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Think ‘safety first’ over the ‘silly season’: a festive period insurance checklist

Think ‘safety first’ over the ‘silly season’: a festive period insurance checklist
09-12-22 / Tommy Jackson

Think ‘safety first’ over the ‘silly season’: a festive period insurance checklist

Johannesburg - The end-of-year period has earned itself a notorious reputation as the ‘silly season’ – and for good reason. Insurance claim data is indicative of a trend that sees a noticeable upsurge in motor vehicle accidents and home burglaries over the festive season. For South Africans, this increased scope of risk calls for a higher level of awareness and the implementation of practical measures to protect their homes, assets, cars and valuable belongings.

This is the opinion of Karen Rimmer, Head: Distribution at PSG Insure, who advises all consumers to put “safety first” during the holiday period by reviewing their insurance policies and doing their due diligence in terms of ensuring that the necessary safeguards are in place.

As she explains: “In our experience, we know that opportunistic criminals are particularly active during the festive period, especially given that many South Africans leave their homes to go on vacation. The increased level of reported crime during this time of year therefore represents a substantial risk.

Furthermore, home and car owners who neglect to perform the necessary preliminary checks before going on holiday open themselves up to risks related to electrical faults and failures, fire hazards and water damage. These possibilities add another layer to the risk equation. However, by taking a few simple steps to manage these risks, consumers can avoid costly incidences and enjoy peace of mind while away on holiday.”

Offering consumers advice on how to do this, Rimmer provides the following tips as a festive insurance checklist:

Review the level of cover on your home

“Best practice is to develop the habit of reviewing your insurance policies annually to incorporate any assets that may have been acquired during the year or to account for any renovations or home improvements. As part of this ‘annual audit,’ one should make sure that your home is insured for the replacement value of the property rather than the market value. This will ensure that in the event of the complete destruction of a property by natural disaster, for example, the homeowner is covered for the cost of replacing the entire structure,” says Rimmer.

Do your travel essentials include valuable items?

South Africans who are leaving their homes over the holiday period should also check that any portable assets are insured. This could include laptops, expensive jewellery and watches, sports equipment, designer handbags and mobile phones. These items can be insured as part of All Risk cover, which forms part of a home and home contents insurance policy.

Preparations for the long road

Before heading out on the road, car owners should perform a few basic checks, such as reviewing their insurance policy to check whether any enhancements and added modifications have been accounted for in the replacement value as stated in the policy. This includes expensive roof racks, bull bars and sound equipment. Motor vehicles should also be checked for roadworthiness, taking into account load-bearing restrictions, tyre fitment and condition, lights, indicators and the condition of the brakes.

Stay on top of your safety measures

“Part of an adviser’s role is to make their clients aware of their responsibilities in terms of ensuring that adequate risk management measures are in place and that every precaution has been taken to protect assets from damage and loss. Everyone should therefore review their policies and ensure they understand what their responsibilities are,” advises Rimmer.

There are a few basic checks that can be done in this regard, including making sure that all locks and security gates are in working order and are properly closed. Homeowners should also ensure that their alarms and electric fences are activated and that these systems are supported by a backup source of electricity (such as a rechargeable battery) to account for loadshedding.

Installing automatic light sensors that are activated by movement at night have also been used as effective deterrents for criminals. And before leaving for a holiday, geysers should be switched off and electronics unplugged to avoid any electrical damage caused by a power surge or faulty connection.

As Rimmer concludes: “Following a list of safety precautions to protect valuable possessions over this busy time of year can make all the difference in the event of a claim. Taking a safety-first stance will ensure that the claims process runs smoothly, and that any loss incurred is kept at a minimum.”

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