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Buildings Insurance

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What is Buildings Insurance?

Buildings insurance is insurance that covers your physical house structure from damage or loss due to insured events. Insured events will be listed in your buildings insurance policy but often include acts of nature and unforeseen events like fires and burst geysers. Insurance providers such as banks or insurance companies will pay for the repair of the structure if it gets damaged. But only in an insured event, and in return you pay a monthly premium.

What Does Buildings Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance coverage includes the structure of your home or the insured building, the gate, fence, driveway, swimming pool, garden shed, and other permanent fixtures. Some policies include porcelain fixtures, too. The insurer will pay out to fix these items if they get damaged due to natural disasters like storms, floods, and earthquakes. Other events they often cover include fire, theft, explosion, impact, and burst pipes or geysers.

Buildings cover doesn’t cover your possessions within your home, such as furniture, jewellery, and other valuables. For this type of protection, you will need home contents insurance. 

Will Buildings Insurance Cover a Leaky Roof?

Water claims are one of the most common claims insurance companies in South Africa receive during the rainy season. Policies most often cover sudden incidents and not general wear and tear or gradual deterioration. That means they will most likely cover the leaky roof if the damage occurs in a definable event such as a storm.

If the roof is leaking due to a lack of maintenance, the insurer may reject your claim. It is a clever idea to check and maintain your roof well before and during the rainy season. You can check that no tiles are loose and that seals are in good condition. 

Or, if you have a flat-roofed home, you can check the asbestos and the screws in the ceiling regularly to ensure water isn’t pooling and causing damage. As you can see, it’s easy to prove that a leaky roof happens due to poor maintenance. But if an airplane crashes through your roof? Well, yes, that is usually covered.

Does My Insurance Cover Damp?

Because buildings insurance covers sudden events and not gradual deterioration, it is highly unlikely that it will cover damp. Damp, by nature, arrives gradually. Either it was already there before you signed the policy, or it is there due to a lack of maintenance. Either way, it is not a sudden event, so most insurers do not give you cover for it.

Is Subsidence Cover Included?

Many buildings insurance policies do not cover subsidence at all. Some will cover subsidence if it is not moisture-related or “active soil”. It is best to check your policy document to see if subsidence incidents get cover. The policy document will also detail any exclusions. Some insurers say they cover subsidence, but only if the damage is not due to shoddy workmanship or faulty design, for example.

Can I Get Buildings Insurance as a Tenant?

In South Africa, the buildings insurance is the responsibility of the owner of the building. If you are not the owner, you do not need building insurance. You may, however, need home contents insurance. This type of insurance covers your furniture and the belongings in your home from insured events like theft or fire.

Why? Let’s say the building burns down. The owner loses their structure and needs to replace it. You lose your furniture and belongings and need to replace it. Even though you live there, it is the owner’s responsibility to restore the building, and therefore his responsibility to get buildings insurance.

Is Buildings Insurance Compulsory?

There is no law that obliges South Africans to get buildings insurance. That said, your home loan financier may insist on it. If you can buy a house cash, you may get away with not buying buildings insurance. And it could be the wrong move. This type of insurance is meant to protect you from the huge financial implications that come with unforeseen events that affect your home. 

Which Buildings Policy Do I Need?

You can get standard buildings insurance, plans designed for specific situations, or comprehensive cover. Landlords, for example, can get coverage tailored to their unique risks. A landlord’s home building insurance policy can include cover for things like a tenant’s non-payment of rent or malicious property damage. If the tenants damage pipes or other structures that lead to water damage, these plans can also cover it.

If your policy doesn’t include cover for flooding, you can opt for a plan designed specifically for flooding. The same is true for thatch-roofed homes with their unique risks. Some insurers even offer cover meant specifically for unoccupied homes! To find the best one for your needs, fill in our online form and wait for someone to call you. You can discuss the strong points and weaknesses of any policy offer you get with a knowledgeable individual before deciding.

Which Buildings Cover is Best?

That depends on what you need. A home built in a flood zone may likely need flood cover, and a policy with great benefits when it comes to flooding could be best. To find the best one for you, start by making a list of the risks you want to cover. If you’re in a lightning storm area, you may specifically want to know about cover for storms and lightning, for example. 

You can ask the following questions when deciding which policy to choose:

  • What are the exclusions on this policy? Will it cover subsidence and flooding?
  • Are you covering my home for its market value or its rebuilding value? Remember, rebuilding it could cost more than the land itself is worth. 
  • What regulations will I be expected to keep regarding my home’s security and maintenance? Some companies will only cover theft if all the doors have been locked, for example.
  • What do you cover? Ask for it in list format so you can check it and ensure all the risks you identified are covered.
  • What will my premiums be? No point paying more than you need to if you can get a cheaper option that offers the same cover.

Where to Get Buildings Insurance?

Why, you can get a homeowners insurance quote right here! No need to go anywhere else. Once you’ve filled in our online form, our system will match you with the ideal insurance provider. That provider will give you a call to outline their product offering and give you a quote. 

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