Indwe Warns of Winter Risks – How to Stay Warm and Stay Covered

Indwe Warns of Winter Risks – How to Stay Warm and Stay Covered
Winter Risks – How to Stay Warm and Stay Covered

Johannesburg, 11 June24: South Africa’s winter brings with it fresh mornings and chilly evenings best spent huddled up next to a crackling fireplace. While the season’s beauty is undeniable, and hardly as harsh as many other parts of the world, financial services provider, Indwe Risk Services (Indwe), reminds South African homeowners that winter does present potential risks, including the following:

  • An increasing number of home fires are caused by overloading with electrical heaters, negligent use of gas heaters, and unattended fireplaces. Incredibly dry conditions in certain regions also exacerbate veld fires, which can put thatch and wooden structures at risk.
  • As more people turn to electrical heaters to stay warm, increased electricity usage places additional strain on the grid and impacts the loadshedding schedule. Regular power cuts and surges can cause damage to appliances over time.
  • When temperatures drop to subzero overnight, pipes can freeze up. This could result in burst water pipes or geysers, which is a winter nightmare of water damage.

“Large parts of South Africa usually enjoy a truly sublime winter season, with sunny, mild days and chilly nights, but the fluctuating temperatures can result in more damage, especially when it comes to home plumbing and geysers. Our very dry seasons also favour wildfires, so we urge people to keep an eye on seasonal veld fires near their homes,” says Joe Szemerei, Chief Operations Officer (COO) at Indwe.

Prevent the winter blues

To help you have a peaceful and damage-free winter, Indwe suggests seven essential tips to prepare your home for the cold:

1.       Review your insurance policy

Regularly assess your home insurance policy to ensure it covers all possible risks, including burst pipes, gas accidents, electrical surges, and weather-related damages.

2.       Consider getting an insurance policy

If you don’t already have insurance, consider starting a policy to protect your immovable assets and personal belongings. Home and car insurance provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing your property is covered, and this is especially true during high-risk seasons like winter. Indwe will assist you to ensure that the potential catastrophic losses are covered whilst being mindful of the monthly cost of the insurance.

3.       Prepare for Loadshedding

With increased electricity usage during winter, Indwe reminds South Africans to invest in surge protection plugs to safeguard appliances from electrical surges. An excellent alternative is to consider solar panels to power your home, but ensure your homeowner’s insurance covers any related damages.

4.       Ensure Gas Appliance Safety

Gas appliances offer a great selection of options for heating the home or cooking, but it’s important to make sure they’re safe to use. Check for a Certificate of Conformity for each and every gas appliance installation, in line with the regulations promulgated in 2009 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, 85 of 1993. These certificates are essential to prove compliance with the regulations that ensure coverage in case of an insurance claim.

5.       Inspect Your Chimneys

Before bundling up beside a blazing fire on a bitterly cold winter night, minimise the risk of fires by having your chimney serviced at the start of the season. Indwe also urges homeowners who use their fireplace to check if their insurance policy covers damages caused by fireplace fires.

6.       Prevent Burst Pipes

Homeowners can avoid extensive water damage to their home interiors and furnishings by insulating exposed pipes and ensuring that taps around the home aren’t dripping. Another way to prevent burst pipes is to maintain a consistent indoor temperature so that pipes are less likely to freeze up or be suddenly exposed to warmth.

Make sure you know where and how to shut off your home’s main water supply in case of an emergency too.

7.       Maintain Your Geyser

It’s more common for geysers older than 10 years to burst or develop a severe leak. If you have an older geyser, or you’re worried about your geyser, have it inspected at the beginning of winter to ensure that it can withstand fluctuating temperatures and the demands of the season. A qualified professional will be able to inspect your geyser, ensure the correct temperatures are set, and service it, if necessary.

“Remember, prevention is key to a warm and secure home during the colder months. Apart from following the advice around home maintenance and best practices, it’s a good idea to touch base with your insurance broker. Make sure that the relevant risks are covered, and that your home is compliant so that when an insured event occurs, you enjoy full protection,” concludes Szemerei.

For a personalised insurance assessment, contact Indwe, an authorised Financial Services Provider FSP 3425.