4 questions that will help you understand building insurance in South Africa

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A few months ago, a Sunday Times journalist contacted us. It was during the time of the Knysna fires when many were anxious about fire hazards and seeking advice on insurance from good brokers. She had 4 questions for us relating to building insurance and fire coverage that I’d like to share with you.


  1. There are two types of insurance that relate to your home: insurance of the building and of the contents. What is the difference?

Basically,” building” insurance covers structures fixed to the ground including, pools, driveways, walls and fences, whilst “contents” are considered to be anything movable on the premises. These terms are clearly defined in the policy booklet.


  1. Is the building insurance that comes with your bond sufficient in South Africa? What questions would you advise readers to ask their brokers to ensure they have sufficient coverage?

It’s sufficient for the bank’s interest, and will cover major catastrophes. There are little extras or extensions that a bank won’t include in the policy that a broker would. Readers should ask their broker if extensions like “accidental damage” and “power surge” are included. This being said, everyone has different needs, so I would advise readers to have a proper needs analysis conducted by a trustworthy broker who is reputable, experienced and, most importantly, honest. I firmly believe that special care should be taken when insuring against risks of a catastrophic nature.


  1. Would building insurance cover damage to fixtures such as laminate floors or carpets in the case of flooding or a burst geyser?

It would, but policy wordings differ which means the cover (ie T&Cs) will vary, but in general terms, yes.


  1. Is there a “formula” to work out whether you have enough building insurance?

Basically, a simple formula is size of the house in square meters multiplied by a cost per meter, then you’ve got to add in items like pools and fences. The cost per meter depends on the location and nature of the buildings. This varies for everyone, so ideally one should consult with a professional appraiser in this regard.



Published by Candice Leigh King

We discovered that there was an ongoing cycle of trauma occurring that would cause major setbacks in businesses, and quite simply we didn’t enjoy seeing individuals suffering as greatly as they were especially after paying a monthly premium. We realised we could deliver a service that would change the outcome of a catastrophe by ensuring an impartial claim. JSib is a noble brokerage founded on the idea of a normal business day even after devastation occurs.