Are You Covered for Flood and Water Damage?

Young couple standing with buckets to catch water leaking from their ceiling

The recent, devastating KwaZulu-Natal floods killed hundreds of people and caused damage estimated in the billions of rands. What are the insurance lessons from this disaster?


Unfortunately, deeply unprepared without knowing what steps to take to future-proof for another disaster. In South Africa, that's the state in which most people affected by floods find themselves when facing this kind of crisis. Amidst the resulting heartache and upheaval, floods significantly impact home and business owners who discover big gaps in their insurance cover, especially in relation to water damage.

As climate change continues to wreak havoc with the weather, it's clear that the kind of devastation caused by the KZN floods may be a sign of things to come. Yet, when it comes to floods and water damage, there are ways to protect yourself to avoid drowning in debt in the aftermath.

Read more: Is Your Insurance Cover Ready for Climate Change?


Insurance Experts Share the Following Tips:

Insure everything

Preparing for the worst may not be the most optimistic approach, but in today's unpredictable world, it's a necessity. Having a wide range of insurance policies in place means that should a flood wash through your home or business premises, you'll be covered for the damage.


Those who are fully covered can take comfort in knowing that the necessary insurance policies will kick into gear when disaster strikes. These could include structural damage policies, Home Contents Cover, Car Insurance, Business Insurance, Medical Aid, Life Insurance, and so on. Floods could be small or massively destructive. If it's the latter, the comfort in knowing that insurance will make sure that your finances aren't collateral damage is priceless.


Know what you're covered for...

Do you know the difference between Home Insurance and Building Insurance? They're not the same thing. Building Insurance covers you for issues like burst pipes and other structural damage caused by water, fire or storms. Home Insurance, meanwhile, focuses on the contents inside your walls. Some of those contents – like laptops and cellphones – are classified as portable possessions or can have their own standalone cover.

Learn more: How to Compare Different Types of Cellphones

Car Insurance is not just for accidents or theft. It also has you covered should a flood wash your car away. Check the fine print on your policy to ensure that this is the case.

Concerned about the waves of costs you'll incur should your business face flood damage? While there are various features within different business insurance policies, the one that you'll need in the event of flood damage is commercial property insurance. This covers the property on which your business is situated, as well as the physical structure. It includes loss due to fire, theft, and natural disasters, as well as cover for any installed machinery or equipment.

When, as is advisable, you have multiple insurance policies — sometimes with numerous insurance companies — ensure that you file your claims under the right cover to avoid unnecessary complications.


... And what you're not covered for

Knowing what's not included in your insurance cover can limit potential problems. Most standard insurance policies should cover damage caused by storms, floods, wind, hail, and the like, but insurance does not cover damage resulting from a failure of routine maintenance.

So, if you haven't seen to that intermittent leak in the roof since it started five months ago and the rain buckets right onto your previously pristine laminate floors, you're on your own — even though you really did mean to sort it out soon.


Bundle up and save

Did you know that bundling your insurance policies can save you money? Car, Home and Building Insurance are non-negotiable when you're looking at non-life/non-medical insurance products. Unless you have a secret stash of cash in a bank account in the Cayman Islands to cover the fallout when disaster strikes, they're must-haves.
And they need not cost you the equivalent of a monthly plane ticket to the Cayman Islands either. It may be a little-known fact, but many insurers offer special deals and discounts if you combine all three.

Use's zero-cost, hassle-free, done-in-two-minutes online tool to compare quotes for Home Insurance, Building Insurance and Car Insurance.

This article is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.

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