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Growth & Jobs | Achieving vehicle ownership goal in 2021

Published:Tuesday | January 26, 2021 | 12:08 AM
Chris Hind, general manager, JN General Insurance.
Chris Hind, general manager, JN General Insurance.
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Consistent with the start of a new year is the making of resolutions for things to be accomplished during the year.

Resolutions range from breaking a bad habit to taking on a personal development initiative to acquiring assets.

For some persons, 2021 is the year they have resolved to own a motor vehicle, and chances are the process would have already started by considering the desired model and make of the vehicle.

Many motorists can relate that owning a motor vehicle has made life easier because of the independence, comfort, convenience and safety it provides. Moreover, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, being able to commute in one’s personal vehicle helps to reduce the risk of exposure from using public transportation.

Sophia Williams* acquired her first car last November by sticking with her goals made during 2020.

“My job requires me to do a lot of travelling across parishes. The [number] of places I could visit in a day would be limited because of my reliance on public transportation, but now I’m able to cover more ground,” she shared.

Chris Hind, general manager, JN General Insurance (JNGI), maintains that purchasing one’s first vehicle is a major achievement, as it enables persons to travel more safely, especially during this pandemic.

However, he said the cost of acquiring a motor vehicle and insurance can sometimes be daunting, especially for young drivers. He advised persons, therefore, to shop carefully for loans and insurance that will offer great value.

“The Jamaica National Group has been helping to make vehicle ownership a reality, while supporting individuals’ financial planning with the provision of the JN Auto Sure Cover loan, which is a collaboration with JNGI and JN Bank,” he explained.

“It is a combined insurance and loan repayment. No matter what happens, you will pay the same monthly amount for loan and insurance throughout the life of the loan. What also makes this product so desirable is that it has an accident-forgiveness component for the life of the loan, which means that there will be no increase in the premium in the event of an accident and this can be very meaningful, especially to new drivers.”

Additionally, a JN Auto Sure Cover loan provides benefits such as unlimited roadside assistance, document renewal and fitness valet service offered by the Jamaica Automobile Association, which is also a member of The Jamaica National Group.

For Williams, learning about the JN Auto Sure Cover loan came as a great relief.

“One of my greatest concerns was if I could afford a car, taking into consideration the insurance coverage and all the expenses that a new car comes with,” she said, adding that the product “was a solution to my insecurities”.

Hind acknowledged that it is natural for new vehicle owners to want to get behind the wheel right away. However, he recommended that persons who may have obtained their driver’s licence some time ago, but have not been driving, should first consider completing a refresher driver programme with the JAA.

“This will be beneficial in managing certain risks on the road that they may encounter from time to time,” he emphasised.

Concerned about the high road fatalities each year, Hind is also urging new vehicle owners to be responsible users of the road. He pointed out that JNGI has always been an advocate for road safety and recently embarked on a ‘Just Slow Down’ campaign to sensitise motorists and motorcyclists on the implications of speeding.

“Be a disciplined and courteous driver. Always focus on the road and resist distractions, such as the use of a cell phone while driving. If possible, use Bluetooth technology if you need to talk on your phone. Also, avoid alcohol consumption if you are planning to drive afterwards, and be mindful of fatigue, which can equally impair your driving,” Hind encouraged.

*Name changed upon request