Protect your home against adverse weather

By Staff Writer

This winter, storms, floods and gale force winds are bound to create much havoc and damage and keep insurers inundated with claims and queries.


The Western Cape has already experienced its first winter storm with heavy rains flooding homes, snow, and gale-force winds of up to 90kpmh. Damage to 547 informal houses has been reported, leaving 2 266 people displaced. According to Santam, over 30000 people and 9 000 households were affected to varying degrees by the heavy rains and snowfall.


“Winter is here, bringing with it significant risks no matter where in the country you reside, so it is important that people take precautions to mitigate the risks of the season and weather conditions. The most important thing we can all do is take steps to ensure that our family’s safety comes first, both at home and on the road. This is not the time to compromise on your insurance cover,” said Attie Blaauw, head of personal lines underwriting at Santam.


Blaauw advised customers to check that their policies are up to date. “In terms of insurance for your house, a home owner’s policy will cover your home and its contents from damage caused by extreme weather conditions, but it’s imperative that regular home maintenance is adhered to in order to ensure a claim is paid out in a timely manner and in full,” warned Blaauw.


“Last year the most popular claims received during the winter season included building damage, bursting and overflowing of water tanks and pipes as well as motor vehicle accidents said Blaauw, demonstrating the importance for policyholders to take steps to manage their exposure to risk.


Santam recommends that homeowners take the following preventative measures against the adverse winter conditions:


•    Address developing problems, such as a blocked drain and contact your local municipalities’ Customer Contact Centre, as it could prevent widespread flooding.

•    Help keep water systems clear by not disposing waste into drains as it could result in flooding, but also lead to unnecessary health risks.

•    Clean your house gutters out regularly.

•    Make sure the supports of TV aerials and satellite dishes are firmly in place.

•    Trim branches around the roof line to prevent damage and to prevent animals from getting on the roof. Regular trimming will also prevent branches from damaging the roof during excessive storms and wind.

•    Check all doors and windows for cracks and leaks to ensure there are no gaps between the door or window and the frame. Heat will escape from these cracks and likewise allow cold air in. This will increase electricity bills during winter months. Also make sure that all window putty is intact and replace if necessary.

•    Be sure to install a metal and rubber flap to close up any gaps you may have at the bottom of your external doors. This will stop water from seeping in during heavy storms, which could weaken the foundation of your floors, walls and doors.

•    Install straps or additional clips to your roof to secure it to the frame structure, in order to prevent roof damage.

•    Trim trees and shrubs around your home.

•    Maintain exterior walls.

•    Protect windows and doors with covers or wind shutters.
 
•    Reinforce or replace damaged garage doors.

•    Secure your roof whether it be a metal sliding, built-up or single ply roof.

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