Your next steps after the worst thing happens
Let’s talk about the unfortunate realities. What are they? Well, if you live in South Africa and drive a car… You probably know how many vehicles are stolen every year. Even from the most secure place. Yes, it’s not even completely safe inside your own garage, inside your secure complex, behind your state of the art security system. Your car can be stolen from anywhere. Your car can be stolen anytime.
The bad news about your insurance policy
The worst news? Your insurance policy usually only covers the actual car itself. Smash-and-grabs, car theft, and hijackings, this is a reality in our country. A reality that is hard to avoid. It sobers your excitement of owning a car. That’s why getting the right car insurance is vital.
Finding a policy that suits you is hard. This can be a very daunting experience. You could end up choosing the wrong one. You may be overwhelmed by all the options out there. You’ll only realise this when it’s time to claim. You need to fully understand what your policy covers.
You need more than car insurance
Your car might be covered. There’s one thing many drivers forget to check. What else is lost when your car is stolen? Your personal belongings that were in your car. Your favourite handbag. Your gym gear. Your kids’ favourite music collection. Your spouse’s extra set of shoes. All of these items will also need to be replaced, not just your car. Your insurance policy might not cover these belongings. TheftBuster Plus does.
Are hijackings inevitable?
Of course not. Yes, South African hijacking statistics are high. They don’t, however, say everyone gets hijacked. Hijackings are an unfortunate event that can happen, anywhere and at any time. Sometimes, hijackings can be avoided. Sometimes, it’s going to happen. There are ways to lower your risk of a hijacking.
Where are the hijacking hotspots?
The truth is, hijackings take place anytime and anywhere. Luckily, like everything else, hijackers have a routine. They always take advantage of vulnerable moments. So, when and where are you most vulnerable? Let’s look at Police Minister Bheki Cele’s latest crime statistics. They were released in August 2021. These are South Africa’s hijacking hotspots:
- Philippi East (Western Cape) – 78 reported
- Sandton (Gauteng) – 68 reported
- Nyanga (Western Cape) – 67 reported
- Harare (Western Cape) – 62 reported
- Kempton Park (Gauteng) – 58 reported
- Tembisa (Gauteng) – 57 reported
- Olievenhoutbosch (Gauteng) – 57 reported
- Midrand (Gauteng) – 55 reported
- Umlazi (KwaZulu-Natal) – 52 reported
- Delft (Western Cape) – 52 reported
These hijacking spots are just places with high numbers. Let’s get real: hijackings happen. Every day. Everywhere. For example:
1.Driveways: Topping the hotspot list: your driveway. Often, this is because your driveway is a predictable, easy to spot space for criminals. And, as you pull into your home, your guard is often down. Criminals, however, are ready to pounce.
The Solution: Do not take the same route home every day. Switch up the times you leave home, return home, and travel for your regular errands. If possible, try arriving at different times. Making your daily travel unpredictable will help. We never know who is watching. We never know for what reason. It is important to always stay vigilant. Rid yourself of distractions when nearing your destination. Call ahead if you have people at home. Criminals are less likely to attack in this case. Also, do not give them hiding places. Make sure your driveway is cleared of anything criminals can easily hide in.
2.Outside your children’s school: When you drop your children off at school, or arrive to pick them up, be on guard. Children and the surroundings can be distracting. You are usually preoccupied with different things. This makes you less aware of your surroundings. Criminals have found a way to use this against you. By taking the opportunity to hijack your car.
The Solution: Do not assume that you’re completely safe. In a public place, you’re never really safe. People are desperate and have become increasingly daring. Criminals won’t hesitate to target anyone who’s vulnerable. Do not linger. Pick up your children and head straight home. If possible, park your car in a safe parking zone that is monitored by security. Or, if there’s a pickup lane, make sure you’re constantly aware of your surroundings.
3.Petrol stations: An unexpected hotspot is petrol stations. Sitting and waiting makes motorists easy targets. Petrol attendants are just as much a victim as you. You’re focused on fuelling up, while criminals are focused on how to hijack your car.
The Solution: Keep your windows closed. Make sure there are no visible possessions lying around your car. Always stay aware of your surroundings. And yes, your petrol attendant is too.
4.Traffic signs or intersections: You should always be vigilant while driving. Moreso when you are stationary. Even in broad daylight, when you think it’s safe. Criminals have become very brave. You can get hijacked while everyone is watching. Hijackings can take place right in the middle of peak traffic. Focus on your driving, your surroundings. Always leave enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, to make a quick escape.
The Solution: Always take note of the cars around you. Make sure your windows are closed at all times. Be ready to drive off at any sign of danger. Red traffic light at night? Slow down to only reach the green light.
Criminals will always find smarter ways to get you. Two of the most common tricks are:
1.Pretending to be law enforcement: You might see blue lights flashing and stop. This is the law. Criminals use this law to their advantage. Always ask for identification before opening your window.
The Solution: If you are stopped and unsure, flash your emergency lights. Signal for them to follow you. Only stop when you reach a police station.
2.The test drive method: When you are selling your car, be careful who might con you. You can never really know who is legit. A potential buyer could also be a hijacker.
The Solution: Always get your potential buyer’s information. Ask for down payment, before a test drive. Or, refuse one entirely. This way, you know they are serious. To be extra cautious, rather consult a car dealership to help you sell your vehicle. This could save you money, your car, and your life.
The hidden costs of a hijacked or stolen vehicle.
