Water-wise and insurance savvy

It’s no secret that in many parts of the country, saving water is essential. Not only does this assist in continued water service delivery, but it can also reduce your water bill (in Cape Town, for example, water tariffs increased significantly in July). Ultimately, it can also help you to avoid unnecessary insurance claims.

“The many benefits of saving water both boost our country’s resources and detract from draining our pockets,” says Sonet Swart, Head of Claims, PSG Insure.

How does a water-saving mindset reduce your insurance risk?

Leaks that go undetected over time, particularly in areas where dolomite is present, can cause major damage, such as sinkholes. “Insurers may repudiate claims – big or small – for any damage in this case, as repairing leaks are considered to be part of home maintenance in order to remain covered,” Swart adds.

“Undetected leaks anywhere in your home can also lead to higher water bills. If your bill is unusually high due to a leak you didn’t know of, you might not have any recourse with your insurer to cover it or your municipality to reduce your bill, as leaks are generally a homeowner’s responsibility.”

Leak detection protection

Leaking toilets and dripping taps are among the biggest contributors to wasting water – where on average up to 30 litres are lost per hour, depending on the severity of the leak. In the spirit of both saving water and preventing potential financial woes, it would be worth your while to look out for leaks and seek professional assistance if you suspect you have one. 

You can monitor your property to check for leaks by following these simple steps:

•Make sure all taps are closed on your property and don’t flush any toilets, or have any water-using appliances running. Check your water meter reading.
• Wait 15 minutes, making sure that no taps or appliances are turned on, or any toilet is flushed. Now check your meter reading again.
• If the reading has increased, chances are you have a leak. Remember that it is your responsibility to have it fixed. Call a plumber, or if you can detect the leak and remedy it with a simple DIY job, make sure you do so as soon as possible.

“It is also water-wise to immediately report any burst pipes or leaks you might see on public roads or in public spaces,” Swart says. “Look out for faulty irrigation systems, for example.”

There are many water-saving tips out there. Here are a few you might not have thought of – and every drop counts:

• When washing fruit and vegetables at home, do so in a pot of water instead of under a running tap. Pour the used water onto your garden or into your toilet’s cistern.
• Excess water after boiling vegetables can be kept aside to make stock for soups.
• With winter still lingering, consider re-using water in your hot water bottle by pouring it straight back in your kettle to be re-boiled once or twice more.
• Use grey water collected in your shower to wash your floors.
“Take some time to research the many ways you can save. Start by fixing leaks and then build on new water-conscious routines at home, in the office and when out and about. We are in this together, and being vigilant and looking after our supply of water should be a team effort by all, and if it can help save on insurance issues or costs, all the better,” Swart concludes.

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