For many car owners, car insurance is about protecting yourself against terrible drivers on the road, unexpected accidents, and bad luck.

Few of us think about protecting our vehicles against natural disasters but it is something we should consider carefully.

Because while we may not mind our older model vehicles getting the odd scratch and dent, having to repair or replace a car because of a natural disaster can become very expensive.

From floods and sinkholes to earthquakes and wildfires, natural disasters occur all over the world, including in South Africa.

In fact, according to some sources, disasters are happening three times more often today, than in the 1970s and 1980s.

For car owners, this poses a threat because damage to their vehicles directly impacts their wallet. This is where good, comprehensive car insurance can help.

If you have a comprehensive car insurance taken out before disaster struck, then your insurer may be able to assist you to get back in the driver’s seat.

It all depends on exactly what your policy says, so read your policy documents in detail. This will help you to know what you can claim for and also, how to claim.

Things to remember about car insurance and natural disasters

  • While most banks insist on vehicle insurance before they finance a car, there may be a temptation to stop your car insurance once the car is paid up. But this is risky. Without insurance, in the event of a natural disaster, you will be solely responsible for the costs to repair the vehicle. And, if the car isn’t driveable, then you also lose the use of the vehicle and the money you spent buying it.
  • In case of a natural disaster, car owners will need money to pay for alternative transport while their vehicle is being repaired. This means that costs start to add up quickly. If insurance can help with taking care of one expense, it is smart to have.
  • In the case of a natural disaster, remember that you may have other expenses to manage at the same time including urgent medical care and in a worst-case scenario, funeral costs. Having a car insurance means that during a natural disaster you have one less thing to worry about.
  • And finally, don’t automatically expect that you will be able to get financial assistance from friends or family if your car is impacted in a natural disaster. You may not even be able to carpool because 65% of motorists are uninsured in South Africa. So, your circle may have their own costs to contend with as a result of a natural disaster.

But are there natural disasters in South Africa?

It is common knowledge that Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005 and terrible wildfires did the same in Australia in 2020. But does Mzansi have to worry about natural disasters?

Well, already in 2021, newspapers around the country have reported on vehicles being damaged in floods – in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and the Northern Cape.

Tropical Storm Eloise was so intense earlier this year that the Government declared it a National Disaster based on its impact in Northern KZN, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.

This follows on from heavy rains leading to flash flooding in parts of South Africa in 2020.

In July last year, Cape Town as the city was lashed by heavy rains and gale force wind in July.

Meanwhile the Council for Geoscience South Africa which tracks and monitors earthquakes across the country confirmed tremors in the Mother City and Johannesburg in 2020.

In addition, despite the efforts of the South African Weather Service to warn South Africans about hail conditions, motorists across the country have seen their vehicles damaged by hail stones.


It seems clear that wild weather is not limited to only certain parts of the world and that a necessary part of owning a vehicle is to make sure one is adequately insured.

Given how important reliable transport is to get to work, and to school, it is smart to protect your car against any surprises, including those dished out by Mother Nature.


Article credit:

flood in roads image