Homeowners should check with their insurers whether their policies cover damage to their properties as a result of water restrictions, says Dawie Loots, the chief executive of MUA Insurance Acceptances.
He says insurance policies cover sudden and unforeseen events, and therefore do not typically cover drought-related damage. However, you should find out from your insurer or broker what exactly your policy does and does not cover.
Loots says the general principle of insurance is that policyholders should take all reasonable steps to safeguard and protect their assets.
“In fact, people should act as if they were not insured. This premise also applies in a drought situation. Policyholders need to do whatever is reasonably practical to minimise damage when they have known about a situation like this.”
Loots says water rationing can have detrimental effects on pipes.
“The turning on and off of water can cause pipes to burst, with subsequent risk to flooding and excessive water bills. Clients would have to be aware of this fact and should be more observant in and around their properties to ensure there are no burst or leaking pipes,” he says.
Homeowners should cover their swimming pools to minimise water evaporation.
“Swimming pools are designed to have water in them, so the system, walls and tiling of pools are more susceptible to damage if they are left exposed to the sunlight. Fibreglass pools, in particular, need water weight to prevent them from popping out of the ground.”
Loots says homeowners should switch off the pool pump if the water level drops below the weir, to prevent the pump from sucking in air and burning out.
He says that, because drought is not a peril, an insurance policy will not cover the reinstatement of gardens that are decimated through a lack of water.
“Even though homeowners are prohibited from watering their gardens, they can try to catch rainwater, use grey water or instal a borehole. Therefore, there are certain measures you can take to save your garden if you want to.”