Increasing weather-related damage to property as a result of severe weather conditions over the past year, has led to a sharp rise in insurance claims by homeowners in South Africa. As a result, homeowners are being urged to review their home insurance policies ahead of further expected cold spells and rainfall in the coming months.
According to Andrew Lilley, Chief Operations Officer of CIB Insurance Solutions, this year alone there has been a 30% increase in weather-related insurance claims for property. "Heavier than normal rainfall resulted in abnormal flooding in both Joburg and many coastal areas over the past year, prompting a spike in insurance claims from homeowners. With the rainy season starting again in the Western Cape, we expect this to increase further in the coming months."
Lilley says that while normal rainfall is not likely to cause damage to houses, the heavier rains that are now being experienced in South Africa mean more homeowners are starting to file claims for leaks in their roofs, as well as rising damp and flooding.
"Many of these claims are justified as homeowners take out buildings insurance specifically to deal with such problems, however, people must be aware that there is also some responsibility placed with the homeowner to upkeep their home properly."
He cautions that if your property has not been properly maintained then this could cause a problem when submitting a claim. "If you notice damp or moisture occurring on the ceilings or walls of your house and don't have this seen to, it can lead to a serious problem later on."
Lilley says it is important homeowners start looking at their home as they would their car. "If your car is damaged or starts making a strange noise, you take it straight to a mechanic to have it looked at. The same should be true for your house. A property needs the same level of attention and a small cost for maintenance now is far better than the cost of fixing a more severe problem later on."
"People often consider vehicle insurance to be more important than home insurance, as they are more concerned about the theft of their vehicle than anything else. However, it is just as important to make sure that your home is adequately insured, particularly with the increase in serious weather conditions," says Lilley.
Lilley says homeowners can do some basic checks in order to minimise the possible impact from severe weather conditions:
- Ensure that your property has adequate drainage
- Make sure that all roof surfaces are maintained on a regular basis
- Check that your roof and ridges have been adequately waterproofed
- Ensure that all gutters are clear from obstructions or blockages
- Have your house checked twice a year for signs of damage and wear and tear.