Johannesburg - The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) today issued a statement extending its sympathy to all those impacted by the recent storms that hit parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal.
The storms that lifted residential housing roofs in some parts of northern Johannesburg inflicted a lot of damage and misery to the impacted citizens. In some parts of KwaZulu Natal, the storms left a number of motorists stranded in the middle of national roads with some fleeing their cars fearing being swept away with the raging waters over bridges.
In its statement, the association stated that storms such as these which cause extensive damage to property and vehicles highlight the importance of protecting one’s assets to reduce hardship following such devastation. It said one way in which assets can be protected is by purchasing the correct insurance cover to protect consumers and businesses against costly damages.
The SAIA is the voice of 56 short-term insurance companies. The association, which represents the short-term insurance industry at all levels and with all stakeholders said: “Insurers do provide cover for damage caused by extreme weather conditions to assist consumers in rebuilding their lives when affected by storms. Consumers are therefore urged to contact their insurer to ensure if they have the correct cover in place,” stated the association.
It also encouraged consumers to follow these tips to avoid and/or minimise damage during a storm:
- When driving on the highway, try to stay in the middle lane as water tends to pool in the outside lanes
- Keep a very close eye on the brake-lights ahead and maintain a safe following distance
- Ensure that lights and hazards are switched on
- If possible, park your car under a secure shelter or cover it with a protective shield such as a blanket or car mats
- Ensure that you have saved a road assistance number on your cell phone, which is usually offered by motor insurance providers - these services are available every day of the year; and
- Check weather alerts and try not to travel far distances in severe storms
- Unplug all electronic equipment as soon as thunder is heard
- Stay away from all plumbing, including toilets, sinks and taps, as water is a conductor of electricity
- Always ensure that you maintain your building (replace broken roof tiles, fix broken gutters, replace aging infrastructure) as damage which results from wear and tear/lack of maintenance is not covered by your insurance policy.
“At this stage, insurers are dealing with claims as quickly as possible, therefore the number and value of claims costs will not be known for some time. In addition to this, determining the total cost of this disaster will be extremely lengthy as losses incurred not only relate to property damage,” concluded the association.