Consumers Urged to Protect Against Severe Weather
The recent severe hailstorms in Gauteng, which have damaged both buildings and vehicles, highlights the importance of having the correct insurance cover in place to protect consumers and businesses against costly damages. Zakes Sondiyazi, Motor Manager at the South African Insurance Association (SAIA), says that consumers are not always aware whether their insurance policies cover the damages which can be caused by extreme weather conditions.
He says it is therefore crucial for consumers to read their policies carefully and understand the implications of the terms and clauses. On the other hand, it is also the responsibility of the insurer to help the insured understand the policy by explaining the fine print in layman’s terms, he adds.
Sondiyazi advises that consumers take the time to go through insurance policies carefully, and get clarification on clauses they are unsure of. He also provides the following tips to avoid and/or minimise hail damage during a storm:
- When driving on the highway, try to stay in the middle lane as water tends to pool in the outside lanes;
- Keep a very close eye on the brake-lights ahead and maintain a safe following distance;
- Ensure that lights and hazards are switched on;
- If possible, park your car under a secure shelter or cover it with a protective shield such as a blanket or car mats;
- Ensure that you have saved a road assistance number on your cell phone, which is usually offered by motor insurance provider - these services are available every day of the year; and
- Check weather alerts and try not to travel far distances in severe storms.
Unplug all electronic equipment as soon as thunder is heard;
Stay away from all plumbing, including toilets, sinks and taps, as water is a conductor of electricity.