Are South Africans adequately covered for storm damage?

The violent storms that have swept South Africa over the past week have left many people with one question on their minds: “I wonder if my insurance will cover the damage?”
With streets and buildings flooded, the damage to cars, homes and businesses in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal is anticipated to spiral into millions of rands. South Africans will be turning to their insurers with claims, hoping that they will be met. According to Vera Nagtegaal, the executive head of, this outcome shouldn’t be left to guesswork.
“South Africans should examine and understand their insurance policies, and ensure that they are covered for all possible eventualities,” she says. “Being under-insured opens people up to risks – and so when events take place such as extreme weather, more bad news might be on the way.”
Why an insurer might reject your claim
There are certain factors that an insurer will consider when you submit a storm-damages claim. Nagtegaal says that these include whether the damage of the property or vehicle directly relates to the bad weather, and what the condition of the property or vehicle was in the first place.
A property claim might be rejected if the property didn’t have adequate drainage, retaining walls were not thick enough or foundations were poor quality. “For these reasons, you should always have any property renovations done with the help of an architect in consultation with an engineer, to make sure that the building work is structurally sound. Most insurers will also work with assessors to help determine any risks before cover is put in place,” Nagtegaal says.
A vehicle claim might be rejected if the policy doesn’t cover flood damage, or if water damage to the engine was caused by negligent driving.
“Storms like these are a good reminder to us all to check whether our insurance policies are up to date and that they cover us for all eventualities,” says Nagtegaal. “And, if you are buying a new policy, don’t always go for the cheapest option – make sure that the saving isn’t coming at the expense of a much-needed benefit.”
Make a date to check your policy
Nagtegaal says that policyholders should read through their policy at least once a year, to make sure that it is aligned with the current value and status of the insured assets. “You may not remember that you have made a change to your home that your insurer should know about, and reading your policy could jog your memory. In some cases, a change like installing a security system could actually result in a reduced premium.”
You can do this policy update with your insurer or broker over the phone as they might help you by asking the relevant questions.
Finally, Nagtegaal says that it is vital that your insurance covers the true value of your property and car. “If you are under-insured – which means that you are insured for a value that is lower than the total value of your possessions – then your insurance may only pay out a representative portion of the costs of the damage.”
For example, if you stated that your household contents were worth R100 000, but on inspection, the assessor found that they had been worth R200 000, you could only receive 50% of the damages claim, irrespective of what the total claim was.
“Don’t under-estimate costs to save on premiums. You could be at risk of a reduced pay-out when you need it most,” she says. “If you are uncertain about any of this, speak to your insurer right away to get clarity on your cover, and make adjustments where necessary.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 17 Nov 2017
      FWJK has announced the launch of its latest residential brand, the Lil’ Apple, which will be launched simultaneously in two developments in Cape Town and Umhlanga totaling 600 apartments. The Lil’ Apple is set to be a brand of FWJK’s New York style apartments which will be rolled out nationally.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      It’s been a tumultuous year on many fronts, with socio-political uncertainty setting the tone for much of South Africa’s economic activity yet despite this and seemingly counter-intuitively, the residential property market has held up well.
    • 17 Nov 2017
      The EAAB (the Estate Agency Affairs Board) recently claimed that around 50,000 illegal estate agents could currently be operating illegally.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Penthouses are synonymous with New York – characterised by high-rise living that is decidedly luxurious and spacious. While exclusivity comes at a price, you can still create a “penthouse” look and feel in your existing apartment or even the upstairs bedroom of a double storey house with some clever design changes and styling touches.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      The area has long been popular with kite surfers and, with escalating property prices in Cape Town itself, is increasingly in demand with home owners who work in town, but are looking to invest in more affordable properties.
    • 16 Nov 2017
      Cape Town’s popularity as a world-class tourist destination has resulted in a spike in the number of homes available for holiday lets and fuelled investor demand for sectional title units with short term rental potential.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      Sappi, one of South Africa’s oldest global companies and a leading global supplier of sustainable woodfibre products, has moved its global and regional headquarters to a new site on the corner of Oxford and 14th Avenue in Rosebank.
    • 15 Nov 2017
      There’s an old saying in real estate that you should seek to make a profit when you buy, not only when you sell – and a large part of succeeding at that endeavour is buying a home in an area with desirable features that will enhance the resale value of your property.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us