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This is the second article in our Risk Management series.

Winter is on its way, which, hopefully, means rain in the Western Cape. Broadly speaking, heavy rain results in a vast amount of damage to buildings in South Africa every year. Some of this damage can easily be avoided by practising basic risk prevention i.e. weather proofing the building BEFORE the rain comes, for example:


• Look for any signs of water damage e.g. dark spots, damp, rot, mould, mildew, water marks on the ceiling etc. All these are signs that all is not well with your waterproofing, roof, gutters, drains etc. Call an expert to establish the cause and then repair the damage.


• Inspect roof sheeting and tiles – loose sheeting and broken tiles are dangerous and may allow water to ingress into the ceiling. Also, remove moss and leaves from the roof.

• Bulging and peeling exterior paint are signs that you may have waterproofing issues. Also inspect the integrity of the flashing around chimneys, fireplaces etc.


• Tree roots (a big culprit), foreign objects or any other debris can clog, block or damage your drains, which will lead to overflows, backups etc. and potentially, extensive damage to the building, including mould or mildew growth.


• Clean leaves and debris from your gutters, grates and down pipes – blocked gutters are a clear risk to the building, as they can cause build-ups of water. These build-ups of water can cause overflowing or deterioration over a period of time and ultimately, can cause cracks, mould or even major structural damage.

• Gutter Guards can be installed to prevent gutters and down pipes becoming blocked from leaves etc. Gutter Guards can also prevent hail from blocking gutters and prevent birds from nesting. Nesting birds can lead to roof and water proofing issues if not attended to.

• Run a hose pipe or high pressure hose down your gutters to ensure clogged debris is removed. Clogged gutters will cause water to come through your ceiling in the event of heavy downpours.


We recommend that you arrange an annual roof inspection by a professional, ideally before the onset of the first winter rains – there are a few roofing companies that do these assessments for free. Such inspections may reveal latent risk and damage, which in turn may save you the huge inconvenience of submitting an insurance claim. At the same time you will be actively protecting your insurance risk profile.


It is also important to consider the policy condition of Reasonable Care (which is found in all insurance policies), as this deals with consequences of not taking due care (e.g. preventative and regular maintenance etc.) to avoid loss. This condition essentially states that you must take all Reasonable Care to avoid loss as insured by your policy. Essentially, your insurers require you to act as though you don’t have insurance cover and to do everything possible, which an uninsured person would do, to avoid loss.

Building insurance essentially only provides cover for certain sudden and unforeseen events that are outside of your control. If your roof hasn’t been reasonably maintained and this has contributed to the damage you want to claim for, you might not be covered based on a lack of Reasonable Care. The condition of Reasonable Care is fair to all policyholders, since it ensures that insurers don’t pay claims that could have been avoided, had the policyholder taken steps to avoid loss i.e. acted, at all times, as though they were not insured.

As always, AIB Cape remains at your service.

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May 28, 2019

Posted In: Newsletters

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