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Auto & General Insurance warns that building related insurance claims increase by 97% during the rainy season and now is the ideal time to inspect your homes to avoid an expensive, but avoidable, disaster

Buildings insurance covers loss or damage to the actual house structure as a result of fire or explosion; storm, flood, lightning strike and resultant damage; and ground movement including subsidence and landslip. Home contents insurance covers the possessions that are in your home.  An easy way to determine this is to imagine taking the roof off your home and turning it upside down, everything that falls out of your house constitutes your home contents. 

“Water, hail and lightning damage, as well as falling trees are typically the biggest culprits when it comes to building insurance claims. In many cases, these claims could have been prevented by proactive inspections and maintenance,” says Ricardo Coetzee, Head of Auto & General Insurance. “Just because your home withstood the last rainy season, doesn’t mean that everything is still on par. Rather take the time to inspect your home, or have it professionally inspected, and take proactive steps where needed. It could save you thousands of rands and avoid serious injury.”

Auto & General offers the following tips for a thorough rainy season inspection:

  • All clear: Clear eaves and gutters regularly. Leaves and other debris could prevent water from effectively draining away from the roof.
  • Roof ready: Check the roof for tiles that may have shifted, deteriorated waterproofing, parts of thatched roofs that are slipping etc. Also do an inspection of the inside of the roof to make sure that it seals properly. No sunlight should be visible, because if sunlight can sneak through, water can too.
  • Crack crackdown: Check all door and window frames, especially those made of wood, as well as walls, floors and foundations for cracks where water can seep in.
  • Pain in a drain: Make sure that draining channels, pipes and holes are in a good condition and keep an eye out for water pooling when it rains. A build-up of water in your yard or around your house could cause rising damp and foundation problems. Use (preferably environmentally friendly) drain cleaners often, even if there are no drain problems.
  • Paint flaking: Look out for paint that’s flaking or peeling. Paint protects your home just like varnish protects wood. When you repaint, be sure to include a good sealant.
  • Pressure test: The pressure of strong wind, heavy hail or an excess amount of water can push trees and structures to their limits. Branches, garden furniture, tools or parts of structures that come loose can become dangerous projectiles. Check everything that gets exposed to the elements and address any risks immediately.
  • Reinforcements: If you live in an area that’s prone to floods or other extreme weather conditions, your own supply of sandbags and other reinforcements are a good idea.
  • Avoid the shock: Install plugs that can protect devices against power surges caused by lightning. This will also help to reduce the fire hazard.
  • Be on the lookout: Look out for safety risks in the area around your house, like bad drainage, cracked structures and landslip and alert authorities immediately.

“It may take some effort, but proactive checks and repairs could save you a small fortune in the long run,” Coetzee concludes, “It is still always wise to have good, comprehensive homeowners cover in place in case disaster strikes.” DM


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