Fire and flood insurance - are you prepared?

Several severe, seasonal fires have ravaged the Western Cape over the last two months, fuelled by high temperatures and strong winds. At the same time, the north of South Africa has been battling heavy floods. Both have left trails of destruction in their wake - with the insurance industry expected to bear the financial burden. These phenomena illustrate just how vulnerable we all are to weather and fire catastrophes.

Why you need fire & flood insurance
Do a quick mental check: do you have adequate cover to rebuild your home or replace your entire business stock if you lost everything in a flood or fire tomorrow? If not, you need to talk to your broker today.

The unpredictable nature of fire and floods mean that either have the capacity to devastate your business or home at any time. Adequate flood and fire cover, included in your homeowners’ and business insurance policy, will provide essential protection for your financial well-being. This cover will help you recover from the losses resulting from a flood or fire and its allied perils with the necessary repair work, buying replacements for damaged household goods or restoring business stock.

Who needs fire & flood insurance?
While fire insurance is useful to almost everyone who owns property, some businesses have a higher flood or fire risk, depending on the industry or area in which you operate. Industries that are more prone to fires include the waste industry, paper mills and the textile industry, to name a few. In terms of being at risk of floods, if you live or work in low-lying areas or near a large body of water, your home or business will fall into a higher flood risk category.

There are a range of factors that influence the cost of fire and flood insurance, such as the size of your business, the industry you operate in, your location, etc. It is best to discuss these factors with your broker.

Our advice to business or homeowners is to check - at least every year - that your insurance policies allow for the current and accurate replacement value of your insured assets to avoid finding yourself under insured.

Under insurance occurs when there is a shortfall between the amount of cover selected and the actual replacement value of the insured goods. The result is that you will only be paid a proportional part of your claim which may ruin your business or family financially.

Preventing fires
Your home or business should always be equipped with fire-fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers and always adhere to fire prevention requirements to minimise the impact of fires.

Some business fire prevention measures include practising good workplace housekeeping, maintenance of machinery to prevent overheating and sparks due to friction, and keeping chemicals safe. Your broker can arrange for an inspection at your premises to provide a comprehensive report on how you can improve your property’s fire prevention plan.

Home fire prevention measures includes: never leave your stove unattended when you are cooking, keeping towels and curtains away from flames, regular safety checks of electrical wiring and appliances, never place extension cords under rugs and to not allow lamp shades to make contact with electric bulbs.

Good advice
Fire and Allied Perils Insurance protects your belongings and stock against fire, earthquakes, water damage, lightning, explosions, hail, snow and similar hazards that can damage your business. A qualified and experienced broker will be able to provide good advice based on your unique risk profile, individual needs and budget.

For more information, please contact your Garrun broker who can help you build a well-rounded insurance selection to address every eventuality.