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How does a water-saving mindset reduce your insurance risk?

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Did you know that an active water-saving mindset could actually reduce your insurance risk? Homeowners who regularly check their water meters for constant activity, as well as their municipal accounts which they combine with month-on-month photo evidence of their actual consumption, are more likely to detect leaks than those who just rely on the municipal readings – be they actual or estimated.

Homeowners are required to fix all leaks as this is considered home maintenance, which in turn will ensure that they remain covered by their insurer.

Leaks that go undetected over time, particularly in areas where dolomite is present, can cause major damage, such as sinkholes. “Insurers may repudiate claims – big or small – for any damage in this case, as repairing leaks are considered to be part of home maintenance in order to remain covered,” Sonet Swart, head of claims at PSG Insure, says. “Undetected leaks anywhere in your home can also lead to higher water bills. If your bill is unusually high due to a leak you didn’t know of, you might not have any recourse with your insurer to cover it or your municipality to reduce your bill, as leaks are generally a homeowner’s responsibility.”

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Leaking toilets and dripping taps can on average waste up to 30 litres of water per hour; that’s about 21,600 litres of water in a single month!

You can monitor your property to check for leaks by following these simple steps:

  1. Make sure all taps are closed on your property and don’t flush any toilets, or have any water-using appliances running. Check your water meter reading.
  2. Wait 15 minutes, making sure that no taps or appliances are turned on, or any toilet is flushed. Now check your meter reading again.
  3. If the reading has increased, chances are you have a leak. Remember that it is your responsibility to have it fixed. Call a plumber or, if you can detect the leak and remedy it with a simple DIY job, make sure you do so as soon as possible.


David A Steynberg, managing editor and director of HomeTimes, has more than 10 years of experience as both a journalist and editor, having headed up Business Day’s HomeFront supplement, SAPOA’s range of four printed titles, digimags Asset in Africa and the South African Planning Institute’s official title, Planning Africa, as well as B2B titles, Building Africa and Water, Sewage & Effluent magazines. He began his career at Farmer’s Weekly magazine before moving on to People Magazine where he was awarded two Excellence Awards for Best Real Life feature as well as Writer of the Year runner-up. He is also a past fellow of the International Women’s Media Foundation.

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