Sparks Electrical News

Homeowners are at risk of having their insurance claims rejected if it is found that they are not in possession of a valid Electrical Certificate of Compliance (CoC) for their property.

What homeowners need to know about electricityThis is according to Marike van Niekerk, Legal and Compliance Manager at MUA Insurance Acceptances, who says that insurers expect their policyholders to prove that they have taken reasonable measures to manage the risks associated with their insured assets. “Legislation requires a homeowner to be in possession of an ECOC as proof that the home’s electrical installation is safe. Insurers expect the same.”

In the event of an electrical fire in one’s home, insurers may request proof that the home’s electrical connections had been inspected and certified by a qualified electrician. “The most important thing to remember,” says van Niekerk, “is that a CoC does not last indefinitely. In terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) anyone selling a home is required to present a CoC (that is no older than two years) before the property can be transferred to a new buyer. If any changes have been made to the home’s electrical connections since the last CoC was issued, the seller will have to apply for a new certificate before the transfer”.

Van Niekerk warns that new homeowners also need to make sure the CoC is valid when they buy their home. “An insurer may decide not pay a fire claim (for example) due to faulty electrical installations if the current homeowner did not conduct due diligence and ensure that his or her ECOC was valid. It has happened that sellers provide certificates that are invalid due to electrical upgrades or, in worst cases, certificates that are fraudulent.”

Van Niekerk adds that homeowners should ensure their electrical risks are proactively managed. “Being able to prove that the owner of a property did everything reasonable to manage the risks that regular wear and tear pose to a home’s wiring, can help a claim. It is also good maintenance practice to have one’s property re-inspected by a qualified professional at least every two years.”

To prevent any possible claims rejections, Van Niekerk advises homeowners to get registered installers to perform maintenance on all installed electrical appliances, such as ovens, as well. “There are major implications to not adhering to all the regulations pertaining to a home’s electrical connections, and homeowners place themselves in peril –financially and physically – if they do not take this responsibility seriously,” concludes Van Niekerk.



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