South Africans have by now become used to checking load shedding schedules on a daily basis, and planning their activities around these. However, a recent consumer survey has revealed that many households are not taking adequate steps to minimise damage and loss during load shedding.
A recent client survey by Santam showed most respondents (63%) do not switch off their appliances before load shedding to prevent power surge damage to them when the power comes on again. Almost a third of respondents said that their appliances had been damaged as a result of load shedding. Only 21% make use of generators, but of these, a full 30% are not sure that their generators are SABS certified and properly connected.
Many South Africans make use of alternative light sources that are potentially a fire risk – 65% of the survey respondents used candles, 24% used gas lamps and 18% made use of paraffin lamps. Load shedding results in increased risk of damage to sensitive electronic items as well as fires. Opportunistic crime as a result of security systems not operating properly has also increased,” says Marius Neethling, Personal Lines Underwriting Manager at Santam.
Neethling provides the following tips to minimise damage and loss during load shedding:
- Arriving or leaving home: Ensure that you are especially alert when arriving or leaving your home after dark, as the street lights and your outside lighting may not be functioning.
- Automated gates and garage doors: Ensure that you have alternative ways to enter and exit your home if your electric security gates and garage door are not functioning due to load shedding. Keep the keys to the gate motors in an accessible place.
- Alternative light sources: Invest in solar, camping, battery operated or LED lights, which are much safer than candles or paraffin lamps.
- Generators: Make sure your generator is professionally installed, and never store more than 20 litres of fuel in your house. Test your generator frequently, and remember to have a fire extinguisher of at least 4.5kg on site.
- Surge protection: You can buy a surge protector for your electric mains board, as well as surge protector plug adaptors, at most leading hardware stores. Surge protectors should be installed by a certified electrician.
- Electric fencing: Your electric fence should have a back-up battery, which needs to be tested regularly and replaced if needed.
Santam remains ready to assist policyholders with any claims resulting from power cuts. For example, if additional cover is taken out, we will protect household contents against power surges,” says Neethling.
Reasons to insure with Santam
Santam is South Africa’s largest short-term insurer, insuring risks of over R4 trillion. We also offer the following cover and benefits on personal lines policies:
- Minimum cover against power surges of R5 000 with an excess of R500. You can opt to increase the limit by paying an additional premium; and
- Cover for deterioration of contents of refrigerators should load shedding exceeds 24 hours.
Request a quote
Speak to your broker or call us on 0860 444 444 for more information about cover for load shedding.
Visit our home advice page for more useful tips.