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Are you prepared for a house fire?

Four and a half minutes.

If a fire starts in your house, that’s all the time it takes for the fire to become so serious that you/your family will become incapacitated and rescue will be almost impossible.

According to statistics recently published by Discovery Insure, we are currently in peak house fire season. That is because more of us are making use of heating equipment and because the air & vegetation is generally drier. But before you assume that you’re not at risk, think about this statistic from Discovery: 55% of house fires originate from your chimney/flue! And if that didn’t scare you, another 30% originate from geysers, batteries, inverters and distribution board wiring.

So in other words: We are all equally at risk.

To help reduce your risk and ensure that you can escape a serious fire, Discovery advises that the installation of chimneys and flues must be SANS compliant and that we should have a regularly serviced, functioning fire extinguisher in the house. But there are other measures you can take, too. Smoke alarms are affordable, such as this one from Takealot, and should be installed throughout your house. This will give your family the maximum opportunity to escape quickly should a fire start. Secondly, never fall asleep with a heater switched on. And finally, ensure that you have an escape route planned out in advance, particularly in case the route to the front door is blocked.

If the worst were to happen and your house burns down, Discovery Insure’s clients are in good hands. Discovery Insure has paid out over R1 billion in claims to date, with the largest claim in the last six months being R46 million paid out in March for a fire that occurred in Cape Town. In the last year alone, Discovery processed 198 979 claims, out of which the Insurance Ombud received only 312 complaints and of those, 16.16% of Discovery’s decisions were overturned. This represents a rate of 1.57 complaints per 1,000 claims, while the industry average for other insurers is 2.48 with an overturn rate of 18.34%. Impressive.

If you have any questions about fire cover or building insurance, I would be more than happy to assist you.

Yours in fire prevention,

Stephan Kruis


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