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There is no disputing that South Africa has seen a marked increase in the frequency and intensity of severe weather conditions over the last six years and there is no denying the impact of climate change in the insurance sector.

The flooding in Durban racked up losses of R billions and it happened in a matter of minutes with incredible intensity, with some areas reporting golf-ball size hailstones, proving that extreme weather catastrophes happen with very little warning, and there is just no telling as to how severe they will be. 

Many consumers, especially those who are renting property, do not fully understand the absolute necessity of home contents insurance. 
Regardless of whether someone owns or rents a property, it is a good idea to take out home contents insurance as this type of cover will pay to replace or repair items inside the home that may be stolen or damaged due to unforeseen events.

Your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover any damage to the structure of the building as a direct result of freak rainstorms, but will not cover maintenance-related damage. This means that while your insurance will respond by repairing the damage caused by a leaking roof, it will not cover the repair of the roof’s waterproofing if it deteriorated due to lack of maintenance.

 There are a number of  things you can do around your home to give your home the best chance for standing up to disasters.

  • If you’re faced with flooding of your property, try to move as many of your belongings as you can out of the water – the longer the water is left sitting, the more damage it causes. Try and clear away as much of the water as you possibly can to prevent further and permanent damage.

  • Half a meter of paving along the perimeter of a building can help with damp problems.

  • Keep gutters clear of debris to facilitate proper drainage around the house.  Protect inlet/outlet pipes of any drains and stormwater drainage against blockage from debris.

  • Check the waterproofing and flashings on the roof on a regular basis.

  • Install lightning rods along the outside of the house if your area is prone to lightning strikes and fit plugs with surge protection.

  • Report your claim as soon as possible – bear in mind claims volumes after such catastrophic events will be high and there may be delays in getting assessments and repairs done and shortages of hire cars.  There is also the annual shutdown to consider in December which may see your damages only repaired in the New Year should you suffer a loss closer to the holiday period.

  • Discuss your motor and household insurance with your broker to make sure you are comprehensively covered for such eventualities.  The growing risks presented by our changing weather patterns demands that you review your needs in detail and get impartial and professional advice to ensure your cover meets those needs.  


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