Find an insurance company that will give you peace of mind
Home insurance can refer to building insurance which covers the physical structure of a home or home contents cover which covers items inside the home like furniture and appliances.
Sometimes contents insurance can also refer to the third category of insurance; portable insurance which provides cover for items you normally take out and about with you such as watches, jewellery, handbags, laptops, and mobile phones.
What are the different types of insurance?
The two types of home insurance include building insurance and home contents insurance.
- Building insurance covers your physical property (which includes walls, floors, windows, doors, locks, roofing, palisade fencing, and outbuildings) against destruction and damage.
- Home contents insurance covers all the items in your home. This can also be extended to portable valuables insurance which will cover the items you take out of your home with you such as the jewellery which you wear or your cell phone or laptop. It is important to note that portable valuables insurance is an expensive add-on to your household insurance.
Is Household insurance mandatory?
It is not a legal requirement. However, when you apply for a home loan for the house that you are buying you will have to provide your lender with proof of building insurance as the house itself serves as collateral for your mortgage.
This ensures that their investment is protected in the sense that should any serious loss or damage occurs, the building insurance cover will kick in and allow for restoration to the previous value.
Home contents insurance will not be required by your lender but it is still important insurance to have because if your home is seriously damaged by a fire or water episode then the items inside your house will also need to be replaced. Your building insurance will not cover the cost of the items inside your house. The replacement of these items will need to be covered by contents insurance.
Why is it important?
Building insurance is extremely important because it will cover you in the event that your home is seriously damaged or destroyed by a fire, explosion, weather-related event, or a host of other events.
The payout will allow you to affect the necessary repair or even completely rebuild your home to get it back to the state it was before the event.
Your household insurance will allow you to replace any items in the home that may have been damaged such as your electrical appliances and furniture. Your clothing and other personal belongings will also fall under your contents insurance and not your building insurance policy.
Some home insurance policies will also provide third-party liability cover that will cover you should anyone get hurt or suffer property damage or loss while on your property.
Building insurance cover vs Household insurance cover
Building insurance will cover the structures on your property. This can include your house and any other buildings such as garages or outbuildings that you may have on your property.
Building insurance will cover the costs of repairs to any structural damage to the buildings on your property from either accidents, fires or natural disasters. This type of insurance will also include things like your boundary wall and gate motors.
An accident such as a burst geyser will be covered by your building insurance. Any damage that may be caused by the water during this event will also be covered. If any of your appliances are damaged by the water then you will have to claim their value from your contents insurance.
Gradual wear and tear such as leaking pipes or taps or cracks in walls and peeling paint are not covered by building insurance but rather seen as maintenance at the homeowner’s expense.
Building insurance also often offers you the option of helping you to pay for alternative accommodation should your home be unsafe to inhabit while repairs are being made.
Household insurance will cover everything that is moveable inside your home. This will include your electronics, clothes and other personal items.
It is important to note that you can claim from this insurance for accidental damage and in the case of theft. Many times electronics malfunction due to load shedding. Your insurance will be able to assist you in replacing these items should you need to.
How much does Home insurance cost in South Africa?
The building insurance will depend on the value of the property and the number of outbuildings being insured, your past claims history. You should insure these buildings for the amount of money that you will need to replace these buildings. This should include your construction costs as well as fittings such as tiles and cupboards.
Your household insurance should cover the replacement value of the moveable items inside your home. You will be paid out the replacement value of the item you lost and not necessarily the value of a new or upgraded item that you will replace it with. This insurance amount will really depend on what items you have in your home and their original value.
How are the premiums calculated?
Every year your insurance provider will increase your home contents insurance by a certain percentage. This is to take into account any items that you may have replaced and are therefore now of a higher value or any items that you may have added to your home.
Your provider will send you an inventory sheet and an updated cover amount and premium amount. It is a good idea to use the inventory sheet and go through your home to calculate the value of your items to make sure you are correctly insured.
How does the excess work?
Your excess is based on a set figure or percentage that is specified in your policy schedule and will be deducted from the final payout amount of your claim.
You can negotiate this amount with your insurance provider before taking out your policy. Often they will add on a small amount to your monthly premiums as a price for an excess waiver if you so wish.
Why is my insurance so expensive?
It can expensive because properties, as well as home contents, can be expensive to replace. Keep in mind that your premiums will depend on the required replacement value that you need to be insured for. You should also be careful of not under or over-insuring your properties and their contents as this will have a negative effect on your claims and their payouts.
Why do insurance premiums go up?
Premiums may go up over time not only as a result of inflation but also because the cost of rebuilding your home or replacing your home contents will also increase over time.
Your claim history can also have an impact on not only your insurance quotes but also your premiums in the future.
Is Household insurance worth it?
You have collected all of the items in your home over your lifetime. Should these be damaged by a fire or a flood or should you be the victim of a break-in you will have the peace of mind that you can replace your belongings with this type of insurance assisting you.
You can also claim from your insurance should a large ticket appliance in your home break or if you lose your jewellery. Just keep in mind that each time you claim it will affect your premiums.
Find the best insurance provider
While the cost may be the deciding factor in choosing a specific insurer, looking at the provider and their ratings will help you find the best provider.
You should also take into account your excess amounts and you can consider bundling your building contents and car insurance as this often offers you a saving.
How to make an insurance claim
Making an insurance claim begins with managing the situation in your home and limiting the damage being caused as much as possible. This means calling emergency services and taking action to affect immediate emergency repairs.
Take photos of all the damage as soon as possible and should any damage be caused by vandalism or burglary, you must report the incident to the police and get a case number.
You must then contact your insurer as soon as possible to begin the claims process which will require you to complete a claims form as well as provide supporting documentation as per the insurer’s requirements.
You will also need quotations to replace or repair the items or structures that you wish to claim from your home insurance.