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Householders' Insurance
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Tapping expertise

A burst geyser might happen only once in thirty years; and that time could be up tomorrow, which is why insurance is so important to cover all manner of risks, however remote they might be.

Companies and organisations generally are encouraging a move toward safer and more efficient use of energy. The normal household domestic geyser simmers away lots of electricity. Imagine leaving your kettle on all the time, only it is not boiling two litres but two hundred and fifty litres of water. A burst geyser may well be a darn nuisance but it is an opportunity to have a more energy efficient unit installed, using part solar energy for example. And if you have a good household policy the energy upgrade may not cost you anything at all.
So the first thing is to check your insurance policy with a special note of the terms and conditions.
Comments Mandy Barrett of Aon South Africa, “Not all insurance policies are created equal and home owners need to make sure they are properly covered for the replacement costs of the geyser, burst pipes and any resultant damage to ceilings, walls, carpets, lighting and electrical wiring under their buildings cover.”
A good policy will cover you comprehensively for replacement of the damaged apparatus (geyser or pipes) as well as any subsequent damage to the building as a result of water damage.
“Some policies only provide cover for resultant damage and do not cover the replacement of the geyser and pipes, the replacement cost of which can run into thousands of rands,” Barrett warns. “Some insurers also stipulate an excess per item claimed for, rather than one excess on the total claim.”
It is important to remember that a burst geyser involves two areas of cover so be sure you own both a house owner’s policy (that covers the physical property, geysers, fixed carpets and generally anything attached permanently to the house such as kitchen cupboards); and a household contents policy (that covers what’s inside such as furniture, jewellery, clothes and electrical appliances). A burst geyser will involve a claim for damage to the building and for the damage to contents.
Another point to consider if faced with replacing a geyser is to upgrade the unit to a green, sustainable energy solution. Insurers such as Santam are offering clients the opportunity to replace their damaged geysers with solar or heat pump options, allowing the client to pay in the difference between the insurance pay out and the cost of the green water heating system. The balance payable by the client could even be recouped through the Eskom rebate programme, which refunds the client a significant percentage on certain solar and heat pump options. 
Long term, a customer will save a significant amount on his monthly utility bill — some estimate as much as a 40% saving is possible. “Given the recent sharp increases in the cost of electricity, it’s a great option for consumers to take control of their costs, as well as use their energy resources more efficiently,” explains Mandy. 
Once installed, remember to add your solar or heat pump asset to your building insurance cover. “Any new additions add to the replacement value of your property so make sure you list it under your homeowner’s insurance which covers the bricks and mortar, structure and fixtures of your home.
In the event of a burst geyser or pipes take the following prompt action:
• Switch off the geyser electrical isolator switch on the main distribution board.
• Turn off the water mains and the stopcock fitted to the inlet pipe of the geyser.
• Contact your broker and make arrangements for an accredited plumber to assist you.
• It’s always a good idea to install a drip tray under the geyser as this will catch any leaking water and in the event of a major burst, a large percentage of the water should be directed from the tray via a pipe to the outside of the roof and minimise damage to ceilings.

Copyright © Insurance Times and Investments® Vol:25.9 1st September, 2012
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