insurance topics. This diverse group, including actuaries, accountants, data scientists, and insurance professionals across South Africa, collaborates to produce enlightening and empowering articles.

Each piece is thoroughly researched, factually accurate, and rigorously reviewed to ensure quality.

*We say they’re the finest because we want them to keep writing for us!

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Please Note: The information provided above is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as legal or financial advice.

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