Safety tips to navigate bad weather

Heavy rains and adverse weather conditions that have impacted parts of Johannesburg over the last few days. Picture: Independent Media.

Heavy rains and adverse weather conditions that have impacted parts of Johannesburg over the last few days. Picture: Independent Media.

Published Nov 14, 2023


Santam, a short-term insurer, has confirmed that it has received reports of damage to policyholders in areas such as the Johannesburg CBD, Sandton, Midrand, as well as parts of Soweto.

This comes after heavy rains and adverse weather conditions that have impacted parts of Johannesburg over the last few days.

Santam’s executive head of claims Fanus Coetzee said because of the nature of a claims process, it is too early to quantify the extent of the damage or how much claims could possibly amount to.

“What we do know however is that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events is increasing, and we would advise policyholders in affected areas to take precautions where possible. We have activated our Catastrophe Claims Management protocols. Out first step on the hail damaged vehicles, for example, is to conduct triage on all the incoming hail damage claims to ensure that we prioritise repairs on vehicles rendered non-drivable and non-roadworthy due to damaged windscreens and lamps.

“We have deployed rapid response teams to the affected areas and are assisting affected clients to deal with the aftermath of the hailstorm,” he said.

In view of the continued hailstorm weather conditions predicted for parts of the Gauteng province, Santam advises that South Africans should adhere to the following safety tips:

Road use tips:

Use a GPS or App-related maps to find viable routes to use when travelling in the affected areas.

Drive slowly – slower driving minimises damages linked to storms and combats slippery roads.

If affected, locate a safe, covered area immediately or pull over under an overpass, provided it is safe to do so.

Undercover parking at malls and petrol stations is a good temporary solution to protecting your car during a severe downpour.

Stay inside the vehicle. Large hail stones pose a genuine personal injury threat.

Keep fleecy blankets in your boot so you can cover your car to minimise the impact of hail. If you don’t have blankets, grab the floor mats and put them on the roof and hood to at least cover some of the car to help minimise the costs of dent repair, dent removal and other hail damage repair.

Take careful note of the extent of the damage to your car, look for damage to all glass items including side mirrors, taillights and head lights. Taking pictures may be useful when it comes to claim time.

If you are affected by a storm, immediately report the incident to your insurer.

Property tips:

In the event of heavy rainfall or hailstorms, always try and divert water 'runoff' away from your house, if possible.

Identify areas where water is likely to pool and flood into your home and address these by installing preventative measures such as a dry well. You could also consider installing tubes and pipes which could facilitate water into and out of the well.

Ensure that stormwater infrastructure and the road on your property is kept clean. Conventional stormwater infrastructure quickly drains stormwater to rivers and streams, driving the water away from your property.

Keep your gutters clean and free of debris. Hail takes a while to melt and an overflowing gutter could lead to a leaking roof and further damage. Hail build-up is also heavy so make sure that the guttering is sound and in good order.

Keep your blinds down. Make sure you close all curtains, blinds or shutters to prevent broken window glass and hailstones from entering your home and injuring you or your family.

Park your car in the garage or in a sheltered undercover area.

Pack an emergency box. If you live in an area that's known for flooding, please make sure you know what to do when your house floods.