The Danger Of Settling For Cheap Car Insurance


May 20, 2024
Mathapelo Mosia

Cheap car insurance could be costlier than you think

People have this impression that owning a car means a person has “made it” in life. 

And rightfully so, purchasing a vehicle is a huge milestone, especially in South Africa, where only about a third of South African households own a car.

But many motorists will tell you that buying a car is only the tip of the iceberg.

Owning a car comes with new responsibilities like fretting over petrol prices and worrying about service fees and car insurance to top it off.

For many people, choosing a cheaper car insurance policy is a way to stretch their budget and make ends meet.

However, remember that cheap car insurance will come with trade-offs, such as reduced coverage or a lower quality of service. 

Therefore, it's crucial to consider the risks and limitations of cheaper insurance policies before deciding to go all in.

The Risks of Choosing Cheap Car Insurance: Is It Really Worth It?

South Africa’s economic climate has been challenging in recent years, with high unemployment and rising inflation. 

Cheap car insurance appeals to many people due to the high cost of living and the desire to save money wherever possible.

But there are a few things in life that you simply should not skimp on, and car insurance is on that list.

Lack of Coverage

Cheap car insurance policies often have limited coverage.

Don’t be fooled; cheap car insurance policies are cheap for a reason.

The coverage is often limited because the insurance company is trying to offer a lower price to suit the lesser policy.

To keep costs down, the insurance provider only covers the bare minimum or will provide limited coverage for certain aspects of the insurance policy.

So, for instance, a cheap car insurance policy may not provide sufficient protection against damages to your vehicle. 

Although you might be insured, events like vandalism may not be a part of your cover, which means you’ll have to pay out of your pocket for damages of this kind.

Or, the policy might have a high excess, resulting in a low premium. You’ll be stuck having to pay a large portion of any repairs or replacement costs.

But wait, there’s more. 

Common exclusions in cheap policies.

Many cheap policies have limitations on the amount they will pay out in the event of a total loss or write-off of your vehicle.

Common exclusions include coverage for custom parts or upgrades, personal belongings in the car, and damage caused by natural disasters like earthquakes or floods.

Most cheap car insurance doesn’t cover medical expenses or liability coverage if you are involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. 

Understanding what is covered in a car insurance policy.

Lastly, if you’re considering getting a cheaper car insurance policy, you might want to carefully revise these exclusions and limitations. 

Understanding what is and isn’t covered is crucial because it allows you to decide the level of protection you need.

Additionally, having a good understanding of your policy will help you avoid unexpected expenses in the event of an accident.

You might find it’s worth paying a little more for a policy that provides more comprehensive coverage in the long run. This insurance policy protects you and your vehicle in an accident or other incident. 

Poor Customer Service

Cheap car insurance companies often have limited resources.

With limited cover comes limited resources. 

Cheap car insurance companies often have more limited resources than larger insurance providers. 

As a result, these companies don’t have the resources to provide the same level of coverage, support, or customer service as the more established companies. 

Furthermore, they may have a minor claims department with less experienced staff. This can lead to a slower turnaround time and less satisfactory claims resolution.

The challenges of dealing with customer service for cheap car insurance.

Nothing is more frustrating than having to deal with a lengthy claims process, and if you opt for a cheaper insurance company, that may very well be your reality.

Cheap insurance companies typically have less experience and fewer resources to handle claims quickly and efficiently, leading to longer wait times for customers trying to get answers or resolve issues. 

You might also face frustration when speaking with representatives who are not well-trained or equipped to handle your concerns.

Considering customer service when choosing car insurance.

Additionally, companies with little to no reputation and familiarity offer cheaper car insurance policies. 

These companies pose a risk because you don’t know the complexity of your claim. 

Therefore it's vital to consider customer service when choosing car insurance; it can be a critical factor in the overall experience of working with the insurance provider.

Good customer service can make the process smoother and less stressful when you have a claim or an issue that needs to be resolved on time.

On the other hand, poor customer service can lead to lengthy wait times and a less satisfactory resolution of your claim.

So, before you make that commitment, compare insurance options.

It's essential to consider factors like response times, the quality of support you can receive, and the level of expertise of the insurance company's staff.

Financial Stability of the Insurance Company

Cheap car insurance companies may be financially unstable.

Cheap car insurance companies might not always be the best option, given how financially unstable they usually are. One reason is that they may need more financial resources to pay claims. 

This can occur if the company underprices its policies or has a high volume of claims relative to the premiums it collects. 

Should this be the case, it can result in the company running a deficit and becoming insolvent, unable to pay claims to policyholders.

Another reason for financial instability is that these companies don’t always have a solid financial foundation. 

Many companies that offer lower-priced policies are new to the market, have limited assets, or have limited diversification in their business portfolio, making them more vulnerable to financial shocks.

