Culled from the Overland Forum , nice reply from Erin Bosch
Thanks all, I’ll answer here as I’m sure there are others who are or will be in a similar situation.
I would be very surprised if you find a South African Insurer who will cover a vehicle for a short period (of a few months or less). They will require that you move your policy to them and while there are no restrictions on cancelling a policy once you no longer need it, the expectation would be that you remain with them for an extended period.
Cross Country and Tuffstuff are the leading ‘off-road’ Insurers that offer the benefits that are important to the overlander, i.e. repatriation cover, emergency assistance outside of South Africa’s borders etc.
As you are aware, Cross Country require that all vehicle placed with them from a couple of months ago, be fitted with their approved tracking system, which includes telematics to track your driving style. There is no lengthy contract between yourself and the tracking company though, and the unit remains the property of Cross Country and the tracking company.
Tuffstuff require that any Land Cruisers, Fortuners or Hiluxes be fitted with their approved tracking system, but in their case you are tied into a 3 year contract with the tracking company, which can only be cancelled early upon payment of a significant penalty.
As far as service and benefits are concerned, Tuffstuff are the leaders and I cannot fault them other than that they no longer allow our brokerage to place new business with them (they are essentially a broker – REAM Insurance Brokers who have developed a product – Tuffstuff, underwritten by Western National Insurance Company). Cross Country offer similar benefits, through their product, underwritten by Renasa Insurance and administered by Cross Country). Their service is not as consistently good as Tuffstuff’s, although we have not experienced any issues which we could not sort out, but it does at times take a bit longer. Both Company’s rates have increased recently and neither are cheap.
Other Insurers that offer ‘token’ off-road insurance benefits and extended territorial limits are Execuline, whose service is outstanding, Santam and Outsurance, who do not deal with brokers. These products are however aimed at the mall-crawler and occasional 4x4er rather than the overlander, in my opinion. Auto & General also offer 4×4 cover but the only real benefit of their policy is that they include cover for your canopy on your bakkie and slightly extended territorial limits if I remember correctly. I have not investigated their cover in any depth, as they are our last-resort Insurer, used only if we cannot place cover elsewhere. The reason for this is that we, as a broker, cannot assist our clients in either the underwriting of, or claiming on, the policy.
Tuffstuff do own and operate their own off-road recovery vehicle which is put to good use from time-to-time, although I am sure they generally rely on their network of operators in the various countries that they cover for most recoveries and assistance. Cross Country have a similar network of service providers in the various territories, but in both cases, the Insured would be expected to make their own arrangements to recover their vehicle to a repairer or mechanic in the event of an accident or breakdown if at all possible. Costs incurred in doing so may be claimed back from the Insurer to an extent, and it is, in my opinion, the duty of the overlander to ensure that they are in a position to (financially and otherwise) to do so if necessary.
In my opinion, the most important cover for an overlander is the extended territorial limits (usually adding a few countries north of our neighbours to those generally covered, although cover in Central Africa (south of the equator, Angola and a few other territories may be limited). Additionally, repatriation cover to return your crippled vehicle to South Africa is important, and medical and emergency assistance which is usually still limited to South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and Lesotho. Keep in mind that in many countries you will still be required to purchase their applicable third party insurance, for what it is worth, regardless of the cover offered by your own Insurer.
This medical and emergency assistance is of course also an important factor to consider when choosing an Insurer. A number of other Insurers limit cover whilst a vehicle is used off-road, or even on gravel roads, or impose additional excesses or limits when used under these circumstances.
The long and the short of it is that Cross Country and Tuffstuff, with their respective requirements, remain the only real options for the overlander if insurance and assistance are your primary concerns.
My own vehicle is insured with Tuffstuff (from the time in which they still supported other brokers) but I will likely move it to Cross Country once it is back on the road (it is a little poorly at the moment with either a blown headgasket, or cracked head, or both). The reason being that Tuffstuff are getting expensive, in my opinion, and their new excess structure can result in a very significant amount depending on the circumstances surrounding your accident or incident for which their services are required.
Apologies for the long-winded reply, but I hope this answers some of your questions. You are most welcome to contact me if you have any other queries.