The South African Insurance Association has assured motorists that claims will not be compromised if they do not have the new credit-card drivers’ licence. But this could change if the law is altered.

The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) has assured motorists that claims will not be compromised if they do not have the new credit-card drivers’ licence.

But this position could change if the Department of Transport makes ID book drivers’ licences illegal. And there are plans to do this.

“The Department of Transport initially indicated that if a person had not converted their driver’s licence to the new credit card format by February 28, that person’s licence would be invalid, they would not be allowed to drive after this date and would be deemed to be on the road illegally,” said SAIA executive Caroline da Silva.

“This position raised questions about the validity of the old or underlying licence and since the insurance contract requires that a person hold a valid licence, there was a concern that insurance claims could be compromised.

“More recent statements from the Department of Transport, however, suggest that the validity of the old licence is not brought into question at all. The current law states that a person, firstly, has to have a licence and, secondly, has to produce that licence on request.

“At the moment that licence is endorsed in the ID book and a driver can be fined if they fail to produce their ID upon request. Failure to produce the ID does not impact in any way on the person’s right to drive,” she said.

Da Silva said the only change at the moment is that a person can be fined if they fail either to produce their licence and/or produce it in the wrong format. If this is the case it will be business as usual for insurers after the February 28 deadline.

However, minister of transport Dullah Omar’s spokesman said there were plans for a notice declaring ID book driver’s licences illegal from March 1 to be included in the Government Gazette. This will then change the position of insurance companies.

“Insurers do not wish to refuse claims but have an obligation to uphold the law if the law declares the licences to be invalid,” Da Silva said.

Original article from Car