Dry spell for drought affected insurance homeowners

29 November 2017 - 13:23 By Suthentira Govender
“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.”
“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.”
Image: bialasiewicz / 123RF Stock Photo

Thinking about submitting an insurance claim for drought-induced damage to your home and garden? You may want to reconsider.

Damage caused by drought is not a peril that is typically covered by insurance policies because they normally cover sudden and unforeseen events.

A drought‚ according to Dawie Loots‚ CEO of MUA Insurance Acceptances‚ is a “gradual operation cause”.

He has warned homeowners about the insurance implications of drought.

“The general principle in insurance is that policyholders should take all reasonable care to safeguard and protect their assets.

“In fact‚ people should act as though they are 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.”

When it comes to water pipes‚ Loots warned that the current water rationings‚ could have detrimental effects.

“The turning on and off of water can cause pipes to burst‚ with subsequent risk of flooding and therefore 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.”

In the case of swimming pools‚ Loots advised homeowners to cover them 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 of they are left exposed to the sunlight with no water.

“Fibreglass pools in particular specifically need water weight from the inside to prevent them from popping out of the ground.

“Homeowners should switch off the pump if the water level drops to below the weir‚ this will prevent the pump from sucking in air and in turn burn out. It’s also a good idea to open the cover when it is raining to get as much water in the pool as possible‚” said Loots.

He added that no insurance policy would cover the reinstatement of drought-stricken gardens.

“Even though homeowners are prohibited by law and water restriction limitations to water their garden‚ they can still try to catch rainwater‚ use grey water or even get a borehole installed - therefore there are certain measures one can take to save the garden.”

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