The holiday season is usually an exciting and happy time for many South African families; however, it’s also the time when you need to plan to prevent potential disasters from happening while you are away from home.
According to the 2012 Victims of Crime Survey (VOCS) 59.3% of households perceive burglary as the most common crime. With this in mind precautions must be taken to try to prevent break-ins while the house is left unoccupied for the holidays. These include:
• Having friends or relatives check the property on a regular basis while the home owners are away to deter potential burglars
• Arming the alarm system and having it linked to an armed response will ensure that there is an immediate response to a potential break-in when the alarm sounds
• Having timed lighting that turns on at night will keep the house well lit and make it difficult for potential burglars to go unnoticed
• Installing proper physical security, such as security gates and burglar bars on all windows, will make access into the house more challenging for potential burglars
• Ensuring that the garden remains in a maintained state as an unmaintained garden could alert potential burglars to the fact that the house is unoccupied for a period and gives them ample time to plan and execute a break in
• Secure building items from theft, such as external geysers and gate motors, as these are easy to steal when residences are unoccupied for an extended period.
However, securing your house from potential break-ins is not the only precaution that you need to take before leaving for your summer holiday. Leaks and water damage are not a welcomed surprise on returning from a good break. To prevent this from happening there are a few steps that can be taken:
• Check the condition of the roof and replace any broken tiles immediately
• It is a good practice to get a building expert to check the condition of the roof and do the necessary waterproofing as necessary
• Ensure that your gutters are clean so that clogging, water overflow and resultant damage do not occur during a rainstorm.
• Ensure the geyser has a drip tray to accommodate excess water should the geyser burst
Having secured the house from potential damage it is important that each individual take precautions to protect themselves from falling victim to a potential threat. During the holiday season people are generally more relaxed and don’t think about the prospects of being robbed or mugged as a result expensive items such as cameras are on display. Always make sure that you look after your belongings whilst you are on holiday.
Finally, to give you the peace of mind that you need while you are enjoying your family getaway, ensure that you have adequate insurance in place to be able to replace any possessions that may be stolen, lost or damaged during this time. Household, homeowners and portable possessions cover will provide adequate protection should any of these potential disasters happen to you.
[Opinion piece written by Anton Ossip from Discovery Insure]