Additionally, other cheap insurance providers may engage in risky business practices (aggressive investment strategies or excessive spending on advertising and marketing), which can drain their financial resources and leave them unable to pay claims.

Other financial difficulties include high claims costs, poor underwriting practices, and mismanagement, which can result in the insurance company being unable to pay out claims or meet its financial obligations.

The risks of choosing a company that may not be able to pay claims.

Choosing a company that cannot pay claims is a major risk that can have significant financial consequences. 

If your insurance company cannot pay out a claim, it could result in a significant loss of money and time for you as the policyholder.

Several factors can increase the risk of a company not being able to pay out on a claim, including:

  • Financial stability. A company's financial stability is a crucial indicator of its ability to pay claims. 

Companies facing financial difficulties or having a history of financial problems may not have the resources to pay out claims.

  • Regulatory oversight. Companies must adhere to strict regulations, and those that don’t may be at risk of insolvency. 

  • Claims experience. The claims experience is another critical factor to consider. A company with numerous claims or a history of denying claims may be less likely to pay out on a claim.

Careful research of a company before purchasing insurance from them is imperative. Consider these factors when evaluating the risk of a company being unable to pay claims. 

The importance of researching the financial stability of insurance companies before choosing.

Researching insurance companies' financial stability is crucial because it helps to determine the company's ability to pay claims.

A financially stable company is more likely to have the resources to pay out claims when needed, which is a key factor in choosing insurance coverage.

By choosing a financially stable insurance company, you can protect your assets and reduce the risk of losing money if a claim is made.

If an insurance company becomes insolvent, it may not have the resources to pay out on claims, which can result in financial losses for policyholders. 

By researching insurance companies' financial stability, you can avoid this risk and ensure you are protected.

Nothing beats knowing that you have chosen a financially stable insurance company that can give you peace of mind. 

You know you are protected against financial loss if a claim is made.

A financially stable insurance company is more likely to continue providing coverage even in the face of unexpected events, like natural disasters or economic instability.

When researching insurance companies' financial stability, you can look at factors such as their financial ratings from agencies such as Moody's and their financial statements and recent financial performance.

Researching insurance companies' financial stability is vital for protecting your assets, ensuring coverage, and providing peace of mind.

Hidden Costs

Explanation of how cheap car insurance policies may have hidden costs.

Cheap car insurance policies can often come with hidden costs that can make them more expensive in the long run. 

Here are some of the hidden costs associated with cheap car insurance policies.

  • Low coverage limits - Cheap car insurance policies often have lower coverage limits, meaning policyholders are at risk of paying out of pocket for damages or injuries that exceed the coverage limit. 

This can result in significant financial losses in the event of an accident.

  • Excess - Affordable car insurance policies are this way because they have higher excess amounts. A high excess is an out-of-pocket expense a policyholder must pay before insurance kicks in. 

This means that you may have to pay more upfront in the event of a claim.

  • Limited coverage options - You may not have good coverage options, such as liability coverage or uninsured motorist coverage. This can leave policyholders unprotected in certain situations.

  • Reduced customer service - Cheap car insurance policies also come with customer service that leaves much to be desired. This makes it challenging to get the support you need in case of a claim or other issue.

  • Hidden fees - Some cheap car insurance policies may have hidden fees, such as administrative fees or fees for adding or removing drivers, which can add up over time and increase the policy's overall cost.

Therefore it's crucial to know the potential hidden costs associated with a cheap car insurance policy.

Knowing what the coverage is and which services are included aids you in getting a clearer understanding of what you’re signing up for.

While a cheap policy may seem like a good idea, it's essential to consider the long-term costs and whether it meets your needs.


Regarding car insurance, weighing the costs against the benefits is essential.

Don’t let rising costs and a high standard of living scare you into compromising your insurance coverage.

You might think you’re getting a good deal with cheaper insurance, but it could be more expensive in the long run. 

The key is considering all factors, including coverage, exclusions, and customer service.

A cheaper policy comes with limited coverage and a lower quality of service. You may find that it's worth paying a little more for a policy that provides more comprehensive protection. 

It's important to compare insurance options, understand what is and isn't covered, and make an informed decision.

Remember, good customer service can make the process smoother and less stressful when you have a claim, while poor customer service can lead to frustration and a less satisfactory resolution.

Now, for the best of the best (we're obviously talking about ourselves), get a quote!

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.

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

Mathapelo Mosia

Mathapelo, Pineapple's Junior Copywriter, has a diverse background, including roles like Leaflet Distributor, Bridal Stylist, and Junior Sales Activation Officer. Her love for literature was sparked in grade 5 by a teacher's challenge involving books and chocolate. Though the prize was never received, she developed a passion for reading and writing.

Get an Obligation-free Car Insurance Quote Online From Pineapple

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.


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

Give us a follow

We post a lot of nonsense. Some of it’s even about insurance. Give us a follow. There’s a 43% chance you might actually enjoy yourself.