It’s that time of year again, when storms and hail hit the northern parts of the country, so insurers have started to issue reminders of the precautions you can take to minimise storm damage. Johan van Greuning, head of Standard Insurance at Standard Bank says that in just one week in late November, the insurer registered nearly 1 500 claims for damage to cars, buildings and homes.
“In order to assist clients, we have extended our call centre daily operating hours until 20:00 so that claims can be registered after hours. For customers who prefer to lodge claims electronically, our online site or mobile and tablet app can be accessed 24-hours a day,” he says.
Widespread damage to personal property and claims lodged included smashed windows, damaged roofs and ceilings, as well as damage to furniture and fittings within homes due to leaking ceilings. A large number of claims were also submitted by motorists caught in the open by the storms.
Safety precautions during storms
Safety precautions you can take at home during storms include:
- Make sure computers, TVs, decoders and other equipment are disconnected from wall sockets to avoid damage caused by electricity surges as a result of lightning strikes.
- Check that roofs do not have broken or loose tiles that allow the entry of water during heavy downpours.
- Ensure that roof gutters are clean and unclogged, so that water does not accumulate and seep through roof tiles onto ceilings.
- Keep house windows shut, to reduce the chance of them being hit by hail or shattered by high winds.
If you are on the road during a hailstorm:
- Be pro-active before you get on the road and ensure that windscreen wipers are always in good condition so that they can cope with sudden downpours.
- Turn headlights on so that you can be seen by other vehicles.
- Reduce speed to match the road conditions.
- If you can, pull off the road safely and activate your car’s hazard lights as a warning to other motorists.
- Never get out of your vehicle, because of possible injury from hailstones.
- Do not attempt to drive through water washing across the road. Your car could stall in the water and it requires only about 15cm of rapidly moving water to wash a car away.