A devastating tornado destroying many houses, people trapped in thick snowfalls and floods washing away roads as well as causing extensive damage to houses and buildings have hit media headlines.
All of these events result in inconvenience, danger and financial loss. Those who are properly and adequately insured can restore or replace their property and possessions. Those without insurance face financial loss, hardship, sometimes ruin. Those who have insurance but inadequate cover face the nasty surprise of being paid only part of their claim.
“Quite apart from the known impact of climate change and global warming, extreme weather, flash floods and devastating storms are becoming more regular and more unpredictable,” says Lizette Erasmus, Manager of Insurance Expertise at IntegriSure.
“Precautions should be taken to reduce the risk, but this does not offer guaranteed protection. It is therefore essential to have the right and adequate insurance cover (particularly for floods), based on a proper, professional needs analysis and advice from a registered, experienced and reputable insurance provider. Personal possessions in a house are also at risk due to weather events and should be insured.
“Check weather reports and warnings, especially if you live in high risk areas. Roofs should be properly maintained and repaired before a storm hits, gutters cleared of blockages, emergency flood materials such as plastic sheeting or sandbags stored in a safe, accessible place, and tree branches near buildings trimmed. Use only reputable, certified professionals for building, repairs and maintenance as damages due to defective workmanship are not covered by insurance providers.
“The whole purpose of correct and adequate insurance is to place the insured in the same position as before the damage. If, however, a property or possessions are insured for less than their true replacement value, an insurance company will reduce the claim pay-out and the insured will be out of pocket.
“Proper insurance has the added benefit of providing professionals for emergency and other repair work and offering other temporary relief measures.” says Erasmus.
Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, Philemon Mapulane, highlighted the warning in government’s White Paper on Climate Change that “rainfall is expected to become more variable‚ with an increase of extreme events such as flooding and droughts. Evidence of rapid climate change‚ including more frequent and intense weather systems and greater climate variability‚ is already upon us.”