Fires, floods and flying protest objects. Is your property adequately insured?

We live in a changing world where there are almost daily reports of natural disaster and service delivery protests and vandalism that may affect your property – not just your home, but your business, motor vehicle and life in one way or another.

You might be driving to work or a meeting and the next moment, you are caught in a service delivery protest with flying objects from every angle. The recent devastating fires on the Garden Route destroyed hundreds of homes and highlighted the stark reality of home owners who lost not just the bricks and mortar, but their entire household contents and personal effects and in most cases, even their means of identification.

Steve van Wyk, MD of Seeff Centurion says that it is prudent for home owners to revisit their insurance policies and to check that their cover is not just adequate, but sufficient for all eventualities. Most home owners are unaware that they may need to add SASRIA (South African Special Risks Insurance Association) to cover special risk associated with civil commotion, public disorder, strikes, riots and terrorism.

Start with your most valuable possession, your home, says Van Wyk. In addition to checking the cover on the actual bricks, mortar and structures on your property, check your fixtures and fittings. You may have expensive items that should be covered in case of accidental loss or catastrophe.

Be sure to also check the insurance on your household contents. Bear in mind, he says, that replacement costs can run into thousands upon thousands of rands as it adds up very quickly. Aside from checking that you are adequately insured for replacement value, check whether you need to add SASRIA cover. The negligible cost may outweigh the peace of mind, especially if you live near high risk protest areas. It is also advisable to file an inventory of goods and photographs with the insurer.

Be sure to check that valuables that you carry with you during the day such as your laptop, cellular phone, jewellery and the like are adequately covered. Don’t forget about loss of income cover if you are self-employed especially or run a business.

Gerhard van der Linde, MD of Seeff Pretoria East says that it is also recommended that you store vital records and documents such as identification documents, insurance policies and bank accounts in a safe place, preferably a fire proof safe. Ensure that you have a record of the relevant operators and reference or account numbers handy to grab in case of a fast evacuation of your home or emergency.

You may also want to ensure that keys and other necessities are always kept in a place that is quickly accessible in the event of emergency.

In today’s digital world, he says that it is also advisable to make regular back-ups of vital business, financial records and any other digital data that is valuable or sentimental and to store these off-site, preferably with a security company.