Maybe the costs aren’t hidden. You just have not taken them into consideration. It could be your personal belongings. It could be important documents. Many things can be lost when your car is hijacked. These might seem insignificant, at first. As time goes by, however, the losses start to add up. They start to inconvenience your everyday life. You could be lucky enough to have your car returned. You may not be as lucky with your personal belongings.
What are other extra costs to consider?
The loss and costs are plenty. They can set you and your budget off. You need to be covered for all of them.
We all like to think we are strong. As strong as we might be, traumatic events take a toll on you. Hijackings are so dangerous. Hijackings can be categorised as near death experiences. Getting counselling is not cheap. The extra cost is an unexpected burden. TheftBuster Plus understands this. This is why it is covered under your policy.
Damages to your car lock
Attempted hijackings and smash-and-grab incidents could cost you big too. You could find that they started with the lock. This will leave your car damaged. The extra cost to fix this falls on you. It shouldn’t. Losing your possessions is bad enough. Get a policy that saves you from these costs. Like the Theftbuster Plus policy. This covers you for all the little inconveniences that may arise from an unfortunate incident.
A smash-and-grab can leave you shattered, and your window too. Replacing your windows will not be cheap. How do you protect your wallet? With Theftbuster Plus.
Nobody likes to be stranded. A hijacking will leave you without transportation. You do not need the further inconvenience. Replacing it might take time. We’ve got your back by providing car hire. When you need a temporary replacement vehicle, that cost is covered by your TheftBuster Plus policy.
Losing important documents is inconvenient. You are left unable to do important tasks. Added to that is the cost of replacing them. It could be your driver’s licence. It could be your passport. It could be children’s birth certificates. It could be your bank cards, and the contents of your wallet. Theftbuster Plus covers the unexpected costs, so your budget isn’t affected.
Keys and remotes
Losing your car is very tragic. Being unable to enter your house after? That makes things much worse. Keys could be lost during a hijacking. Replacing them is the pits. We get someone to do it for you. TheftBuster Plus covers the costs associated with replacing your keys and remotes.
Life is a mess without a cell phone. Especially after an incident like a hijacking. Replacing it will take time. It will also be very costly. If your cellphone is not recovered. TheftBuster Plus has you covered.
Personal electronic devices
We live in a digital world. Cellphones aren’t the only devices we use daily. Personal electronic devices lost as a result of a hijacking? Your laptop, your tablet, your Kindle? We cover those too.
Handbags aren’t just cute. They are also very expensive. They are also the first thing criminals go for. Recovering them is impossible. That is why we have them covered. We give you cash to replace your handbag.
Theftbuster Plus goes the extra mile.
The safety of your possessions is always at risk. There is always a chance of damage and loss. Especially from a Hijacking. TheftBuster Plus has you covered. If your vehicle is recovered we cover you for:
- Damage to vehicle interior: You could be lucky and have your vehicle recovered. It might not come back in good condition. There may be damage to your interior. We go as far as covering that too.
- Damage to vehicle exterior: If you manage to escape a hijacking or recover your car, your car might get a few dings. We help you cover the costs of exterior damages.
- Mechanical Damage: Criminals aren’t the most careful drivers. Your recovered vehicle will have mechanical damage. TheftBuster Plus helps to repair those damages.
- Interior and exterior valet: Our policies wash away all the stress. The interior and exterior of your car needs a valet service. We cover the costs of a valet service to get it cleaned.
- Crime scene vehicle clean up: Recovering your vehicle might not go smoothly. There could be an accident. There could even be a shoot out. Cleaning it all up shouldn’t be your burden. That is why Theftbuster Plus has you covered.
What to do if your car has been stolen.
If your car is hijacked or stolen, report it to the SAPS immediately . Write down all of the details for the police officer. Assist by letting them know important details. These details may include:
- The colour of your car.
- The make and model (including all body features like stickers and dents),
- The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and registration number.
- Any significant additions to your car, including personalised stickers or other unique characteristics.
- A list of any items that were in your car when it was stolen or hijacked.
- If your vehicle is fitted with a tracking device, and who it is registered with.
If you can, try to memorise any details about your hijackers. What they were wearing, the car they were in: these are all small details that may help track them down.
Your life is more important than a car. If you find yourself in a hijacking situation:
- Don’t be a hero. Simply hand over your car keys and get yourself to safety.
- Don’t lose your temper, threaten, or challenge your hijacker.
- Make sure your hands are visible at all times.
- Simply follow their instructions and get to safety.
Losing your car is horrible. Losing your car should not be made worse by further loss. Don’t bear trauma and costs alone. Your policy should keep all aspects covered. That is what TheftBuster Plus does. It protects you from further loss.
ArriveAlive.co.za. Hijack Prevention Guidelines. Available at: https://www.arrivealive.mobi/hijack-prevention-guidelines [Accessed 06 December 2021].
Bluesecurity.co.za 2020. Hijacking Hotspots: Three Places You Should Practice Extra Caution. Available at: https://www.bluesecurity.co.za/hijacking-hotspots/ [Accessed 06 December 2021].
Citizen.co.za. 2021. South Africa’s hijacking hotspots revealed. Available at:https://www.citizen.co.za/news/south-africa/crime/2596851/south-africa-hijacking-hotspots-august-2021/ [Accessed 06 December 2021].
News24.com. 2018. SA motorists at risk: Here’s how to avoid becoming a hijack victim. Available at: https://www.news24.com/wheels/news/guides_and_lists/sa-motorists-at-risk-heres-how-to-avoid-becoming-a-hijack-victim-20180823 [Accessed 06 December 2021].