Container living is a popular trend worldwide – how viable is it in South Africa and what will the impact be on my insurance policy?

Container living has become a very popular housing solution across the globe. There are various different reasons behind this phenomenon that’s taking the world by storm:

  1. It’s cool and trendy. People like the look and style of container living.
  2. It offers an affordable home solution.
  3. It’s more eco-friendly.
  4. It offers off-grid living. This means that you don’t necessarily have to be connected to a mains electrical supply and live in a more sustainable, self-sufficient way.
  5. It offers speedy construction. A container home doesn’t take nearly as long to build as a regular home.
  6. They enable people to relocate very easily if necessary.

How viable is container living in South Africa?

In South Africa the issue is not really how viable container living is since it can address many of our housing problems. The issue lies more in “brick-and-mortar” perception and the higher authorities’ old way of thinking. These mind-sets have stunted most of the potential container living in South Africa. The government housing department is not very open to the idea and banks are very weary of financing these ventures (if at all).

When it comes to insurance, the same rules still apply as with any other home built with brick and mortar; you can get comprehensive cover if your container home has been approved by the council and have undergone similar tests to those of a brick building. You will also need to be connected to the municipal water, electricity and sewage system.

The biggest challenge with container home insurance is the effect it could have on your premiums due to normal risk assessment. The biggest of which is being a fire hazard. Special attention needs to be given to minimise your fire risk when building a container home. You will need additional fire materials to clad the interior of your home and if you’re building a double-storey unit you will need to install fireboards between floors before you comply with fire safety requirements.

As with all insurance policies, the responsibility remains with you to properly research all your options and all the rules and regulations pertaining to your specific construction project. It is highly recommended that you speak to industry specialists when attempting a project such as this in South Africa.

If you are currently researching insurance options for your container home, we are happy to assist. Please contact us here.