Insure your home for peace of mind

BY HANNES SMITH - OCTOBER 17, 2017

A house is more than just a place where you keep your belongings or sleep at night - it is a home, a sanctuary, a place to raise a family and grow old with loved ones.

However, a home is at constant risk of damage, natural disasters and burglaries, especially in South Africa. According to Statistics South Africa, over 670 000 households in South Africa experienced housebreaking in 2015/16.

This accounted for over 50% of all household crimes, followed by home robbery which was experienced by 12% of households.

It is essential to take relevant measures to protect your home and belongings from unforeseen events. The easiest way to do so is through home insurance.

Hannes Smith, Head of Personal Lines Sales and Operations at Old Mutual Insure, says that the unfortunate fires and flooding in certain parts of South Africa recently have reminded home owners to have comprehensive insurance coverage for their homes and belongings. 

“Many families are still in the process of rebuilding their lives and properties after the devastating Knysna fires and Cape Town flooding. Some have to do so with hard-earned savings, as their homes were not insured. Dipping into your savings in such an emergency can have long standing impacts on the financial wellness of you and your family,” explains Smith.

He says that a home is usually the biggest asset a person will ever buy in their lifetime. “It’s important that purchasing a home adds to your overall financial wellbeing and wealth, rather than take away from it.  Protecting this asset and its long-term value is priority for most property owners and adequately insuring your house is one way of doing this. Short-term insurance cover is a key component of any holistic financial plan.”

Unfortunately, many South Africans are unaware of what constitutes home insurance and what is covered under their policy.

“Home insurance covers the building and all its fixtures, including fittings, as well as outbuildings for the insured perils as stated in the policy wording. There are normally additional extensions that are included in any building cover, some for full cover and others for limited cover,” explains Smith.

However, Smith stresses the importance of being detailed when specifying what is in your home insurance policy. The more detailed you are, the more peace of mind you will have.

“If the construction of your dwelling is a non-standard construction, such as timber or thatch, you would need to advise your insurer, as this is a key risk factor. If the premises are unoccupied for more than 60 consecutive days, it is important to advise your insurer, as the risk is higher in respect of theft and malicious damage. If the premises is rented or let out to tenants, this is also considered a higher risk, because in many cases, tenants do not have the same concern for your property. If the property is a holiday home, many insurers will not insure it without insuring the primary residence,” says Smith.

When insuring your building it is important to include additional costs in the overall sum insured, as in the event of a total loss, there are additional costs that are incurred. “These costs can include public authorities’ requirements, fire brigade charges  the clearing of debris or demolition as well as professional fees of architects and quantity surveyors. If these additional costs are not taken into account, policyholders could find themselves underinsured in the event of a total loss,” says Smith.

It is also important to note that, if there is a bond on the property and all bondholders insist on full comprehensive coverage, the policyholder is not forced to take out building insurance with the bondholder. “The policyholder can insure the property elsewhere as long as the other insurer meets the terms and conditions that are required by the bondholder,” concludes Smith. 

Contact Franchisee Liandé Barnard
Garden Route contact number 084 571 8659
Garden Route email address liande@homefoodandtravel.co.za