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SA's No 1 Insurance Blog

Why on earth would anyone want to insure glass?

If that question just popped into your mind don’t feel bad…judging from the number of enquiries (currently zero) we receive about glass insurance, it’s not top of mind with most business owners!

But for certain business owners glass insurance is a must…

So who should be looking at this type of cover?

If you own any type of retail business such as:

  • a supermarket,
  • a café,
  • a restaurant,
  • an optometrist
  • a hairdresser, or
  • a jewellery store

…then just maybe you need to rethink your strategy!

In fact, right now, stop what you’re doing and step outside of your business. Take a look at it with a fresh set of eyes.

Do you see what I see?
How many large glass pane windows do you have facing the street…or what about that set of fancy glass sliding doors you open and close every day?
Maybe you’ve had expensive signwriting done on the glass? And what about your shop counters, showcases, signs and mirrors?

Now imagine for a moment the cost of having to replace all that glass? And the cost of having all that signwriting redone? Spare a thought for it happening late in the afternoon – and the glass company giving you a story about how they can only come out the next day? Who will pay for a security guard?

No glass or mirrors outside or inside your business? Good…by now you’ve gathered you don’t need glass insurance!

Still with me…? Good! Onward…

So how much does replacing one square metre of 8, 3 mm glass cost nowadays?

At the time of writing this article (August 2010) one square metre would cost around R950 (Prices for thinner sheets of glass range from R630 per sq. metre for 5, 38mm glass to R700 per sq. metre for 6, 38mm glass).

Being the idiot I am I never bothered to ask whether the price included fitting or VAT, but R950 is still a heckuva lot of money.
But let’s imagine you replacing a 3 metre by 2 metre panel of glass…now we’re talking about R5, 700…Eina*!!!

What you should watch out for?

Two things:

  • The National building regulations

Insurance companies work according these regulations which specify the type of glass and the thickness thereof to be fitted. Unapproved glass would be replaced with approved glass which could be more expensive. An extension can be added to your policy which takes care of this.

  • Average

Because so many businesses underinsure for this risk, the insurance companies now apply ‘average’. Basically ‘average’ means that you become co-insured for a portion of the loss in the event of underinsurance. So, if you were insured for R10, 000 while replacement cost is R20, 000 – and you claim R5, 000 for damages – the insurer will only honour half your claim (R2, 500). Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

What information will we require in order to insure you?

At the end of the day it remains your responsibility to insure correctly. Rather pay the correct premium for your risk than have a claim turned down after paying premiums for 10 years!

Tackle it as if it were a building project…

  • Measure up all you shop fronts, shop counters, and display cabinets
  • Look for any markings on the actual glass which may identify the type of glass
  • Phone up your local PG Glass (and no, I don’t have shares in them!) and ask them for a price based on the length and breadth of your exiting glass. While you’re at it ask them if this glass still conform to the National Building Regulations. If it doesn’t then they need to provide a price on the replacement glass (and get a price inclusive of fitment as well while you’re at it!).
  • Get a quote on replacement signage at the same time
  • Add on an amount for the actual boarding up of the window until a new one can be fitted.
  • Work in a daily rate for having a security guard on your premises

Use this approach and you can’t go wrong!

If the insurance quotation comes in on the expensive side consider asking for a higher excess in lieu of a higher premium (Insurers prefer a higher excess to a higher premium anyway).

Having roller shutters in front of your glass windows after hours is a major plus.

What will the insurers be looking for?

Insurance assessors will be looking for:

  • The type of glass being used?
  • The thickness of the actual glass
  • Whether there are any pre-existing cracks in the glass (Remember that scratched glass is excluded when claiming. The glass must be cracked right through!). Pre-existing cracks are not covered for obvious reasons.
  • Is your business at higher than normal risk of smash and grab incidents (Think jewellery stores!)? Higher risk businesses will pay higher premiums!

With the prevalence of theft nowadays, any business selling high value items needs to consider this type of insurance – from the corner café who sells cigarettes to the cell phone and computer shops.
If your business is not situated in a secure shopping centre then the risk dramatically increases.

Finally, check your landlord’s lease agreement to see who’s responsible for replacement of the glass…maybe you’re lucky (but don’t count on it!)?

In our next instalment we’ll discuss Fidelity insurance – or as some insurance companies refer to it as – employee dishonesty.

InsuranceFundi has partnered with some of SA’s most reputable insurance and investment companies. We believe that everyone should have access to a wide range of comprehensive and affordable solutions. Pick the product you are interested in below, and expect a call-back from our partners.

Until next time.

The InsuranceFundi Team


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