How climate could affect your insurance

In a world of climate change deniers and activists, it's impossible for most of the population not to be aware of the on-going climate change debate. Do we, or do we not make sure that our homes and other permanent structures are both capable of withstanding weather-related natural disasters which may cause income and possession loss?

One of the industries most concerned with issues surrounding weather anomalies is the insurance industry. Every year, since 1970, statistics confirm a steady increase in the number of insurance claims when it comes to buildings and other man-made structures. Sometimes the damage caused by natural events is upwards of billions of rands. This is why the insurance industry considers damage caused by hail, storms and drought as something to focus their attention on in order to reduce the risk both for clients and themselves. In this sense, attempts have been made to provide the best Home Insurance deals while remaining mindful of the vulnerability profile (which includes the risk of natural disasters) of clients.


How climate could affect your insurance


Hail may not be high on the list but since its creation requires an environment with strong updrafts of air (the type found in tornado zones), it's a safe bet to make that hail hardly falls in calm weather. Hailstones can range in size from small, millimetre-sized stones to the largest measured hailstone at 47.3cm in circumference. It's also a safe bet that when the larger types of hailstones do fall, you don't want to be unprepared in terms of insurance. When conducting your Home and Buildings insurance comparisons before you sign on the dotted line, you should always keep in mind that most insurers consider hail and floods under comprehensive cover. This means you should look twice both at the policy and the fine-print.


However, if you ever find yourself in a situation where you're already stuck in a hailstorm and you're afraid that there will be ensuing damage to your car, there are basic tips which could reduce your claim:

  1. Move off the road as quickly as possible. Any place where there's shelter of some sort - whether it's underground parking or a petrol station should help reduce the damage to your car. If you can't find a sheltered place to park, stopping the car on the side of the road away from traffic is also a good alternative. Because of two little things call terminal velocity and inertia, the hailstone will always cause more damage to your car while it's moving than when it's standing still. In other words, a still car is a safer car.
  2. Once you arrive home and where you normally park has no shelter or garage, cover your car with a thick blanket or duvet to minimise the damage of hailstones.


In South Africa, we're lucky because our weather conditions remain consistent on an annual basis. Since South Africa is located in a subtropical part of the world and the temperature is buffered by oceans on all three sides of the country, we have mostly sunshine as our default weather pattern. We're prone to violent thunderstorms, which is why adding hail damage cover to your existing Home, Buildings or Motor Vehicle insurance policy is a good idea. After all, it’s better to be safer than sorry.

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