Vital to ensure adequate insurance

2016-11-16 06:02
The extent of the hail damage to a vehicle of one of the numerous people affected by the storm. Photos: Supplied

The extent of the hail damage to a vehicle of one of the numerous people affected by the storm. Photos: Supplied

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Consumers are advised to review their insurance cover in the light of freak weather conditions.

This comes in the wake of hailstorms which occurred during the last four years, which caused severe property and vehicle damage, collectively costing the insurance industry a staggering R2,5 billion in losses.

Due to increasing freak weather conditions, insurance brokerage and risk advisor, Aon South Africa (Aon SA), is advising South Africans to ensure they are comprehensively covered for such damage, particularly when it comes to motor vehicle insurance.

Mandy Barrett of Aon South Africa says many consumers hard-pressed by economic conditions look to reduce their insurance premiums by opting for lower cost insurance options.

“What they often fail to realise, is that the reason a particular policy is cheaper than another, is that the coverage is less comprehensive,” says Barret.

Aon offers the following advice to minimise consumers’ exposure to hail damage:

  • Never assume you are covered.

The help of a professional insurance broker will prove invaluable in assessing your needs and ensuring that you have the right cover, and understand the implications of all the terms and conditions contained in your policy.

  • Subscribe to a weather service or join your insurer’s SMS database to receive hail alerts.
  • Avoid travelling in a heavy downpour or hailstorm – hail damage will be worse if your car is moving.

Where it is practical and safe to do so, pull over or try and move to a place of safety (that is under cover) as quickly as possible and wait for the storm to pass.

  • If a road is flooded, do not attempt to drive through the water.

There are countless cases of drivers thinking it is a puddle, only to be swept away.

  • Do not park under trees. Falling branches pose a real risk in a powerful hailstorm. Find secure shelter under a solid structure if you can.
  • If you are indoors during a hailstorm, avoid skylights and windows which could be shattered by hailstones.
  • Check with your broker that your house and contents are insured for their replacement value.

Your home owners’ policy will cover you for hail damage to your roof, gutters and other fixed structures up to your policy limits.

Always remember that the original condition of your structures will be taken into consideration when the insurer assesses your claim.

If the damage is a result of poor maintenance and wear and tear, you could find yourself at the end of a repudiated claim.

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