Severe weather conditions — you need to ensure you have comprehensive insurance

As South Africans face tough weather conditions, they need to ensure that their car and home insurance policies are up to date so they have proper cover. Picture: Basil Minhaj/Unsplash

As South Africans face tough weather conditions, they need to ensure that their car and home insurance policies are up to date so they have proper cover. Picture: Basil Minhaj/Unsplash

Published Mar 14, 2024


As South Africa faces extreme weather conditions, people should be turning their attention to their insurance policies to ensure that they are up to date.

Other than the insurance policies being up to date, people should also be reviewing their policies to make sure that they have comprehensive cover to sort out any possible damage to their cars or property.

The change in weather has led to damage to cars and property, which in turn has resulted in an increase in the number of insurance claims. For this reason, it is important that people review and update their current insurance policies.

Car insurance

Different insurers have specific rules when it comes to covering the damage caused by the weather, according to the Ombudsman for Short-Term Insurance.

During a flood, if the water reaches the level of the bumper and the damage is minimal and can be fixed by a qualified mechanic, then you won’t have to claim from your car insurance.

If water reaches the level of the vehicle dashboard or the car roof, then you need to contact your insurer to let them know about the damage.

If the cost of repairing the vehicle to its original roadworthy state is higher than the vehicle’s insured value, the insurer may write it off. Insurance will then pay out the vehicle's insured value in cash, minus the excess.

However, in instances of blatant negligence, your insurance may not cover you for water damage because vehicle owners are responsible for caring for their vehicles and keeping them out of harm’s way.

It only takes 0.6 metres of moving water to sweep a car off the road, so people should avoid driving in bad weather. If the car is swept off the road, the driver must exit the vehicle as quickly as possible.

Will car insurance cover hail or flood damage? The answer is that it depends on a person’s car insurance coverage and the insured events that are included in their policy.

According to the ombudsman, third-party only and third-party fire and theft insurance do not cover extreme weather damage. To ensure that they have comprehensive protection against severe weather risks, people will need comprehensive car insurance.

Home insurance

The bad weather can cause damage to your home contents as well as the exterior of home, therefore, you need to insure them for their current replacement value.

According to Wynand van Vuuren, the client experience partner at King Price Insurance, it is critical that the contents of your home are insured for their current replacement value, not what you paid for them.

“Make sure that you have specified any high-value items that you take outside the house under your portable possessions cover, or they’re effectively uninsured.”

These items can include jewellery, phones, sunglasses, laptops, among other things.

Karen Rimmer, Head: Distribution of PSG Insure, agrees that household contents should be insured for their current replacement value.

“It is important to revise your sum insured on an annual basis to keep up with inflation and increasing costs,” Rimmer said.

Van Vuuren said that a home contents inventory can be handy to help you value your home contents correctly. Don’t just insure your house for what it would sell for, market value is not the same as replacement value.

You also need to think about your building insurance and work out what it would cost to rebuild your home, then insure for that amount.

“Buildings insurance should include the cost of rebuilding your house, including boundary walls, solar panels, swimming pool, taps and tiles. And if you have made major improvements to your home, such as adding a new room, tell your insurer, or you risk being under-insured.”

Rimmer said that for most people, their home is the most valuable asset they will ever own, and a catastrophic event such as heavy rain could ruin them financially if they are not adequately insured.

“When it comes to insuring your property, make sure that you are covered at the current building costs per square metre and make provision for any outside extras,” Rimmer said.

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