Simple ways to prepare against unexpected geyser bursts

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An unexpected geyser burst could ruin your budget unless you are prepared. How can this be done?

For most homeowners, geysers are out of sight and therefore out of mind. But if your geyser bursts, it could ruin your finances if you are not prepared. Without adequate short term insurance cover, you could be at serious risk.

Bertus Visser, chief executive of distribution at PSG Insure, says that short-term insurance policies are there to help, but only if you manage them correctly.

You shouldn’t assume that simply having cover is enough.

“You must work within the rules of maintaining your geyser to keep your water warm and adequately insured throughout the year.”

“Some temperature problems and geyser bursts are the only issues likely to be covered by your insurer. However, if your geyser is still under warranty, the manufacturer will become involved. There can be delays, so working with an insurer with a 24-hour assist service is a must. If the insurer repudiates your claim, the cost of replacing a geyser will fall on you.”

Bond insurance

You may think that if you’re paying off your bond, everything in your home – including the geyser – will automatically be covered by the homeowners’ insurance that comes with having a bonded asset. This may be true in some cases, but it might only cover the amount you still owe on the property in others. As a result, you may need to take more steps to process an insurance claim.

Fix problems

A geyser bursting isn’t usually as violent or destructive as it sounds, and you can often continue using it after a burst. However, it’s better to avoid this and replace a geyser as soon as you notice problems – especially if you want to stay consistently covered by insurance.

The geyser overflow pipe is likely to drip normally. But if you notice that more than one pipe is leaking, this could signify that a burst has happened. You need to notify your broker or insurer immediately and call in a plumber. To stay covered by insurance, only a qualified plumber – registered with the Plumbing Industry Registration Board – will be able to assist you.

There are a number of South African National Standards (SANS) codes that apply to geyser installations, and a plumbing certificate of compliance is required after the installation of a geyser. An accredited plumber will issue the certificate once the geyser has been installed, in accordance with the law.

In some older properties, the geyser’s drip tray might not be serviceable, so you need to get a qualified plumber to check that too. Also, note issues with water temperature, colour or pressure when using hot water outlets around your property and sort out any maintenance issues.

Damages

Water leaks can lead to other serious damage. For example, if a ceiling below the geyser or above a cupboard becomes damaged, the cost of repair can be prohibitive. Therefore, your short-term insurance policy should account for the replacement costs of the geyser as well as everything inside your property.

The total replacement cost needs to be considered. The building sum insured should also take into account the costs of demolition, alternative housing and delays in rebuilding.

Be prepared

Dealing with geyser issues before they become a problem will minimise the risk of unexpected and unpleasant problems. Start by checking your geyser outlet pipe and talking to your insurance broker about the right cover for you.