Over the last few years, the storms see to be intensifying across the country, causing increasing degrees of property damage each year. While severe storms do occur from time to time, it appears they are occurring more frequently.
Correspondingly, the insurance industry is seeing an increase in the settlement of storm related claims, both in the quantity and quantum of claims. It is also possible that modern building practices and the quality of some property developments are resulting in structures that are not adequately prepared to cope with severe weather.
For reasons stated above, it has become increasingly important for property owners – particularly those in community schemes – to ask themselves if they are prepared for the coming storms.
As a vital component of caring for your property, maintenance is neglected all too often. There are many reasons property owners ignore or avoid maintenance. The joy and satisfaction of owning our own home can very quickly turn into frustration and despair when the effects of poor maintenance begin to take over.
How to prepare our property to avoid or minimise the risk of damage
Wind: All roofing and windows should be checked regularly to ensure that roof sheets, tiles and window panes are secure and properly installed. Other fixtures such as gutters, facia boards, aerials, satellite dishes and awnings must be properly maintained and secured. Anything that may be loose should be fastened should be maintained properly. It must be noted that items ripped from a building by wind will land somewhere and may cause damage, injury or even death.
Rain/Water. Roof and window waterproofing are often neglected or poorly installed. The roof is an area of a building that often gets ignored – out of sight, out of mind. Plastic roof underlays installed to keep out water deteriorate over time. Wind-driven rain will find its way under tiles or roof sheets and with no water proofing underlay, it can cause interior damage. This should be checked periodically.
Where windows have been replaced by aluminium frames, inadequate water proofing is a common problem and property owners are plagued by leaks.
Gutters, down pipes and drains may be blocked due to soil build-up or vegetation growth. Plants growing or dead vegetation lying in water courses must be cleared. A build-up of water, instead of it flowing away, may have devastating consequences. Soil subsides and retaining walls collapse causing significant damage, much of which will not be covered by insurance. Soil previously displaced by water should be removed or repacked to prevent further displacement and resultant damage.
Lightning. If your property is in an area frequented by lightning, take the steps to ensure your electronics are protected. Simple power surge protection measures go a long way toward protecting your electric fence, gate motor and access control; not to mention security lighting, alarm systems and even elevators.
Prevention is better than cure
Learn from the past. If your property has experiences previous, recurring damage from storms, take preventative measures before the next storm. Be sure to let your insurer know about this in writing with suitable evidence of the measures taken.
By taking some reasonable measures to maintain your property and to prepare it for the coming storms, you can avoid the frustration, anxiety and expense of unnecessary repairs and reinstatement, especially when insurance is not obligated to assist.
Author: Bruce Gibson
Addsure is South Africa’s leading sectional title insurance brokerage. Obtain fit and proper advice from advisors who understand sectional title. Contact our head office in Cape Town (021) 551 5069 who will put you directly in touch with one of our nationwide advisors.