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Insurance for solar and electric geysers

The inclusion of insurance for water heating systems such as geysers is common – and expected – under every available building insurance policy. Over the last few years new types of heating systems have become increasingly popular and there is a growing trend to install alternative heating systems such as solar geysers, heat pumps and gas-powered heating systems.

Most insurance policies will automatically include cover for an electric geyser and usually accommodates other types of geysers without any special policy endorsement. There are some considerations that will ensure sufficient indemnity cover for the full installation.

Electric geysers are by far the most common. It comprises a reservoir to hold and heat the water, various accessories such as valves and vacuum breakers, water supply and electricity supply from the property’s electricity grid. The current available insurance includes insuring the reservoir for failure – also known as a burst geyser – and the replacement of certain components such as thermostats and elements in case of failure.

Solar powered geysers are somewhat different in that your power supply to heat the water comes from solar installation. With solar, the power supply may either be attached to the reservoir or a separate but linked installation. Insurers will regard the reservoir as the geyser and provide insurance as they would for an electric geyser. With the solar receptors being located on the outside of the building, these are exposed to different insurance risks such as storm, lightning and hail. These parts of the geyser installation will usually not be covered under the geyser insurance portion of the policy. Therefore, the insured must ensure that their insurance cover also includes sufficient cover for the solar receptors.

Like solar geysers, gas heating systems should also be approached differently with regards to insurance. Additional insurance perils such as fire and explosion need to be considered and accommodated. The issues relating to compliant installation are more complex compared to electrical or solar geysers and may have a significant effect on insurance if not completed correctly.

Heat pumps are designed to provide hot water instantly and will not have the usual water reservoir found in a traditional geyser installation. They may also have an alternative form of power supply, such as gas.  Heat pumps are unlikely to be included under the geyser cover of an insurance policy. The insured must therefore ensure that their heat pump installation is noted on the insurance policy and that the correct cover is provided. Cover for heat pumps is usually best issued under the Machinery Breakdown section of a policy.

A further concern that must be noted is that many insurers do not include cover under their geyser section for reservoirs that are three hundred litres and more. While the larger capacity reservoir appears to be more popular among the solar geyser installations, some electric geyser installations may also include a higher capacity reservoir. In such instances, the insurer may insist that these geyser installations must be included under the Machinery Breakdown section of their policy. Failure to do so may result in claims being rejected.

As in everything relating to property insurance, it is vital that the insured have a full understanding of the property they own and communicate this information to their broker. A specialist property broker such as Addsure will be well-acquainted with the needs of property owners as well as the various terms and conditions of the specialised property insurance products available.


Author: Bruce Gibson

Contact Addsure – The Leaders in Sectional Title Insurance – to get fit and proper advice from advisors who understand sectional title. Contact us in Johannesburg on (011) 704-3858; in Durban on (031) 459-1795 and in Cape Town on (021) 551-5069