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Buildings Insurance Explained


Buildings insurance is one of South Africa’s most essential insurance products. The sensation of securing your most valued assets is similar to the sensation of financially preserving your family if something were to happen to you. Obtaining this insurance product should not take too much time, as you must decide whether or not to accept it.

You will thank yourself later when you file a claim if an unpleasant occurrence occurs. Buildings insurance has simple terms and covers your home’s structures. Depending on the insurer, you may be able to obtain free personal liability coverage for the lives and property of your domestic workers, tenants, or visitors.

What is buildings insurance? 

Buildings insurance is a short-term policy that protects policy holder home and the structures on their land. The coverage is typically provided as a complete insurance policy that protects their home from a variety of occurrences. Furthermore, depending on the insurer one picks to obtain buildings insurance, one may receive additional perks.

Buildings insurance only protects the physical components of their home and does not cover their personal belongings. One  can obtain home contents insurance individually from the same insurer or from various insurers to protect their home and things inside the property.

What does buildings insurance cover? 

Buildings Insurance covers the costs of repairing damages caused to your building’s structures. The cover goes further to cover fences, garages, sheds, and other structures that are specified on your insurance policy. 

Buildings Insurance covers the following structures:

  • Domestic staff accommodation structures, 
  • Fixed structures within your property, 
  • Garages, 
  • Swimming pools, 
  • Walls, 
  • Gates, 
  • Fences, 
  • Tennis court, and
  • Other fixtures and fittings

What does buildings insurance cover against? 

Buildings Insurance covers any damage caused to any of the fixed structures in your property by malicious acts, theft, and natural occurrences. 

Under the building insurance you are covered for the following occurrences:

  • Aircraft and objects falling from them, 
  • Burst pipes, 
  • Land subsidence, 
  • Earthquake, 
  • Flood, 
  • Fire, 
  • Break-ins, 
  • Fallen trees, 
  • Vehicle collisions to your house, 
  • Explosion, 
  • Storms, and 
  • Aerials and satellite dishes

Who needs a buildings insurance? 

Buildings Insurance is needed by a number of individuals and institutions. The cost of replacing or repairing some structures can be costly so a solution like buildings insurance is necessary. Below we look at businesses and individuals that need building insurance. 

Home Owners

Homeowners need building insurance to cover their homes from damages that can be caused by natural occurrences, theft, or third parties. Buildings such as a home contribute 50%+ to the net worth of many South Africans hence a buildings insurance should be a priority to homeowners. 

Many homeowners may not have enough money to fix broken structures or damaged structures at once so building insurance can help restore your home to its normal state after making a successful claim. Paying monthly premiums can thus be seen as an investment towards your home. 

Small Medium, and Large Business Owners 

Small, medium, and large business owners in South Africa need buildings insurance so that their business can carry on should something happen to the buildings they conduct business from. Your buildings will be protected from natural occurrences, theft, and third-party damages. 

Should events covered take place, you can make a claim and your buildings will be fixed as soon as your claim is accepted. Nowadays apps are made available to buildings insurance policyholders and one can make a claim on the go, making the claiming process fast and easy. 

Is buildings insurance compulsory? 

Building insurance is not mandatory in many cases. Tenants and those with houses fully paid for do not have any obligation to buy buildings insurance. However, leaseholders may be required to have one.

Buildings insurance is mandatory for those who bought their homes by means of a home loan. Normally, a lender gives you an option to use their insurer of choice or allow you to choose an insurer that you are comfortable with. 

You are then liable for paying premiums on the insurance policy that you have chosen. The lenders need you to have this cover to safeguard their investment, which is your home, from natural occurrences, damages, and theft. This approach is aimed at retaining the value of the buildings. 

Building Insurance Companies in South Africa 

South Africa has a host of buildings insurers for individual homeowners and businesses. Here is a list of FSCA registered buildings insurance providers. 

  1. Auto and General 
  2. Santam
  3. OUTsurance 
  4. Budget Insurance 
  5. MiWay Insurance 
  6. Standard Bank 
  7. Dial Direct Insurance 
  8. Naked Insurance 
  9. FNB
  10. Absa 
  11. Discovery Insure
  12. Hollard
  13. Iwyze Insurance
  14. Momentum 
  15. 1st For Women 
  16. Old Mutual 
  17. King Price

Does buildings insurance cover home renovations? 

Buildings Insurance doesn’t cover home renovations costs, therefore, you cannot make any claims against any structural damages caused by home renovations or extensions. Note that you need to let your insurer know about your plans to make home renovations. This is because home renovations will affect the state of your home. 

Your home will most likely be vulnerable to burglaries during renovations. Furthermore, the premiums on your home will be affected. Your premiums are first based on the current value of your home, so renovations will make your home appreciate in value. This will likely cause your premiums to increase. 

You need to inform your insurer if you, 

  • Make structural alterations to the layout of your house, 
  • Any major structural renovations such as re-roofing, rewiring or re-plumbing, 
  • Basement or integral garage conversions. 

You don’t need to speak to your insurer if you are planning to, 

  • Redecorate, 
  • Make cosmetic improvements such as kitchen refits or bathroom refits. 

Conclusion 

Building Insurance covers the cost of rebuilding your home if it is damaged or destroyed. It is important to understand what your buildings insurance policy covers you against. Insurers do not cover all incidents that can happen to your home. When buying a home on loan, you will need to understand that you are to pay premiums on a building’s insurance until you finish paying your home loan. 

As a buildings insurance policyholder, you need to understand what you are indemnified for. Not knowing what you are indemnified for can cost you so much money when you make a claim. You may end up doing things that may lead to you not being able to claim. Therefore it is important to familiarise yourself with the indemnity section of your buildings insurance policy.

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Lethabo Ntsoane

Lethabo Ntsoane holds a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from the University of South Africa. He is a Financial Product commentator at Rateweb. He is an expect financial product analyst with years of experience in reviewing products and offering commentary. Lethabo majors in financial news, reviews and financial tips. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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