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28/03/2019

Insuring your personal generator

By: Christelle Colman, Managing Director of Elite Risk Acceptances

After a few weeks of national rolling blackouts, Eskom has announced that no load-shedding is anticipated for this week. The system, however, remains vulnerable, and South Africans remain in the dark regarding the future of Eskom’s energy crisis.

This uncertainty is expected to drive an increased demand for personal generators by South African consumers, says Christelle Colman, Managing Director of Elite Risk Acceptances – a subsidiary of Old Mutual Insure which provides bespoke short-term insurance solutions to high-net-worth individuals. “The use of personal generators is likely to become increasingly prevalent, particularly in the high-net-worth (HNW) market, as this group of individuals are known for being early adapters.”

Colman urges generator owners to consider the insurance implications related to owning and using a generator, so as to avoid any financial setbacks with claims relating to loss, theft or damage.

“While some insurers do cover generators in their standard home insurance policies, this may not always be the case. Furthermore, there are some insurers that impose limitations and restrictions depending on whether it is a fixed generator or a portable one,” she explains.

In addition to having comprehensive insurance in place, Colman says that policyholders who own personal generators or are thinking of getting a generator must ensure they adhere to the correct installation and usage requirements to avoid any related claims being repudiated.

It’s important to adhere to the terms of certificate of compliance SABS 1-0142 which states that a personal generator must be correctly installed at a residential property by a qualified and licenced electrician. “To prevent potential claims being rejected, it is important that homeowners receive a certificate of compliance from the electrician following the installation to prove that the generator was installed correctly,” says Colman, who adds that failing to install a generator correctly could pose a major fire hazard.

“According to a document released by Eskom on selecting the right type of generator, it is recommended that the generator be kept at least five meters away from the home and that working smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are installed. They must be stored in a weather protected enclosure with sufficient ventilation. As most generators operate with petroleum fuel, homeowners will also need to ensure that they comply with the legal limit of permitted fuel storage at a private residence,” she explains.

Colman advises that when homeowners suspect they will exceed the legal limit of quantities allowed, the fuel should be stored in an underground area separate to the home that is well ventilated. “Homeowners also need to ensure that they have approved fire equipment along with a certificate of approval from their local fire chief in their area.”

While the benefits of having a personal generator at home may be enticing, Colman emphasises the importance of adhering to the associated compliance requirements. “It is essential that great care be taken when installing these machines, not only to ensure safety and legal compliance, but also in order to prevent any financial loss at claims stage,” she concludes.

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