Eco-friendly home improvement projects are becoming ever more popular among homeowners of today. A greater concern for the wellbeing of our planet and an eagerness to reduce their home’s carbon impact as well as South Africa’s worrying energy crisis has caused an increasing number of homeowners to look at alternative and greener ways of obtaining reliable sources of water and electricity. While these greener modifications can substantially reduce a household’s energy bill, it is imperative to consider other financial implications including insurance.
In general, South African household insurers vary in how they cover green adaptations like for example the installation of solar panels. Depending on your policy and the specifications of your solar installation, a provider could automatically include, some might place it under the policy as an additional item, and could charge an additional monthly premium towards this.
All installations should be in accordance with all local authorities’ bi-laws and National Building Regulations, as well as relevant organisations accreditation. Installation of generators for example must have a Certificate of Compliance issued and be in accordance with the noise levels and bi-laws of the local area. Installers must also be registered with ECASA (Electrical Contractors Association -South Africa). There are health and safety matters, to comply with and if any installations are not done in accordance to any ruled guidelines, all losses that are caused subsequently from this will be the responsibility of the homeowner. The insurer could repudiate the claim, and the entire loss or damage caused to all material property would fall on the home owner. After installation the qualified installer would issue the client or home owner a copy of the installation which they can then forward to their insurance broker or insurer to note on file.
SABS products are the only products that should be used, as the majority of general insurers within South Africa do not allow non-standard products to be used.
Before installing a solar panel, ensure that your insurer provides cover for power surge, lightning and malicious damage as these are general causes and possible losses that occur.
Living greener, is expensive, effective yes, but not automatically insured. Do your research and ensure that you know what your insurer is willing to cover and comply with all their conditions.