SAIA: Ensure your home is also safe while you’re away

Johannesburg - Most of us are holding our breath as the country rolls out its vaccination programme for frontline workers, and our lives begin to regain traction under the Level 1 protocols. Yet, there is a definite feeling of relief and optimism that, while we are not clear of the coronavirus pandemic, we see signs of “normal” life returning.

Certainly, many of us will use the Easter holiday as a stepping stone towards that normalcy, either by taking a break or simply spending time doing what we are used to doing and getting back on track. This should entail checking and updating household administration, such as insurance policies.

The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) CEO Viviene Pearson said this is particularly relevant if you plan to go away for a holiday. “It might sound trite, but crime does not stop because it’s a holiday season,” said Pearson. “We know that house break-ins tend to peak during these times. And while it’s common practice to notify your security company that you are going to be away, it’s common sense to make sure you have adequate insurance cover.”

Pearson suggests setting up a meeting with one’s broker or financial advisor to run through a checklist of your policy to ensure that the details are up to date, and there are no shortfalls. “Make sure you know exactly what you are covered for,” said Pearson, adding that it is also worth checking with your broker on what you should and should not exclude from the policy,” she said.

One of the shortfalls is having a house sitter who may compromise your household cover by not activating your alarm system or leaving the house unlocked, which could mean claims for theft are rejected. You must inform your house sitters of your insurer’s requirements. Also, to prevent power surge damage, remember to switch off and unplug electronic equipment, including televisions, computers and sound systems.

Other points that should be on your list, for example, are that the cover for home contents reflects the replacement value of the entire contents of your home. Ensure that the building insurance is up to date—this covers wind, fire and water damage (including a burst geyser).

“The non-life insurance sector plays a crucial role in ensuring the financial security of its customers,” said Pearson. “Generally, as the lockdown eases up and the high-risk holiday season begins, I would say this is the ideal moment to do an appraisal of your policies.”

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