The average monthly claims for contents insurance typically peaks during the holiday season as a result of theft, burglary and lightning.
Gari Dombo, MD of Alexander Forbes Insurance suggests that there are ways of mitigating risk during the holiday season:
- Leave your house in the care of a competent house sitter or ask a friend to check on your home regularly.
- Update your 24/7 numbers for both car and household emergencies so you or your house sitter can contact your plumber, electrician and security company and liaise with your insurance company or broker.
- If you have an alarm be sure to show the house sitter or friend how to switch it on and make sure that it is in working condition.
- Don’t leave the spare keys outside under a flowerpot or in the post box. Also give someone you trust copies of your flight tickets, passports, contact numbers, itinerary, travel insurance documents, travellers cheques and ID books.
- If you are planning to take your vehicle across the border then it is important to check your policy to ensure that you are covered in the territory that you are travelling to and be sure to purchase the compulsory motor liability cover required in that territory (sold at the border).
- Remember that most panel beaters close during the holiday season so if you need a vehicle during this time make sure that your policy provides a hired vehicle. It is also important to check if you are covered for a hired car in the event of your car being written off or lost outside of South Africa.
- When travelling internationally make sure that you have sufficient cover in case of an emergency evacuation from a foreign country or a medical procedure. Some Medical Aid companies provide medical evacuation cover free of charge but you need to check with them to be sure.
- · Your existing All Risks policy would cover some possessions that you take with you so to check if everything you need cover for is listed.
- Unplug all electronic equipment, switch off all geysers and stoves at the distribution board, and empty your fridge and freezer, to protect against electricity surges, lightning strikes and fires.
- Clear pipes, drains and gutters of debris and leaves to avoid flooding while you are away.
- Don’t tell the world (on Facebook or Twitter) when you are going away and how long you will be gone for. It’s not only your friends who may be interested in this information.
“Knowing that your belongings are safe and you have put the right precautions in place will ensure that you can truly enjoy your well-earned break,” concludes Dombo. “On behalf of everyone at Alexander Forbes Insurance, I wish you a happy and safe festive season and a good start to 2014.”