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A quick guide to buildings insurance cover and what’s included

House & Home

Posted on Friday, June 24, 2022

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What does buildings insurance cover in South Africa?


Sometimes tragedy strikes, and natural disasters have devastating consequences. Thousands of homes were recently destroyed in the terrible flooding that took place in KwaZulu-Natal, and although we can’t do anything about extreme weather, we can shield ourselves financially.  


If you're reading this blog, it's likely you already know that buildings insurance is a wise thing to have. The most important question to ask yourself is, 'what does buildings insurance cover in South Africa?'. In this guide, we will go over the benefits of protecting your home, what's covered and where to get the best policy.



Why is Buildings Insurance important?


Your home is almost certainly the most valuable possession you own. Not only does it contain all your possessions and most valuable items, but no doubt, you have spent years paying for it. In the unfortunate event that your home or property is damaged or destroyed, the cost of repair or replacement may be out of your budget.


South Africa is prone to extreme weather, with thunderstorms a regular occurrence on the Highveld, strong winds prevalent on the Western Cape and Eastern Cape coastal areas, and flooding along many rivers and coastlines.


Just how bad these natural disasters can be was witnessed in April of 2022 when flooding hit KwaZulu-Natal and a state of Natural Disaster was declared. According to Reliefweb [1], the flooding led to the deaths of 448 people with over 40,000 people displaced and the destruction of 12,000 houses.


While very little can be done to stop such events from happening, it is important to get buildings insurance to protect your home if it is damaged or destroyed. Buildings insurance provides a financial shield if there’s any damage to the structure of your property.



What exactly does buildings insurance cover?


The answer to the question, “What does building insurance cover in South Africa?”, is as follows:


A good insurance policy will cover the cost of rebuilding your home from the ground up if it has been damaged beyond repair.


If your property is still standing and can be restored, a good policy will also cover the cost of repairing structural damage. This includes any permanent fixtures such as fitted kitchens and bathrooms, as well as geysers, solar panels, and boilers. Outbuildings, like cottages and garages, are also included, as are swimming pools and tennis courts.


Buildings insurance will also cover damage caused by fire, falling trees, floods, and earthquakes. 


Theft is also a growing issue, and building insurance will cover damage caused by theft and break-ins.


If you're a landlord and your existing tenant has to move out due to damage, a good buildings insurance policy will also cover lost rental income.


This is not an exhuasted list and we will go on to answer more commonly asked questions about what's covered and what's not, next.

Does buildings insurance cover water leaks?


A water leak can cause significant damage to your house and needs to be repaired as quickly as possible. Therefore it’s good to know that water damage is often covered by buildings insurance policies. Water damage can be caused by burst geysers or pipes, broken household equipment such as washing machines or fridges, or damage caused by storms and flooding.


Does buildings insurance cover cracked walls?


Cracks in walls are fairly common and typically it will depend on the level of damage as to whether you're covered or not.


Hairline cracks are caused by the plaster moving away from the wall. These types of cracks are usually not covered by buildings insurance as redecorating will often fix the problem. 


More serious cracks that require the foundation to be repaired will be covered. This includes walls that are damaged by animals, vehicles, falling trees, and malicious or intentional damage. Repairs to cracks caused by water damage and subsidence are also covered by your building's insurance policy.  


Does buildings insurance cover windows?


Buildings insurance covers fixtures and fittings such as walls, doors, roofs, and windows. But this protection is offered for damage that happens suddenly or accidentally, such as from a storm, a break-in, or an unexpected mistake. Buildings insurance will not cover broken fixtures if caused by wear and tear, such as rotting window seals. This kind of damage is part of general maintenance and is seen as a homeowner’s responsibility.

Does buildings insurance cover boundary walls?


As they protect the edge of your property, boundary walls and fences can be among the first things damaged if an accident occurs, such as a vehicle driving into your property. Damage to boundary walls is covered by buildings insurance.


If your wall is damaged, thereby causing a security risk to your home, your policy will even cover the cost of posting guards outside your house for as long as it takes to repair the damage. Sometimes, however, when boundary walls are shared with neighbours, the responsibility for fixing the damage might have to be shared between you.



Does buildings insurance cover subsidence?


Subsidence is the gradual sinking in of land and it can cause damage to the structure of a property. While most insurance companies will cover the cost of repairing the damage caused by subsidence issues, buildings insurance might not cover the cost of stopping the subsidence from happening again – this will be up to the homeowners to remedy.

What does buildings insurance not cover?


The contents of your home are not covered by buildings insurance. Items such as electronics, furniture, and personal items will need to be insured under a different policy. Take a look at home contents insurance if you would like to cover personal possessions in your home.


Where to get buildings insurance?


Unfortunately, in life, there is always the risk of unexpected things happening. Budget Insurance has the expertise to help you protect your home through comprehensive Buildings Insurance. Clients who take out buildings insurance with Budget, qualify for the excellent Budget’s Assist Benefits which include roadside, medical and legal assistance, as well as home assist, which will cover the call-out fee and one hour’s labour for plumbers, electricians, glazers, and locksmiths.

 For a buildings insurance quote call Budget Insurance today and find out how to provide your home with all the protection it needs.