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Stay safe: Replace frayed electrical cords

Stay safe: Replace frayed electrical cords
19-08-12 / Staff Writer

Stay safe: Replace frayed electrical cords

Yet everyday George places himself, his home, his family and his valuables in serious danger.

Why? Well, his mobile phone charger (which is fraying by the cords) remains switched on and plugged into its electrical socket, as is the television, radio, kettle, toaster, stove and the brand new laptop he purchased last weekend. And he still hasn't got round to replacing the broken plug with its aged and cracked cover that powers his bedside lamp maybe this weekend if he has time?

He appears unaware that across the country, damage caused by unsafe electrical usage is the cause of innocent deaths, serious injury and mounting insurance claims.

Eskom's Electricity Safety Week (19 to 23 August 2013) aims to change behaviour like George's, by helping him, and others like him, to understand the dangers associated with electricity usage, and by providing tips on what to do to be safer electricity users.

Santam, South Africa's leading short-term insurer also takes electricity safety very seriously claims Attie Blaauw, Head of Personal Lines Underwriting at Santam.

"We receive lots of claims for damage caused as a result of electrical mishaps"says Blaauw, adding, "Making small basic changes in your everyday behaviour can really help in keeping you, your family, and your possessions safe."

For a start, if George unplugged his electricity devices at night or when they are not in use, he would be seriously managing his exposure to risk.

But despite George's best efforts, accidents do occur, so consumers should also make sure that they correctly insure their everyday electrical items, warns Blaauw.

"Clients often find that they are underinsured because they do not increase insured values as they purchase more valuables, or they have not added specific items to their insurance policy to enjoy wider cover, a fact that unfortunately only comes to light when they make a claim," he says.

"Often consumers get so tied up with everyday life that their insurance, and managing the risks of especially smaller electrical items, sinks to the bottom of their to-do list," says Blaauw

"This is where an intermediary is an important friend to have," he says."They have the experience and knowledge to identify where clients are running unnecessary risks and give the advice necessary to ensure we live safely."

Perhaps George would behave differently if he knew that one of the most common causes of fires is negligent electrical use.

The Eskom safety campaign gives some useful tips that George and others can follow in order to prevent electrical fires. For instance, damaged, worn or frayed electrical cords and broken plugs must be replaced immediately in order to prevent electrical shock and fire. George should also report any trees that are growing near electricity cables as they could damage the cable and cause power outages and electrical fires.

"It is always advisable to check the terms of your policy to see whether you are covered for household fires. An insurance intermediary would again be able to better advice you on the terms of your policy," says Blaauw.

By taking such precautions George could mitigate his risk profile and potentially enjoy more favourable premiums.

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