Weather wreaking havoc with insurance

By Staff Writer
By Ashleigh Brown, journalist, Justmoney
Serve weather, which leaves many people’s homes and valuables damaged, has led to an increase in insurance premiums.
“Due to the increased damage caused by hail storms in the last two years, most insurers have increased their premiums by 20%, some insurers even as much as 30%,” said Santie Stevens, short term insurance manager for Insurance Busters. 
Increase in claims 
“The most recent stats indicate a 24% increase in weather-related claims during June 2014, compared to May 2014, following unusually low temperatures and rains during the month,” said Johan van Greuning, head of Standard Insurance Limited. 
“At the same time, Standard Bank South Africa has experienced growth of 16% in insurance claims related to irrigation pipe damage along with a 5% jump in geyser related claims, compared to March last year.
 In addition, total insurance claims for March 2014 increased by 56%, compared to the amount of claims received in March 2013, driven largely by the surge in storm-related damage,” according to a report on Standard Bank’s website.  
Take cover 
If, after serve weather, there has been any damage to house or valuables, your insurers should be told as soon as possible. 
“After 30 days you will not be able to claim,” said Stevens.
“Exclusions are often linked to maintenance related issues. Policy holders are encouraged to ensure that risk mitigation precautions are taken as required by their policy and to report the claim immediately,” said van Greuning. 
Furthermore, Stevens advised people to take photos of the damage, and to have all documents which may be required ready to forward onto the insurer. These documents will include proof of ownership, as well as any receipts or invoices, and valuation certificates. 
Advice for taking out insurance 
Stevens advises to always go to a professional who understands your specific needs, and will be able to offer you the correct product. 
“Home and vehicle insurance can become complicated, and if you are paying too little you might not be correctly insured, or if you are paying too much you might be covered for something you are not exposed to,” said Stevens. 
Van Greuning points out that insurance cover is more than just protecting your material valuables. 
“When you buy a house you become the owner of the single most valuable asset you have and you have to treat it accordingly. Invariably, insurance for the physical home is a requirement for a bond, but ideally you should also take out cover to ensure your family is covered in unforeseen circumstance such as losing your job or even your life,” said van Greuning. 
Customers should also try to reduce their bills, without compromising their insurance.
“Faced with the increased costs of maintaining their vehicles; owners should not be tempted to compromise on their insurance options – by either switching to an option with lower premiums, or cancelling their vehicle insurance completely,” concludes van Greuning. 

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