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Ways to survive power cuts in winter

Friday, 27 March 2020

Besides using gas heaters instead of electric ones and stocking up on warm blankets, here are some useful tips on how to survive a power outage during winter:  

  1. Alarm systems, garage doors and electric gates generally rely on electricity. Ensure that these items all have good back-up batteries.
  2. Keep your cell phone charged and handy. It’s also a good idea to invest in external power-banks.
  3. Use LED globes with a rechargeable battery backup, so you need only to connect the rechargeable battery to the LED globe to produce light.
  4. Keep a torch or a solar, battery powered light that is charged beforehand in multiple, easily accessible locations around your home. Be sure to also have plenty of spare batteries.
  5. Your fridge and freezer supplies should be okay without power over night if you do not open and close it repeatedly. If you’re worried about certain food items, prepare an ice-box for these.
  6. During a power cut, security systems and electric fences will obviously go offline. This raises the question - if your house is burgled during a black-out, are you insured? 

It is a condition in most insurance policies that a house alarm is activated at all times when the home is not occupied. So, if a house is burgled during a power cut, then, theoretically, you would not benefit from any burglary cover as the alarm would be rendered inoperative. However, if you have a home contents insurance policy and your house is burgled during a power cut, your insurer may apply principles of fairness and equity when processing such a claim.

Of course, preventing loss or damage in the first place is ideal. Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Take care when arriving or leaving home, install battery-operated lights outside.
  2. Avoid fire risks.  When using candles, ensure that they are not placed near flammable items like curtains, are extinguished before you go to bed and are never left in an unoccupied room.
  3. Invest in a generator or UPS (Uninterrupted Power Supply). There are various options available depending on your needs. Inverter generators, although more expensive, are ideal when it comes to protecting electronic equipment, which can be costly to replace.
  4. Increase your vigilance when driving at night. It’s difficult to see where traffic lights are when the power is off, which can lead to accidents. Keep an eye out for opportunist criminals, using the cloak of darkness to their advantage.
  5. Know where your panic buttons are in your home.
  6. Ensure your alarm is in working order and test it frequently. 7. Arm your alarm when leaving the house. If your alarm is able to arm specific sections of the property do this when you are at home. 8. Keep your valuable items out of sight when you aren’t using them, and when no one is at home. 9. Keep the area around your gates well maintained and clear of bushes.

Taking additional precautions and checking that you have adequate cover will not only help minimise the stress and inconvenience that comes with power outages, but will give you invaluable peace of mind.   

Please note: This document does not replace the terms and conditions of the customer’s insurance policy. Please consult the terms and conditions of the relevant insurer. The customer is obliged at all times to provide true and accurate information to the broker and the insurer, and needs to update this information on a regular basis.


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