South African insurers are warning motorists about a rise in car-jamming

Car-jamming continues to be an escalating safety concern for many South Africans, says Marius Steyn, underwriting manager at Santam.

Long term trends report a 58% increase in car-jacking since 2011. A large part of car-jacking can be attributed to the use of signal jamming devices, which is becoming more prevalent in leaving motorists vulnerable to theft, said Steyn.

He added that motorists often walk away from their cars while pressing their remote without ensuring that their vehicles are physically locked.

“Because of this behaviour, criminals are provided the opportunity to commit a crime like car-jamming,” he said.

“The lesson is to consistently check if cars are locked after pressing their remotes before walking away. ‘Stash it, don’t flash it’ is always the best principle – never leave valuables visible to passers-by in vehicles, but rather lock it away.”

The rise in car-jamming incidents also signals a caution to policyholders to not only take greater care when they park but to be mindful of their car insurance conditions when it comes to car-jamming, said Steyn.

“The best practice is to understand the conditions of your insurance policy. It also cannot be stressed enough that it is important to always check and double check that your car is secure and that you’ve stored your belongings away in a safe place,” said Steyn.

In the event you do fall victim to car-jamming, Steyn said that the following policy conditions usually apply for most policyholders:

  • In most cases, personal insurance policies covers the theft of insured property from a locked vehicle subject to the limitations and conditions of the policy;
  • To strengthen the success of the claims process, video footage from surrounding CCTV, would support. If it is, however, later proven that the vehicle was in fact not locked, the insurer has the right to reject the claim;
  • Some policies require that theft from any unattended vehicle is accompanied by forcible and violent entry or exit.

Read: South African hijackers are now using the ‘tap tap’ method – this is what you should look out for

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South African insurers are warning motorists about a rise in car-jamming