Eskom recently released a document “Selecting the right type of generator” as a result of an increased demand from South Africans looking to purchase and use generators in their homes to have power supply during power cuts. However, it is important for generator owners to also consider the insurance implications related to owning and using a generator as they could be financially set back by any related loss, theft or damage.
This is according to Christelle Fourie, Managing Director of MUA Insurance Acceptances, who says that policyholders who own personal generators need to ensure that they have proper insurance cover in place should the generator get damaged or stolen. “In addition, they must ensure they adhere to the correct installation and usage requirements to avoid any claims related to generators being repudiated.”
Power generators can turn out to be very expensive items and therefore it is imperative that consumers who own a generator speak to their broker or insurance provider to ensure it is covered in their general insurance policy, says Fourie. “Some insurance policies do include generators in the standard home insurance policy, but this may not always be the case. Certain insurers may impose limitations or restrict these altogether, depending on whether it is a fixed generator or one that can be moved.”
Fourie also explains that a personal generator must be correctly installed at a residential property by a qualified and licenced electrician in order to adhere to the terms of certificate of compliance SABS 1-0142. “Installing a generator is actually a very complex process and failing to install it correctly is illegal because it can pose a major fire hazard.”
No homeowners’ insurance policy will pay out a claim if the homeowner has not complied with the rules when it comes to the installation of generators, she says. “To prevent any possible claim rejections, it is important that homeowners receive a certificate of compliance from the electrician following the installation to prove it was installed correctly.”
To help reduce the risk of fire further, Fourie says that it is also advisable to have the generator installed or built on an outside cement slab in an area that is well ventilated. “In its document, Eskom recommends the generator is kept at least five meters away from the home and that working smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are installed.”
In addition, as most generators operate with petroleum fuel, homeowners need to ensure that they comply with the legal limit of permitted fuel storage at a private residence, says Fourie. “The rules stipulate that consumers are only allowed to store 200 litres of petrol at their home, while the limit for diesel and paraffin is at a maximum of 400 litres without registration.”
Fourie says that when homeowners know that they will have to exceed these quantities, the fuel needs to 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 a personal generator at home cannot be underestimated, it is essential that care is taken when installing these machines in order to prevent any resultant loss or damage. By failing to comply with installation and insurance regulations homeowners could face significant financial loss at the claims stage,” concludes Fourie.