Eskom, which is one of South Africa’s largest suppliers of electricity countrywide. It is therefore responsible for controlling power surges, blackouts and stabilising its power station units. The goal is to ensure that the demand matches the supply, all while maintaining a balance in the system, and that is where load shedding comes in. What then is load shedding?
To put it in the simplest form, load shedding means dropping some weight. We’ll explain:
The power demand is what is considered as load, and when the load is too high such that the system becomes unbalanced, then some load would have to be dropped so that there isn’t a countrywide blackout. To avoid shedding load, large consumers would be asked to reduce their demand voluntarily. If this isn’t done then, Eskom would be required to shed load, or as we said, they would have to drop some weight.
The power surges that occur when the load is shed and then reclaimed is what causes damages. So, when there is a blackout, the power comes back on with a high voltage, there is a power surge, which can damage household appliances connected to power. When this happens, you may lodge a complaint and require some compensation for the ruined items. In this article, you will be able to find out how to lodge a successful insurance claim for your ruined items.
What will your insurance cover?
Don’t get excited by the idea of claiming insurance for your damaged appliances; there are certain things that your insurance would cover and things that your insurance won’t cover. If you have a homeowner’s insurance coverage, then you may be able to claim power surge damage. Homeowner insurance policies cover damage to the home and its contents in the event of fire, theft, vandalism, damage caused by floods or lightning and power surges. One of such coverages is personal property coverage; this may be able to cover the damages caused due to a power surge.
However, your coverage and claim are limited to the specifications listed in your policy. It is important that you go through your policy to see what your insurance will cover and what it won’t. According to the Insurance information institute, some policies may insure against man-made power surges, but again, that would have to be specific to your policy. Suppose you live in an area that is prone to power surges and blackouts. In that case, you may want to include this particular clause in your personal property policy so that your household items are insured against such damages.
You will be able to claim your insurance in the event that you are insured against the power surges and that all your listed properties are the ones affected. If you purchase a new electrical appliance and you do not list it in your insurance policy, any damage to that appliance will not be covered by your policy.
Your insurance will cover damages that have been specified in your policy, but if you neglect or fail to properly handle the property, that’s on you. If the damage is associated with mould or pests such as termites and rodents, that’s also on you. So, ensure that your property is in good condition before the power surge occurs.
How to lodge a successful insurance claim?
Say you meet all of these requirements and qualify for claiming insurance for the ruined items in your household. You will be interested in knowing how to claim the insurance and have your ruined items replaced or fixed. Here’s how to go about it:
Sometimes, Eskom notifies you of power blackouts in time for you to take the necessary measures to keep your items and property safe from damage. Other times, you may not be privy to this information and find that blackouts occur late at night or very early in the morning, and you are unable to get your property in before then, and they are at risk of being ruined. Most times, the appliances that are at risk are television sets, computers and similar items. In the face of this, you will most likely want to contact your insurer. We advise that you consider the following salient points so that you can lodge a successful claim.
- The first thing is to ensure that you communicate any changes to your insurer. If you make any changes to your appliances or switch them if you switch from gas to electricity or vice versa, make sure to inform your insurer. If you don’t inform your insurer of any changes or switches, there is a likelihood that your claim will be denied, and you will be at the losing end. If you switch to gas, you will be required to go through a different set of modalities to have those appliances insured, and in the event of their damage, they may no longer be considered as electrical items and, as such, are no longer at risk of damage due to electrical power surges.
- Make sure that you are dealing with experts that are accredited by your insurer. If you would like to venture into an alternative power source such as solar energy or using generators and inverters, first inform your insurer and then inquire if they have reliable electricians and technicians that are accredited with them. in the event that this alternative power source is not properly connected, your insurance claim will most likely be rejected. Your insurer will not pay for a faulty installation on your part. But if you use their technicians and electricians, you can very easily hold them accountable for any damage or loss.
- The last point encompasses two distinct areas. First, the use of generators in your home and workspace, and the use of electric security systems. Although generators are the most sought after alternative power source, you must be very cautious when using them. You need to ensure that your generator is properly placed and properly connected because faulty connections can lead to fires. In this case, your claim will be ruled as negligence, and you will not be able to enjoy your insurance benefits because of that. So, ensure that generators are not placed in enclosed spaces that inhibit the free flow of air and the emission of the by-products of the generator.
- In terms of security, you have to be aware that in the event of load shedding or any other power blackout, your electric fences, security systems and alarms that require power to work are temporarily out of order, and your property becomes vulnerable to attacks. Insurers consider it the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that they have alternative security measures to keep them and their property safe. If your property is broken into during this time, your claim may be rejected if you have not taken some responsibility to ensure your safety.
Sometimes we really can’t prepare enough for the unforeseen, and situations take control of themselves, but we can at least try to ensure that we have played our part in making sure we are safe. If electrical appliances are not in use at a given moment, make sure to turn them off and unplug them from any power source. If it is raining and there is a thunderstorm, it is in your best interest to turn off all electrical appliances and unplug them from the power source. This is to avoid any damages that may occur due to load shedding and power surges.
If you would like information on what your insurance covers and how to claim for your damages, please contact your insurer and request a review of your policy.