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What Risks Do Couriers in South Africa Face?

Thinking of becoming a courier? Find out what the risks are. If you own a courier business, you can also learn how to ensure your courier business is safe from common perils in South Africa.

Couriers in South Africa face many risks. These risks vary depending on some of the below factors. If you’re a courier driver or courier business owner, you can ensure your risks are covered by attending to the most relevant risks related to your business and activities.

Which Factors Influence the Risks Couriers in South Africa May Face?

1. Type of Vehicle.

Statistically, motorcycle courier drivers in busy areas are at a higher risk of accidental injuries. Most often, motorcyclists are hit by other drivers who are drinking and driving or driving recklessly. This means the risk for third-party liability is lower for them, but the risk for accidental injury is higher.

2. Transit Times.

Drivers who spend long hours on the road are more likely to get exhausted and cause accidents. The connection between driver exhaustion and their driving capacity is a well-known medical fact. Drivers should be taking breaks at least every 2 hours.

In one study, they observed increases in speeding and “hypo vigilance” (paying less attention). In the USA and UK, there are limits to how long a driver may be on the road to reduce the number of fatigue-related accidents. A courier company owner can implement similar restrictions and enforced breaks to reduce their risks of liability and legal expenses, medical costs, and insurance claims.

3. What You’re Transporting.

Transit insurance can take many forms because it can cover a wide range of risks. Companies that courier products will need different cover than those that courier passengers, for example. Companies that move substantial amounts of stock may be at a greater risk of hi-jacking and theft compared to a motorcycle driver.

It is important to ensure that the haulage insurance you choose gives ideal transit cover for the items being moved.

4. Type of Contract / Benefits.

In South Africa, many courier drivers are hired on a contract basis and offered little or no insurance coverage. The risks you face can depend heavily on the e-hailing service you work for if you are a courier driver. Drivers for Dawn Wing, for example, may get benefits and coverage that differs greatly from drivers for Uber.

As a courier business owner, it is important not to just go for the cheapest option when considering courier cover for your drivers and vehicles. Consider the detailed risks you may observe, and which policies would best mitigate these risks. Your end-goal should be happy employees or contractors that deliver excellent work and are protected from the risks the work may expose them to.

Unfortunately, it is purported that some delivery companies are not leading the way in this regard. That is why, as a driver, it will be important to read the fine print when it comes to the cover you can get in the insurance the company you work for provides. Not all insurance providers are the same. Sometimes there are gaps in the minimum level of cover you get that could have dire consequences for you personally.

What Are the Top Risks for Couriers in South Africa?

1. Road Accidents

According to the Thompson Reuters foundation, the top risk that couriers face is accidental injury. There are other risks related to road accidents to consider as well, such as legal costs for public liability. This is applicable if a member of the public gets injured in an accident where your driver is held responsible.

A simple example would be a driver driving a customer to the airport but causing an accident due to exhaustion or a lapse in attention. If you do not have public liability insurance in this case, the passenger could sue both the driver and the courier company.

2. Medical Bills and Debt

The second risk is related to the first. Since many couriers do not have the right insurance policy, the delivery driver will often end up having to foot the bill for medical costs. It is reported that many courier drivers are in debt as a result. These costs could rest on the shoulders of the employer, depending on the agreements between the driver and the courier company.

3. Inadequate Insurance Coverage

Since many courier drivers are hired on a contract basis, they often end up with inadequate insurance coverage or the wrong type of policy for their specific situation. South Africa boasts a large variety of insurance policy types designed to cover the unique risks of many situations. For example, you can get courier van insurance, and motorcycle courier insurance as separate policies.

Many e-hailing companies and courier companies only offer a minimum level of cover. The courier insurance cost is therefore a risk if the driver needs to purchase their own additional cover.

In cases where the company employs the driver, the wrong types of insurance cover could result in the company having to cover medical expenses and legal expenses, even though they have a form of insurance for couriers. Comprehensive cover and an affordable insurance premium are both essential to avoid extra costs.

How to Address These Risks

The easiest way to address the above risks is to ensure you have the correct commercial auto insurance for your situation. If you are a driver, you can make sure the policy your employer or e-hailing service gives you offers enough cover. If you are unsure about that, you can fill in the form at the top of this page and get a courier insurance quote.

If you own a courier company or are involved in the management of a fleet and contractors for a courier company, you can ensure that the following steps are taken to reduce risks in your drivers and vehicles.

For the Drivers:

  1. You can ensure adequate training is provided to reduce the number of accidents and injuries.
  2. You can also ensure enforced driving breaks are implemented to reduce the risks of exhaustion-related accidents.
  3. Finally, you can check the type of courier insurance currently offered and find out if there is better business insurance available to cover your drivers and reduce your risks. It’s easy, just fill in the form at the top of this page, and our system will match your needs with the ideal provider who will call you! You can get an obligation-free quote for the best courier insurance policies today.

For the Vehicles:

  1. You can reduce the risks for accidents and injuries by ensuring the vehicles in your fleet are maintained well and serviced often. You have the option of purchasing maintenance plans for your fleet if you so choose.
  2. You can ensure you have the best, most comprehensive insurance for your fleet of courier vehicles.
  3. Vehicle trackers are a great idea, too. They can often reduce your insurance premium and increase the vehicle recovery rate if the vehicle is stolen.

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