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Knowledge Hub

Knowledge Hub

5 min read

The 7 Most Common Property Insurance Claims in SA Right Now

Home and Leisure September 01, 2022

If you own a home, you know how important it is to have property insurance. While there are many things you can do to help prevent accidents, some things are just unavoidable. From fires to burst pipes, all sorts of mishaps and accidents happen – and at any time. At Dialdirect, we can help you prepare for the unexpected. With property insurance your most valuable asset is protected from the hazards you just can’t avoid.  Discover seven of the most common household  insurance claims faced by South African homeowners. 

What is a Property Insurance Claim?


A property insurance claim is when you submit a report to your insurance company alerting them to the fact that your building or home has been damaged in some way. The damage needs to be something covered by your house insurance policy, and the claim will request your insurer to cover the cost of repairs or replacement. 

There are two main types of house insurance in South Africa: buildings insurance and household contents insurance. Buildings insurance covers the physical structure of your home from damage, as well as other fixed structures on your property, including garages, swimming pools, outbuildings, walls, gates and fences. The damage can be caused by theft, break-ins, fire, flood, earthquake, land subsidence, and objects falling on them.

So, for instance, if the big Jacaranda tree on the pavement outside your house is struck by lightning and the tree falls on your roof, you would be able to claim from your insurer to pay for the costs of repair. For more information, take a look at How does building insurance work & what does it cover? 

Household contents insurance is a different cover that protects the valuables inside your homes – such as computers and furniture – from theft and damage. 

What are the most common house insurance claims?


Several events have led to homeowners placing insurance claims in the past few years, from destructive fires to burst geysers – and increasingly often, the damage caused by changing weather patterns. According to the Ombudsman for Short Term Insurance (OSTI)[1], damage caused by acts of nature counted for 54% of all home insurance disputes in 2020.

Property insurance claims in South Africa are often due to:

  • Fires and smoke damage

  • Theft and burglary

  • Damage caused by power surges

  • Water damage

 1. Fire damage


Fire can be so destructive that it is the cause of some of the most expensive losses for South African businesses in the past five years, according to Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty’s Global Claims Review 2022[2].

Most property insurance cover will include loss caused by fire and smoke to the physical structure of your home. Home contents insurance will shield you if any personal belongings are damaged or destroyed by a fire inside your house.

2. Theft & burglary


Theft and home robbery are serious problems in South Africa, with 169 000 incidents of home robbery[3] taking place in 2019/2020. Theft is when items are stolen from a home, while home robbery is more serious because the family is in the home when criminals enter the property. The best kind of insurance for theft is home contents insurance, as it will cover you for insurance for robbery or theft and reimburse you for the insured items in your home that have been stolen. Property insurance will only cover you if something structural, like a wall or window, is damaged during the crime.

For personal belongings that you take with you when you go out, like your handbag or laptop, portable possessions insurance is a good option. It will cover you for any theft that takes place while you are out and about. 

3. Power and electrical issues


Aside from being inconvenient, load-shedding can cause extensive damage to electrical items. When the electricity comes back on after a few hours of load-shedding, it can lead to voltage fluctuations which can melt plastic and metal parts in appliances.

With frequent bouts of load-shedding, damage caused by these voltage fluctuations is on the increase, and it is important to check that your home contents insurance policy has a power surge benefit. Each insurer will offer different benefits; some will go as far as reimbursing you for the contents of your fridge and freezer if the food stored in them goes off during a long power cut.

4. Lightning or water damage


South Africa is no stranger to extreme weather events. Storms, with hail, lightning and even flooding, are a regular occurrence across the country.  These types of storms can cause a lot of destruction to our homes and businesses. Lightning, in particular, can cause power surges that break electrical appliances and even cause fires.

Both property insurance and home contents insurance can shield your property from this kind of destruction. However, if there is any damage you have allowed to continue for a long time without being fixed, like a leak in your roof, you may not be covered when the problem worsens.


5. Accidental loss or damage


Accidental loss or damage is the unintentional damage done to a building or its contents. It happens by chance and is not deliberate or intended. Property insurance and home contents insurance are policies that generally protect from storms, fires and theft. While accidental loss or damage can be included in these policies, it is often added as a top-up cover.

Some examples of accidental loss or damage claims could be a TV broken by a child throwing a ball, spilling red wine on an expensive carpet, or making a hole in the wall by mistake while moving furniture. What is not included in this type of cover is any intentional act, cigarette or pipe burns or damage done while renovating.

6. Forces of nature


Forces of nature are extreme weather events like flooding or hail storms, or disasters like wildfires, earthquakes, landslides or volcanic eruptions. These unexpected events can destroy the structure of homes and possessions and put lives at risk. Many property insurance and home contents insurance policies will cover damage caused by natural disasters. For instance, Dialdirect’s building insurance protects property from several weather events. Many policies, however, do not cover certain types of flood damage – such as flooding from an overflowing river or lake, water seepage, or sewer backups. Standard home insurance often has exclusions when it comes to flood damage. So, it is important to read your policy carefully to see what you are and are not covered for so you can take out a specialised policy if you live in a high-risk area. 

7. Water tanks, pipes, or geyser damage


Claims for water damage are often caused by leaking or burst pipes, overflowing baths and toilets, or broken appliances, like washing machines and dishwashers. Geyser insurance claims are also very common, and, while a broken geyser sometimes just needs to be fixed, there are times when it can burst and cause a lot of expensive damage.


While property insurance will cover the replacement costs of things like geysers, broken pipes, and damage to structures like floors, home contents insurance will reimburse you if the water damage has broken appliances or damaged furniture. Some water damage claims will not be approved if the problem arises from a lack of maintenance that has been allowed to develop over a long period.

Remember that you need to know exactly what you are covered for – read your policy carefully and update it when necessary to avoid pitfalls. Take these 9 Top Home Insurance Tips for Homeowners. 

Get property insurance cover from Dialdirect


Whether it’s a freak hailstorm or an unexpected accident, our homes and possessions are at risk of being damaged. But that doesn’t mean we have to sit and worry about all the bad things that might happen to them. Contact Dialdirect for a quote today. You can trust us to give your home and its contents the best possible protection.


[1] Ombudsman for Long-Term Insurance: Annual Report 2020

[2] Allianz: Global Claims Review 2022

[3] Stats SA: Housebreaking still number one in SA

Disclaimer: The information in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as financial, legal, or medical advice.

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