With an average of 2.26 protests per day over 7 years – for anything from labour issues to municipal services, corruption and governance – South Africans are no strangers to protests and riots.
While 62% of protests are peaceful, recent protest action in various parts of the country erupted in violence and malicious damage to property, with reports of one uninsured car dealership losing 32 vehicles in a fire. Auto & General urges South Africans to be vigilant in safeguarding themselves and their possessions, as well as having adequate cover against civil unrest in place.
“Because of the unpredictable and often chaotic nature of these incidents, both private and public property can suffer expensive damage,” says Ricardo Coetzee, Head of Auto & General Insurance. “It is for this reason that we encourage people to ensure that Sasria cover is included in their insurance policies so that they are covered should the matter affect them personally. If they’re not properly covered, their insurance company might reject claims for damage or loss incurred during a strike, civil unrest or protest.”
SASRIA, which stands for ‘The South African Special Risks Insurance Association’, is a state-owned entity that provides cover for loss or damage to insured property as a direct result of civil unrest, including rioting, strike action and public disorder. Sasria is the only insurer in South Africa that provides cover for any damage caused during these kinds of incidents.
“At Auto & General, Sasria is automatically included in your car insurance policy, if your vehicle is currently financed, and you tell us this during the underwriting stage of your policy. After the vehicle has been paid off, your Sasria cover will continue as long as your insurance policy does,” says Coetzee.
He goes on to urge car owners to check with their insurance companies that Sasria cover is, in fact, included on their premiums. “If your car isn’t financed at the time of taking the policy, or if you’re insuring your house or home contents, then Sasria cover is optional, and won’t be automatically included.”
Auto & General also provides the following advice to safeguard yourself, your loved ones and your possessions in times of civil unrest:
– SOS on speed dial: Make sure that you have the numbers of all emergency services – including community protection services – on hand.
– Layers of protection: Make sure that panic buttons, alarm systems, security doors, burglar bars, electric fences, CCTV systems etc. are all in place and working. Fortify your security measures if possible.
– Emergency equipment: Make sure that safety equipment like fire extinguishers is in place and working.
– Plan: Have an emergency plan, including an evacuation route in place for when unrest spreads to your area and make sure that all those close to you know how to follow it.
– Tuned in: Keep an eye on the news to stay informed about civil unrest hotspots and avoid them at all costs.
– Caught on the road: If you are in your vehicle during civil unrest, keep your car moving and try to avoid the crowd. If this isn’t possible and you see that your vehicle will be caught up in the unrest, park and lock it and make an escape to a place of safety if you can. If you can’t, it’s best to stay in your car, lock it, remain calm and not show any signs of hostility or anger. Never attempt to drive through a crowd of protesters. Alert authorities as soon as possible.
Click here for more information about Sasria cover.