Kenyans will continue to practice social distancing as it is not clear when we might get some normalcy. Working from home (WFH), a term coined recently in the wake of COVID -19, is a global admission of the reality of the day. Work from home, play at home, study and find things to do around the house.
Stressed by the confinement, also known as ‘cabin fever’, thousands of videos were posted on social media capturing creative and funny ways to survive staying at home. It has also been a period to learn new things. Some people cook, bake or fry their favourite meals, while the more adventurous brew home-made tipple to beat their thirst.
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What risks could arise at home?
Invariably, the possibility of things going wrong increases when all these activities happen at home. The risk of breakage or fire caused by an unattended kitchen appliance increases, with people in the house not accustomed to operating that equipment. This could be children innocently trying to help mom fix dinner or daddy trying out his twelve-year-old bakery skills, in between Zoom meetings and supervising homework.
It is not hard to pop your favourite roast in the oven, forget to set the timer and fall asleep on the couch. Then you suddenly wake up to a smoke-filled house. The possibility of fire or smoke inhalation courtesy of the charred roast leg of lamb or sponge cake is real. Living in a house alone is not an exclusion to these risks either.
The stay at home order has changed the hours of operation for lots of people who are accustomed to routines. An 8:00 am to 6:00 pm workday or a night shift was the norm for most. However, people are staying up late in the night and waking up later in the day. Disruptions to sleep patterns could cause fatigue leading to unintended bloopers around the house.
What about the kids’ safety?
COVID-19 has put additional challenges to parenting for the foreseeable future as parents work overtime to keep restless children from tripping over toys or jumping over the fence. Online classes have become a source of worry seeing how hard it is to monitor your children and still work from home. The difficulty goes up with age as teenagers are also stuck in the house.
Teenagers taking unauthorised possession of their parent’s cars for a spin in the estate is an age-old occurrence which largely goes unreported. This is until a kid behind the wheel rams into a neighbour’s gate or hits parked cars. It could get worse should the vehicle go out of control and hit pedestrians.
What does home insurance cover?
While we all hope and pray that these things don’t happen, it is prudent that we prepare for any eventuality. A good home insurance cover is key for peace of mind to safeguard against accidental acts of omission or commission which may include taps left running that may flood the house, gas leaks or breakages.
Home Insurance covers also take care of loss or damage from things beyond our control, otherwise known as ‘Force Majeure’. One can insure against damage by trees falling on property, storms, floods or lightning.
Living near an airport or flight path predisposes residents or homeowners to accidents, even though air travel is a low risk. Home insurance will cover damage and loss to life and property.
The impact of COVID-19 on Geo-political issues is hard to ignore despite the coming elections in 2021. This five-year cycle brings real risks to life and property both from overzealous supporters and vicious goons hired for sinister activities. Whereas the ideal situation is to see peaceful political transitions, prudence dictates that taking an insurance cover for civil unrest is a good call, if history is anything to go by.
On the upside though, it is not all gloom. The unprecedented COVID -19 disruption of life as we knew it has led humanity to learn new ways to do things, handle life, work and business. Wash your hands, stay home, wear a mask, stay safe.
Written by Peter Wachira who is the General Manager-GIB Sales, Resolution Insurance Limited