Photo by Tina Rataj-Berard on Unsplash
Photo by Tina Rataj-Berard on Unsplash
  • Most insurance companies Business Insider South Africa spoke to say there has been a rise in claims relating to load shedding since the end of 2019. 
  • TVs, monitors and routers are being affected, but food is also at risk. 
  • Protecting your appliance in the right way is key to ensuring your claim is accepted. 
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za

As load shedding continues to burden South African consumers, insurance companies are warning clients that power outages can hit them in ways they least expect.  

Most insurance companies Business Insider South Africa spoke to say there has been a rise in claims relating to load shedding since the end of 2019 – most claims are for TVs, monitors and routers.

This is because power surges, which come as a result of the lights coming back on, can cause instant damage to electrical appliances by melting plastic or metal parts and their burning circuits. 

They say protecting your appliances in the right way should become a priority. Especially now that load shedding is a reality for the next 3 to 5 years.

Here is some of the damage load shedding can cause:

Household appliances

“Appliances like dishwashers, televisions, fridges, coffee machines and sound systems, are damaged due to power surges which occur when power is switched on after load shedding,” said a King Price spokesperson. 

Online insurer Pineapple says in its experience TVs and monitors are most affected, followed by decoders and routers.

“We have also seen claims for very expensive computer equipment and this can be avoided by making use of UPS (uninterrupted power supply) systems,” a King Price spokesperson said. 

According to the insurer, while surge protectors and UPS systems are not cheap and can therefore not always be connected to every appliance, you should at least protect the expensive items like televisions and sound systems. 

Road accidents

Road collisions can increase as the the lights go dark due to load shedding.

Theft

When it comes to theft during load shedding, Marius Neethling, personal lines underwriting manager at Santam, said that the insurer will insure you, provided you maintain and service your alarm system regularly. 

“Upon reporting this claim, you must prove that the circumstances of non-adherence of policy conditions were beyond your control. You must also ensure that alarms are in working order and are activated if your home is left unattended,” he says. 

Food going bad

There has been a slight increase in food deterioration claims from when fridges and freezers burn out and your food defrosts before you can eat it all, said Dialdirect. While your fridge and freezer supplies should be okay without power over night if you do not open and close it repeatedly, some home owners stand to lose a lot if it's longer periods. If you’re worried about certain food items, prepare an ice-box for these. Food deterioration is one of the more bespoke offerings that Dialdirect say it covers, and not all insurance companies are willing to do so.

How to ensure that your claim is successful

Your back-up power must be professionally installed

If you are thinking of going the off-the-grid route – with supplementing your power with generators, solar systems and inverters – they must be installed by accredited electricians and technicians, or else no cover. 

“Incorrect installation of this may result in fire and these damages will not be covered in circumstances where installation was faulty,” according to a King Price spokesperson.

Protect your alarm battery 

Another concern should be theft as a result of your alarm battery back up or electric fence failing. It is up to the homeowner to prove they have been maintained regularly.

Update the wiring in your home

Neethling says homeowners must make sure that the wiring in their homes has been updated. Many homes built prior to the 1980s are not equipped to handle today’s modern devices and may run the risk of power surges. Signs that your wiring is outdated are frequent blown fuses or tripped circuits – important signs that should not be ignored. 

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