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All about Buildings Insurance

This article is about buildings insurance for your home i.e. the structure of your home and outbuildings. We discuss replacement costs, and other hidden costs of buildings destruction or damage. Also covered are insured events such as settlement, subsidence and landslip.

You can get insurance for your private residential house or houses, the outbuildings, fences, swimming pools and tennis courts against events like fire, flood damage, subsidence, landslip and more.

Your property cover

Please take note Buildings Insurance is also known as Home owners cover.

Your Home Owner's Comprehensive insurance policy should cover the full replacement cost of your property. The replacement cost which is also known as the Sum Insured Value, is the cost to restore your property to its former condition, should an insured event happen. Of great importance, is to understand that this replacement cost represents all the costs to rebuild your home, not the market value of your property. Thus the insured value is often much higher than the market value of your property.

As was seen with home contents insurance if you are not adequately insured, you could be subjected to under-insurance penalties if you have a claim.

Valuable tips Read this article for more on replacement cost and under-insurance.

Important tips on buildings cover

  • With regards to renovating your property - if you have done any renovations or alterations to your property since it was last valued, you must inform your insurer so that they can update your sum insured value. Remember if your insured value is lower than reality, you will be under-insured.

  • Property maintenance is not covered by the Insurer. It is your responsibility to maintain your home and ensure it is kept in a good condition. It is suggested that you regularly do waterproofing, cut trees where required, look after and see to proper drainage in and around your property, ensure that you clean your gutters to prevent water clogging and build-up, clean gutters and drains, fix any leakages.

This will prevent massive once-off costly headaches. These will help you preserve the value and quality of your home.

  • This policy covers your property for residential use as a private dwelling - not for any business or commercial use. If your property is used for business purposes and this in not shown on the Certificate of Insurance, contact your insurer to ensure that the correct risk is insured as this could affect the validity of potential claims.

The many benefits of Buildings Insurance

If your home is ever damaged or destroyed the costs can be exorbitant. For example just calling a fire brigade can be costly, and for your account! This is where a buildings insurance policy will be a lifesaver.

What an insurer will pay for in the case of buildings damage or destruction:

  • fire brigade costs
  • mains connections
  • public authorities requirements costs
  • cost of demolition and professional fees such as architects, quantity surveyors and consulting engineers fees, local authorities scrutiny fees
  • loss or water due to leaking pipes on your property
  • removal of fallen trees
  • liability to the public
  • amongst others...

If you have buildings cover, and your property is destroyed by an insured event (see below list), the insurer will reinstate it. If your property is damaged by an insured event, the insurer will repair the damaged part as near as possible to its pre-Loss state.

Fixtures and fittings
Refer to and include items such as built-in furniture (fixed to the walls or to the floor), wall-to-wall carpeting, bathroom and kitchen fittings and permanent security systems

Factors that drive your buildings insurance premiums

  Some of the main drivers of your buildings premiums are:

 -  Your updated Sum Insured Value
 -  Changing weather patterns that cause an increase in weather related claims experiences of insurers
 -  The weakening of the Rand makes imported goods more expensive (try replacing goods at today's prices!)
 -  Replacement costs means including other costs associated with rebuilding i.e. professional fees, debris removal, demolition costs etc.

Other value added Home assistance services

These benefits should be available to assist you in household emergencies: locksmiths, electricians, plumbers, builders, tree fellers, glaziers, pest control services, poll care specialists, white appliance repairs, assistance with burst geysers, leaks, overflowing, broken valves and geyser parts.

Please take note If your property has a thatch roof - inform your insurer, as there is a thatch premium applicable, as this type of roof holds higher risk.

Your insurer will allow you to make capital additions such as alterations, additions or improvements to your property within certain limits of total sum insured e.g. not exceeding 15% of total sum insured, and provided that you advise insurer of such alterations and improvement. Additional premium may apply.

Note: Buildings insurance does NOT cover the maintenance of your home!

Insured Events or the risks that you are generally covered for

  • Fire, lightning, explosion.
  • Malicious damage, excluding Loss arising from theft or attempted theft.
  • Storm, wind, water, hail or snow with certain exclusions
  • Settlement
  • Subsidence
  • Landslip
means the downward movement of ground due to the force of any weight imposed on it.
means the downward movement of land from causes unrelated to the buildings.
means the downward or sideways movement of sloping ground resulting from stresses and loading exceeding the available strength of the ground. These causes might be natural or un-natural.
  • Earthquake
  • bursting, leaking or overflowing of water or oil from tanks, apparatus or pipes (including damage to the items) if the damage resulted due to the faulty apparatus.
  • theft or attempted theft, provided that if the Dwelling is Vacant there is forcible and violent entry or exit.
  • impact with the Dwelling or outbuilding, containing the Insured Property by vehicles, animals, aircrafts, other aerial devices, or anything that fall from them, or falling trees except in the event of trees being felled by any person.
  • power surge
    source: Insurer policy wording

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