select
|

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 Hippo.co.za, 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
  
2000
Characters remaining


    Latest Property News
    • 19 Jan 2018
      Extending from Randfontein in the west to Roodepoort in the east and including the towns of Krugersdorp and Magaliesburg, the West Rand has a plethora of property available to residents who choose to make this unique area their home.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      When it comes to financial planning, doing the work to ensure you’re prepared for unexpected emergencies is just as important as ticking off your other goals and New Year’s resolutions. The beginning of the year is also the perfect time to review your various insurance policies.
    • 19 Jan 2018
      No surprises at the first Monetary Policy Committee of 2018, as Reserve Bank Governor, Lesetja Kganyago, announced that the interest rates would stay at their current levels.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      The Southern Suburbs make up some of the most popular residential areas in Cape Town, comprising charming groups of suburbs which lie to the south-east of the slopes of Table Mountain. It is seen as the city's most expensive residential neighbourhoods with a choice of various private schools, upmarket eateries, wine estates, beautiful homes and trendy apartments.
    • 18 Jan 2018
      New year, new goals! If you’ve resolved to purchase your first property in 2018, then this 6-step guide from the Rawson Property Group is a must-read. It will help you navigate and simplify what is often be seen as a confusing process of buying your first home – right from the house-hunt to the house-warming.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      While the current property market may still favour buyers, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be well prepared before putting in an offer to purchase.
    • 17 Jan 2018
      Lightstone lists Blair Atholl as the most expensive suburb with an average house price of R11.2 million, followed by Westcliff (R10.5 million), Dunkeld (R9.3 million), Sandhurst (R9.1 million) and Inanda (R7.2 million).
    • 17 Jan 2018
      As it currently stands, there are four main ways in which a home can be bought in South Africa, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who adds that deciding in which legal entity to purchase the property is not a decision that should be entered into lightly, as each has its pros and cons.
        
    X
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Name  
    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    select
    X
    Share this Page

       
    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    About
    Connect with us
    FEEDBACK