Home Insurance Explained for South Africans

By Tokkie Ferreira       Last updated Jul. 26, 2017


Household insurance is not something we as home owners like to think about too often.

It brings up images of catastrophes that we would rather not have to deal with, but when emergencies do come up, you have the peace of mind in knowing that you have good insurance to cover the damages.

Every day our homes are at risk. That is life, things happen and when they do it is best to be prepared.

Home insurance is that safety net that you will need to catch you financially for any unforeseen (and expensive) damages.

It is that assurance that all will be well in times of crisis to the home.

It is our goal to keep you safe and protected and we strive to do our best when you need us the most. We offer different coverage to meet your needs and budget.

A great risk that many homeowners face is the fact that they are underinsured. Be aware of your policy and its limitations before you jump in and find yourself not insured with the safety net that you thought to be there.

It is estimated that up to 35% of homeowners find themselves underinsured when tragedy strikes!

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A good home insurance policy should protect your property against:

  • Fire, explosion and lightning storms
  • Malicious damage
  • Damage due to storms, water, wind, flood, snow or hail and earthquake
  • Theft
  • Leaking, overflowing or bursting pipes due to an untimely event. Damage to a water apparatus or oil-fired heating apparatus
  • Damage by wild animals such as baboons and monkeys
  • Loss or damage to the private residence caused by an impact
  • Gradual sinking of land, landslip or land that supports the private residence

Looking at this list, there are so many things that can go wrong with your home and property.

Even small events such as a pipe leakage can cause a considerable amount of damage that can cause the ceiling to be replaced, fixture damage as well as damage to carpets.

Theft occurs when we accidentally leave one door unlocked as we leave the house or thieves simply break in while we are gone.

When purchasing insurance be sure that it covers fires and floods. Not all policies do and you do not want to run the risk of being underinsured.


What should you ideally look for in a home insurance coverage? A great homeowner’s insurance will cover everything that is permanent and immovable within the confines of your boundary lines.

This also includes the garage, gates along with the motors that power the gates, the perimeter walls, swimming pools and pumps, outbuildings and all home fixtures and fittings.

There are two main kinds of insurance to consider:


Building Insurance

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This extensive insurance policy is also known as ‘homeowner’s insurance’ and is meant to protect the home from the risk of structural damage as the result of fire, storm or from a burst geyser, plus other tragedies.

If you apply for a home loan or already have one, this type of insurance is mandatory.

This insurance does not cover the moveable, tangible contents of your home. That falls under Home Contents Insurance (explained below).

This insurance covers the permanent structures of your property. If you plan to purchase this insurance, be aware that it needs to be updated.

Many homeowners do not update their policy. This is crucial as in the event that you do sustain damage under insured conditions, your home will be insured for replacement value at current costs.

Many residents think to insure their house for the market value but, we need to keep in mind that replacement costs differentiate according to the location of the property, finishes, and the design.

To ensure that you are properly insured it is recommended that you get help from an independent property valuation expert. This professional will consider all aspects of your property and guide you fairly.

Another point to keep in mind regarding building insurance is that any damage created through maintenance negligence will not be covered by building insurance.

For instance, if you have a hole in the floor. It will not be covered under your insurance if it had developed from a negligence in the up keep of your home.

It will be covered if it was covered by an identifiable event such as a flood or earthquake. It is important to notify your insurance immediately following the event.


Home Contents Insurance

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The second most popular insurance option is for home contents. This insurance covers all the contents of your home including appliances and furniture. It typically covers against loss, theft, damage, and other tragic circumstances.

Items affixed to the home such as carpets and fixtures are typically not insured under this policy.

Be sure to use the replacement values for each item that you are placing under the insurance coverage. Do not use the market values as they constantly change. Do not place cell phones or computers under the policy as they depreciate very quickly.

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General things to remember about insurance:

  1. You should review your policy every 6 months to ensure that you are properly covered always.
  2. Your monthly premium will mostly be dependent on the loan amount for your property.
  3. Shop around for insurance. Pick the one that fits your needs and your budget – or speak to us.
  4. Sectional title properties are a different matter as they are insured collectively. Consult our firm for more information on this type of insurance and the events that it covers.

It all seems a bit daunting, but home insurance does not have to be scary or intimidating.

Let us discuss the best solution for you, your home and your family to help you make the right decision.

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