Load shedding is a reality for South Africans, and with current indications, it looks like it will remain so for the foreseeable future.
While there are various things you can do to dampen the impact of load shedding you might not have thought about the impact it could have on your insurance cover.
You should be aware that some insurance policies may not cover damage caused directly by load shedding, so, when it comes to protecting your home during a power outage, the first thing you should do is review your insurance policy to understand exactly what you are covered for.
Secondly, you should consider how the changes you make to your home to combat load shedding might impact your insurance coverage.
If you are going to install a generator, or have one, you need to know if it will be covered or if it is an exclusion in your current policy.
Damage to your home as result of a fire caused by an incorrectly installed generator will most likely not be covered by your insurance. It is every homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that their generator is installed correctly, and they must advise their insurance provider that they have done so. “Contact your insurer to confirm whether generators as permanent fixtures used for domestic purposes is covered under the building section of your policy,” says Louis Hay, Head of Short-Term Insurance Propositions at Standard Bank Insurance.
“The generator must be in a secure place and not left unprotected outside. You may not keep the more than 210 litres of diesel and 40 litres of petrol in your home for the generator. Your insurer may also not cover mechanical or electrical breakdown; wear and tear; goods under guarantee; or claims because of spilled fuel.”
Alarms and Electric fences:
It is imperative that you have back up batteries for your alarm system and electric fence and that they remain fully charged.
“Your insurance policy might not cover for theft as a result of alarm or electric fence systems not working properly. Certain companies also manufacture LED security lights that remain on for a few hours at night during load shedding. These extra precautions will help go a long way to help protect your home and valuables. If you are planning on leaving your home during load shedding, make sure that your alarm is on and that the battery has enough back-up power to last until the lights are back on,” says Hay.
If you plan to use gas in your home for cooking or lighting, there are certain precautions you must follow to make sure your insurance claim is not rejected in the event of an accident. The limits around the storage and usage of gas for home use are set and enforced by Municipal Fire and Safety Departments and you must follow them when installing gas in your home. A Certificate of Conformity for your Gas installation may also be required by your insurer.
They include the following: Gas bottles must be kept in a well-ventilated cage. A total of 100kg gas is allowed on the property, including: 19kg inside your home: and up to 81kg spare gas outside your home.
Installing a solar or a grid-tied battery powered system for security is becoming a popular choice amongst South Africans. Criminals are less likely to strike a home which is well lit on a dark street. Make sure you obtain an Electrical Certificate of Compliance for your Solar Installation as your insurer may require this.
Says Mr Hay; “Your home is one of your biggest investments and making sure it is protected is something you should take very seriously, most importantly that the Generator, Gas or solar system is connected safely and legally. No one wants to think about what could happen, but the reality is that if you want to protect your valuables you must arm yourself with all the right information and put in place the necessary precautions to do so. “