With a number of provinces in South Africa still facing extreme drought conditions, it is important for all clients to be aware of the impact of the drought on their home and, therefore, their insurance. There are a number of areas of the home that can be impacted by water restrictions, including water pipes, swimming pools and gardens.
That is why policyholders should be reminded to take all reasonable care to safeguard and protect their assets. Policyholders need to do whatever is reasonably practical to minimise damage when they have known about a situation like this.
The current water rationing taking place, which involves the complete cutting off the water supply for short periods, can have detrimental effects on water pipes. This can cause pipes to burst, with subsequent risk of 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.
Clients should cover their swimming pools to minimise water evaporation, as they are not able to fill the pool. 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 with no water. Fibreglass pools, in particular, need water weight from the inside to prevent them from popping out of the ground.
One option for clients is switching off the pump if the water level drops to below the weir. If the pump is sucking in air, it will burn out.
No normal policy covers the reinstatement of gardens if they die from lack of water. So brokers should mention to clients that they can still try to catch rainwater, use grey water or even get a borehole installed to save their garden if they want to.
Speak to your clients and guide them through the complexities of the impact of drought on their insurance, before they try to claim in ignorance.