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Before going on holiday, be sure to read your policy's fine print

By unknown | Dec 19, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Xolile Bhengu

Xolile Bhengu

Holiday-makers are being advised to go over their household insurance cover with a magnifying glass before jetting off to their holiday destinations.

Insurance group Alexander Forbes said with more Eskom power cuts expected over the festive season it was critical to go over policy clarity on how power failure incidents were covered, as some policies may not fully cover load shedding, which could be regarded as a human error.

Alexander Forbes insurance managing director Gari Dombo said if the contents of your fridge or freezer were to spoil due to accidental interruption of your electricity supply, any damage caused should be covered by your standard Priceless or Envoy policies, up to the sum insured.

"If the power interruption is caused by deliberate human action, like load shedding, then your insurer is not responsible. Instead, the person or company causing the power interruption is responsible," Dombo said.

He added that since load shedding is a deliberate human action, the local electricity supply company could, theoretically, be held responsible for any damage caused to the contents of your fridge or freezer.

Dombo, however, advised policy holders to pose this question to their local public authority as these may have different interpretations or legal disclaimers - "and, certainly, there is no precedent to indicate that local electricity supply utilities will accept this liability".

"If your current policy does not cover power surge it is recommended that you renew your cover to include this increasingly important element," Dombo said.

"The most simple and effective precaution that you can take while away is to have someone stay in your home or at least check up regularly to make sure the electricity supply is not interrupted and that you are not burgled.

"Take a scenario such as while you are away there is a three day long power failure and the battery of your house alarm runs down. The house is burgled but the alarm does not go off because the battery is flat.

"In this instance, since the power failure that caused your alarm battery to fail was beyond the policy holders control, Alexander Forbes would meet this claim. The reason your battery failed was the power failure. The flat battery cannot in any way be attributed to negligence on the part of the policy holder.

"The question of liability is one that policy holders need to raise with their own insurers as the requirements regarding alarms vary considerably between the different insurance products available on the market," said Dombo.

To find out when your area is going to be hit by load shedding, visit


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