#CapeWaterCrisis: Pool damage headaches uncovered

2018-02-07 14:52 - Saara Mowlana
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Cape Town’s Day Zero is fast approaching, now expected on 11 May 2018. The heat of summer is sinking the city’s dam levels along with the swimming pools of hotels and residents alike.

What are the long-term implications though?

Many are wondering what their insurance will and will not cover when we reach this day-that-shall-not-be-named. Considering that pool owners are being restricted from using alternative, non-municipality water sources for filling up their pools (more on this here).

An empty swimming pool can start to crack and the entire structure can begin to move upwards because the water is no longer keeping it in place. Stagnant, untreated water can also attract microbes, which can pose a serious health risk.

SEE: #WaterCrisis UPDATE: 'Day Zero' pushed to May, Sanitation risks, How to flush your toilet after 'Day Zero'

But what do the insurance experts advise? Is my pool was damaged by Day Zero even a real claim?

This is what Santam had to comment on the matter and their insurance policies regarding Day Zero:

Santam, South Africa’s largest general insurer, claims that their team is hard at work mitigating the circumstances regarding the water crisis and the impending impacts Day Zero would have on their clients and staff.

John Melville, Santam Executive Head of Risk Services, says that the impact off the drought and claims relating to the drought and resulting from water restrictions put in place by Cape Town authorities is mainly dependent on the type of cover secured and provided.

Insurable risks or perils:

Melville confirmed in a statement, “In general, drought, water rationing and the withholding of water by the authorities are not insurable risks or perils and therefore are not covered.”

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Among their list of tips regarding the possibility of Day Zero’s arrival Santam recommends that clients consult a pool expert on whether or not to empty their pool. They go onto say that emptying your pools can compromise its structural integrity and cause collapse and in the event of such an incident most insurance companies are unlikely to cover it.

Other tips include switching off your geyser and taps to avoid potential flooding when the municipal water comes back on.

'Take preventative measures'

Santam advises clients to instead keep their pools covered to minimise water evaporation for the time being. However, Santam does state that in the event of fire or flooding as a consequence of the water situation, clients will be covered for insurance.

They urge clients to take preventative measures throughout the crisis and to speak to their brokers if they are at all uncertain about any other insurance-related aspects.

What this means is that, technically, you’re not covered under insurance if any damage were to happen to your pool during the water crisis or day zero.

During the Cape Water Crisis, the known method of “prevention is better than cure” is the way to go.

So, be sure to cover your own pool - the regular way - to prevent further water loss or potential damage.