Claims Process for Home and Car Following Storms
What to Do to Ensure Severe Storms Don’t Hamper Claims Process for Home and Car?
- Don’t park your car under trees and risk falling branches.
- Ensure windscreen wipers are in good condition
- Never try to drive through water across low water bridges; just 15cm of rushing water can wash your car away
- At home make sure your computers and TVs are switched off and disconnected during a storm
- Make sure before the summer storms set in, your gutters are unclogged of leaves and debris
- Keep windows closed during a storm to ensure they’re not shattered by high winds
We’ve all seen them- and been caught in them – devastating, torrential rain storms with hail and wind that have torn off roofs and brought traffic to a standstill.
There’s been an increase in these extreme weather events over recent years and they are costing the economy dearly. They drive more and more people to an insurance claims process.
In South Africa last year, 2016, floods caused as much as R700m in insured losses. Add to that the Knysna fires which cost in the region of R4billion in damages.
Be Prepared for more Catastrophic Storms
There is general consensus from meteorologists that climate change is a reality in the 21st century and that the country should brace itself for abnormal weather conditions in the future. These severe weather conditions spell one thing – the need for extra precautions.
The weather is causing huge problems, more so for people who have bought property on the banks of a river or right on top of the sea. This is where the risk factor of flooding is uninsurable.
If these people do realise their folly too late and want to sell, the property, the property is difficult to sell because for people to get a bond, comprehensive insurance cover has to first be in place.
Insurance is no Longer Guaranteed
Those looking to buy properly therefore need to check whether the property is in a high risk area for flooding. Most homeowners- and householders insurance does cover flood damage.
If the house, however, is situated in a high risk area, the homeowner could well face higher premiums or excesses or even no cover whatsoever. Consumers need to read their policies carefully or get advice from a broker to ensure they are aware of all possible insurance and risk implications.
Take Precautions – for Car and Home
There are some precautions that one can take in preparation for severe weather conditions and one of them is to actually listen to- and take note of weather warnings. Try and avoid being on the roads during these times.
Check your tyre tread. Did you know that an accident claim can be denied if the tread is worn and all but threadbare? The legally required tread depth is 1.6mm.
When it comes to your home, your homeowners insurance policy will cover damage to the structure of the building but not maintenance-related damage. Keep gutters clear of debris to allow for proper drainage around the house.
Always discuss your motor and household insurance with your broker and find out what the claims process is. This way you can make sure that you are adequately covered.
You’ve got to do Your Part
Severe storms are ‘acts of God’ but policyholders need to realise that their homes need to be maintained and in a good state of repair. If found that storm damage was more severe because your home hasn’t been maintained, insurers will repudiate claims in such circumstances.
Underinsured? Heavy Financial Consequences
Insurers are being flooded with claims because of damages to car and property, but if your car or home is undervalued, the insurance company may well not pay out at the end of the claims process. Also, those who haven’t kept their insurance valuations up-to-date may well face similar challenges.
If for example you have left your insurance to merely tick over each new year without updating it, the insurance company is only going to pay out what your property is worth. That is why it is so important to have your property regularly evaluated.
Knowing your assets are covered to their fair value is important, otherwise short term insurers will simply apply the Average Clause if assets are undervalued. For anyone who has under-insured their home or car, this could have nasty financial consequences.
The claims process following storm damage
After a heavy storm that has wreaked havoc with your car and home –
- Notify your insurer of the claim
- Assess the damage
- Make a comprehensive list of all items and damage
- Take photos – these are useful to the insurance assessor for repair purposes
- Complete the claims form in full
Keep in touch with your insurer and make sure you are properly insured for all eventualities for the future. Under-insurance is one of the biggest reasons for rejections during the claims process.
Storms are a serious reality in the future South Africa and adequate steps need to be taken to secure homes and cars.
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