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News Room

6 Tips For Choosing The Right Building Insurance

Jason Snyman
2020-01-22
You’ve recently purchased or built a home, and in order to protect it, getting the right building insurance in place is the next big step. Here are a few tips for choosing the right insurance.

Homeowners get three main types of insurance to choose from. These are Building Insurance, Household Contents Insurance and lastly, Personal Valuables Insurance.

The first of these may go by many names, and that's what we'll be talking about today. Call it Building Insurance, Home Insurance or Homeowners Insurance; they’re pretty much one and the same thing, and possibly the most important type of insurance you'll ever get. 

As the saying goes; home is where the heart is, and covering your greatest asset is important.

Few people could afford to pay a massive lump sum on home repairs in the event of catastrophic damage, which could be caused by anything from fire, flooding, lightning, heavy winds or an earthquake.

Building Insurance ensures that the physical structure of your home or business is covered against these types of risk. 

From flooding due to a huge storm, a burst water pipe or even a geyser, water damage is one of the most frequent occurrences to affect a home. Fire is right behind it, from a raging wildfire to an electrical fault in your home. Lightning is, likewise, one of the top reasons for claim submission in South Africa, as it could have a huge impact on the electrical integrity of the building. 

It isn’t compulsory to own such a policy in South Africa, except for when homeowners find themselves in need of a home loan. In such a case, most banks consider it an obligatory requirement.

  • The policy covers the building structure of your home against accidental loss or damage;
  • This includes loss or damage from fire, theft, flooding, lightning or even a drunkard ploughing their car through your wall;
  • This kind of cover may also extend to other structures on the property such as swimming pools, outhouses, car garages, etc. This depends on the insurance company you’re with;
  • It also applies to permanent fixtures in your house, such as fitted kitchens, bathtubs, toilets, etc;
  • In addition, some insurers will be willing to offer Personal Liability Cover and Building Insurance as a package deal. This is to protect you from any third party claims when somebody else suffers accidental injury, death or illness on your property. This includes any loss or damage to the property of any third parties, such as when you chop a bunch of cacti down in your yard, and a few months later they grow back skew, and collapse onto somebody’s car in your driveway. Which may or may not have happened to the author of this article.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind.

All three of the above-mentioned types of insurance (Household Contents, Personal Liability and Building) can get a little bit complicated, and it's important to chat to your broker before deciding which to get. 

Building Insurance, in particular, can be challenging. 

So, here are a few useful tips which will help you make the right choice in insurer, and help you get the best out of your policy.

1. Choose Wisely

Most insurance companies offer great Building Insurance options. You need to assess your needs and choose the policy which suits it best. It's always wise to opt for comprehensive cover, which covers the widest range of events.

2. Be Honest

Always remain honest about the value of your property when completing insurance applications. Otherwise, when the time comes to claim, you might find yourself underinsured and will need to fork out a lot of additional money for repairs.

3. Keep Up With The Maintenance

It’s important to maintain your property properly. Fix the leaking roof, replace faulty plumbing, etc. If you’ve recently done this, your monthly premium will probably be lower. If, however, you’ve left your house to fall into disrepair and it’s permanently on the verge of falling down, the insurance company might not cover you when it’s time to claim.

4. Know Your Policy

Make sure you know exactly what your policy includes and excludes. If you live in the Highveld, for example, and the area is prone to lightning storms or flooding or burglary, you need to know that you’re covered for that before signing on the dotted line.

5. Plan For Construction

If you have intentions of renovating or building anything new on your property, a little bit of foresight goes a long way. Avoid flammable building materials such as wood, and opt for weather-hardy materials such as concrete or brick instead.

6. Keep The Insurer In The Loop

This goes for all types of insurance. If you make any changes or renovations to your property, inform your insurer immediately to ensure that you’re covered.

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