Most homeowners are aware of the increased risk of their geyser bursting in winter due to the colder and more extreme changes in weather conditions. However, the reaction to this emergency situation often places homeowners at risk of unnecessary financial loss if they do not follow the correct insurance claims procedures.
This is according to Nazeer Hoosen, Executive Director: PPS Short-Term Insurance, who says it is important that homeowners follow the correct steps, as stipulated in their insurance policies, in the event that their geyser does burst to ensure their insurance pays out their related claim.
He says one of the biggest mistakes homeowners make is failing to contact their insurance provider to inform them of the geyser burst in the first place. “In an effort to resolve the situation quickly, some homeowners will rush out and have the geyser fixed with their own provider instead of using one that is approved by the insurance provider. When it comes time to submit the bill for claims purposes, the homeowner may find that the cost might not be fully covered by the insurance company.”
In the worst case scenario, the unaccredited provider may fail to install the geyser properly or cause further damage to the home, says Hoosen. “We have seen cases where the unapproved plumber did not install the geyser properly and simply covered an open space with a board which resulted in the need for the entire ceiling to be replaced. Using unaccredited providers can often result in unnecessary repairs and resultant delays, which ends up being a big inconvenience to the homeowners as they effectively have to go through the repair process twice.”
In order to avoid any claims-related problems when it comes to geyser bursts, Hoosen provides the following tips:
1) In the event of a geyser burst, turn off both the geyser at the electricity box and the water supply (usually located outside the house) immediately.
2) Contact your insurance provider and report the incident. It is always beneficial to have an insurance provider that offers home assistance as a value added service as they will provide a direct service to help you resolve the issue by putting you in touch with accredited service providers as quickly as possible.
3) Even though resultant damage due to a geyser burst is typically covered by most insurance policies, it is wise to try minimise the damage to property as much as possible by drying up affected contents as best you can.
4) As a safety measure, homeowners should maintain their geyser. It is a good idea to have the geyser checked ahead of the winter months to see whether exposed pipes are wrapped up properly which helps to reduce bursting due to cold water.
“When in doubt, homeowners should contact their insurance provider or broker to enquire about the correct procedures when it comes to geyser related claims so that in the event that their geyser does burst they experience a smooth process in a typically stressful situation,” concludes Hoosen.