Relationship between insurance and load-shedding

Damage to properties and electrical equipment is very common during periods of electricity load-shedding. This is how this impacts home and household contents insurance.

South Africa’s energy crisis seems to be getting worse by the day, with consumers having to put up with more load-shedding in 2022 than ever before.

Apart from the inconvenience factor, persistent and lengthy power cuts can cause severe damage to properties and electrical equipment. Undesirable ramifications of persistent load-shedding include burglaries, theft, robberies, fires and damage to electric appliances.

The good news is that home, and household contents insurance policies provide cover for the policyholder’s property and household contents such as appliances, furniture, paintings, musical instruments and a host of other items.

Short-term insurance claims have increased dramatically this year, but unfortunately, not all insurance claims are approved and paid out. According to Adams and Adams Attorneys’ GoLegal website, recent statistics show a spike in rejections of insurance claims – particularly short-term insurance claims.

Not all rejections are legitimate, but challenging them may prove expensive and time-consuming. For this reason, many homeowners and tenants are reluctant to take out home insurance and household contents insurance policies. However, with a little forethought, it is possible to improve your chances of succeeding in your claim against damage caused by load-shedding.

Golegal offers the following tips:

Be proactive

Given the importance of the insured items, you need to take steps to improve your chances of lodging a successful claim in the event of any loss or damage. These steps include:

  • Update the policy annually or whenever your circumstances change, for example, if you move to a new home or buy a new car.
  • Notify your broker or insurer of any material changes to your home or neighbourhood that may affect the policy, for example, if there are new developments under construction nearby.
  • Ensure that you adhere to the policy conditions at all times.
  • Repair any defects that may nullify your policy, for example, fit burglar bars on all opening windows.
  • Repair any defects on the insured items as soon as possible. Examples could include: leaks in washing machines, dishwashers or fridges.
  • Ensure that all the required mitigating equipment is installed and in working condition. These include having fire insulators, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and prescribed door locks that may be required in terms of your policy.

Claim procedure

When you need to claim, it is critical to report and lodge the claim immediately after the incident and be sure to provide all the required documents and information. This will enable your insurer to process the claim without unnecessary delays.

If your claim has been rejected, you need to establish the reasons for the rejection and consider possible ways of challenging the decision.

You can start with an internal appeal to the insurer, clearly stating why you believe the claim should be entertained. If this is unsuccessful, you can approach the Short-Term Insurance Ombud’s Office. Both processes can be carried out without any legal assistance. However, it is usually advisable to obtain legal assistance for internal appeals and appeals to the ombud for the following reasons:

  • Internal appeals and submissions to the ombud’s office are legal processes, and insurance policies can be highly technical. Insurance law specialists are trained to deal with these matters.
  • The legal costs for dealing with appeals and submissions are considerably lower than the costs applicable to court cases or arbitration.
  • In some cases, the insurer’s rejection may be justified and lawful, but you may have a claim against an intermediary, for example, a broker. Intermediaries are unlikely to advise you that you may have a claim against them or their firm. This is where legal advice can be invaluable.


It is usually advisable to have short-term insurance policies in place – particularly after the recent floods and the ongoing load-shedding. However, you should not simply concede the validity of rejections without seeking legal advice.

The above steps do not guarantee that a claim will be approved and paid out, but they do improve your chances of claiming successfully.

Writer : Sarah-Jane Meyer

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