Top tips for a safe holiday season

The end-of-year holiday period is a time for many festive activities, both at home and away. Whether you’re taking a road trip or having the family over this year, it’s important to add your insurance cover to your checklist to make it the perfect holiday.

Keep things cooking

For many of us, the end of the year is a time to gather over meals shared with loved ones, and perhaps your oven will be working extra hard. If you haven’t maintained it and a fire breaks out, a claim might be repudiated based on negligence. Remember, it is your responsibility to maintain and service built-in fixtures like ovens.

Provisions for home and away

A fuller house could lead to some unforeseen accidents – and if someone falls down your stairs, they may come to you with the hospital bills. So, if you have family or friends coming to stay, make sure your third-party liability cover is up to scratch. This will cover any claims against you and helps to keep your budget protected against the unexpected.

If you’re the one going away and it’s going to be an extra-long break, you need to let your insurer know, especially if you usually have someone in your property. Any vacancy longer than 30 days must be noted with your insurer. However, it can make sense to hire a house sitter for extra peace of mind. They can also manage your post and dustbin for you, which will help to make your home look occupied.

Specify that something special

This year might have brought with it some expensive new additions. It’s crucial to update your insurance policy with any updates to your contents. If it’s something pricey that will stay at home (like an appliance), add its true replacement value to your contents cover.

If it’s something you carry with you (like a watch), specify it in your all risk cover immediately and accurately. There are few things worse than having something new stolen before you’ve even thought about insuring it, so don’t delay notifying your adviser or insurer.

Make memories safely

Social media is changing the insurance game and it’s best to play it safe to keep your cover in check. If you’re posting on social platforms about your holiday away – proving your home is unoccupied and therefore more susceptible to criminal targeting – burglary claims could be repudiated. While this is still a relatively new development in the insurance market, it’s always better to be careful.

The same can be said for posting photos of expensive new gifts – you never know who will have access to these and might be tempted to try their luck breaking in. It’s always best to be safe online and not to draw attention to yourself in a way that could make you a victim of crime.

Another good tip is to dispose of any packaging of new, expensive products safely. A box for a large flatscreen TV left in the bin can attract the wrong kind of entertainment this holiday season.

Arrive alive

Remember to service vehicles before taking a road trip. Also keep your adviser’s information handy, in case you need to communicate with your insurer or need accident assistance.

Finally, the new ruling on marijuana at home brings with it more risk for inebriated drivers on the road. It is still illegal to consume it and drive, just as is the case for alcohol. Many insurance policies include a pre-booked transport service so that you can avoid driving under the influence. There are also plenty of options – from apps to sharing rides to remaining sober – that will help you get home.

Road accidents at this time of year will be under harsh scrutiny by insurers, and it’s never worth risking your life or those of others because of one merry mis-judgement. We encourage you to be safe for a wonderful end-of-year break.

[Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure]

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