As consumers around the country contemplate to renew their vehicle insurance policies with the start of the New Year, the Consumer Council of Fiji is urging vehicle owners to get a valuation done.
In Fiji, it’s a common practice amongst vehicle owners to insure their vehicle at a buying price or by dropping few hundred dollars without proper valuation with the view that if an accident occurs, they will not go out of pocket.
This thinking is not right when the insurance company will only pay the market rate and not the sum insured without valuation.
Vehicle owners should consider using the vehicle valuation services provided by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) to establish the correct market value of their vehicle before getting the insurance cover.
LTA provides vehicle valuation service at a fee of $17 per vehicleand all vehicle owners are encouraged to pay and get their vehicle valuated before taking out insurance coverage.
The Council’s call comes in light of a recent case where a vehicle owner had insured his vehicle for $18,000 with a well-known insurance company.
He was involved in an accident where he was not only injured but his vehicle was badly damaged. The insurance company happily offered the vehicle owner a write-off amount of $3,050.
The vehicle owner was very disappointed at the pay-out amount. The explanation given by his insurance company was that the vehicle was over-valuedat the time insurance policy was finalised.
The primary question asked by the vehicle owner was why was the insurance company paying him only $3,050 when his policy was worth $18,000, and, if his vehicle was indeed over-valued as claimed by the insurer – why didn’t the insurance company raise an alarm then when the policy was purchased and premium amount was discussed and paid.
Many consumers may be caught in such situations where they may have insured their property for a substantial amount without proper valuation.
Consumers should shop around for insurance companies to get a good deal and proper coverage and service for you.
Also, when insuring your motor vehicle, it is important that you disclose all information that may affect the acceptance of the insurance.
Ms. Premila Kumar
CEO – Consumer Council of Fiji