News Release

November 2018

What’s your ‘Home’ for the holidays?

A beach resort, a bush retreat or the bliss of home sweet home

Whether your home for the holidays is an exotic beach cabana, a cosy tent and caravan in the bush, or the simple pleasures of rest and relaxation at your very own ‘home sweet home’, make sure you take care of these important safety checks and balances so that nothing comes between you and a well-deserved break.

Aon South Africa, a leading insurance brokerage offers some sage holiday advice to make your days jolly and your worries naught over the festive season:

Before you leave your home:

  • Spare keys - leave a spare set of keys, as well as a contact address and phone number with a trusted neighbour or nearby family member in case of an emergency, such as a fire, a burglary or re-setting your alarm.
  • Test your alarm - and the response of your security company and notify them or your neighbourhood watch that you are going away.
  • Appoint a reputable house-sitting service - to keep tabs on your property and to switch on lights, feed pets, clear post boxes, water plants and put out rubbish bins on collection day.
  • If you are not appointing a house sitter, ensure you lock windows and doors, close all taps tightly, turn off the geyser and set your security alarm system. Cancel any newspaper subscriptions at least 10 days before your leave.
  • Online bookings - With cyber scammers widening their nets, make sure that you thoroughly vet any online bookings you make for accommodation and travel. You don’t want to discover that you’ve been scammed a week before your departure, with your deposit and any hope of finding alternative options going up in smoke.
  • All risks cover - Check that all the items travelling with you on holiday such as tablets, cell phones, cameras, designer sunglasses, luggage and so on are covered under your All Risks insurance on your household contents policy.
  • Medical aid – Don’t forget your medical aid card, as you never know when a medical emergency may arise. Also, check how your medical cover will respond outside of South Africa’s borders if you are travelling abroad. If necessary, top up with travel insurance – there’s nothing quite like having to pay for a medical emergency in Pounds or Euros to put a nasty dent in your holiday budget.
  • Roadside assistance - It’s also a good idea to have a 24-hour breakdown assist on quick dial if you’re planning a road trip.
  • Remember to pay your utility bill - you don’t need a power cut while you are away.
  • Load shedding - with the very real risk of load-shedding during December which can increase the chances of power surges or power tripping when it comes back on, remember to disconnect computers, TVs and other sensitive equipment. Empty your fridge/freezer of all perishables - there’s nothing like coming home to a fridge filled with a rotten mess.

Get your car ready for the road:

  • Make sure your motor insurance is up to date and that the value of your vehicle is correct.
  • Check that any trailers and cars you use on holiday are roadworthy and properly licensed.
  • Get your car serviced and check tire tread and inflation, windscreen wipers, oil and water. Make sure you have a functional spare wheel, jack, wheel spanner, safety triangle and jumper cables.
  • Repair any cracks or chips in your windscreen.
  • Make sure your tracking device is operational.
  • Pay any outstanding traffic fines.
  • Ensure your driver’s licence is valid and if you are travelling outside SA, check the territorial limits of your cover regarding cross-border requirements – some countries insist on license papers or proof of insurance.
  • Car jamming - When exiting your car, physically check that your car doors are locked before walking away from the vehicle. Petrol stations are car jamming hot spots where criminals lurk to empty out your valuables while you nip into the quick shop.

While you’re away for the holidays:

  • Stay vigilant - of course it’s time to relax and unwind, but don’t let your guard down. Opportunistic criminals don’t take vacations and look for soft targets who aren’t paying attention to their surroundings. Make sure you properly lock up and close windows when you go out, lock your valuables like jewellery, cash and so on in a safe, and don’t leave valuables lying in plain sight.
  • Keep it to yourself - While the urge to share your happy snaps and details about your holiday on social media platforms may be tempting, it also provides an easy way for criminals to pinpoint your location; and more importantly, establish that you’re not at home. A quick check of your social media privacy settings will help you to be mindful of who has access to view your profile.
  • Christmas gifts - Arrange insurance cover on your expensive Christmas gifts such as jewellery, tech gadgets, appliances and so on – you can even inform your broker before you purchase the gifts so that your items are covered the moment you leave the store.
  • Opportunistic crime - While on the beach, in a restaurant or any other public place, be mindful of the people around you and what you leave in plain sight. Cell phones and wallets are easy targets when left lying around, as are banking cards that are cloned or stolen when you’re not paying attention. It’s always a good idea to activate sms notifications on your bank account so you can quickly pick up any unauthorised transactions.

Chilling at home:

  • Be vigilant - keep an eye out for loiterers or unfamiliar people scanning the area. If anything seems out of place, notify your armed response to investigate.
  • Activate your alarm - House robberies are a common occurrence and burglars really don’t need a lot of time to make off with your household contents and parked vehicles. What many policy holders don’t consider is that if your policy has what we call an ‘alarm warranty’ and you don’t arm it when the property is left unattended, you could find your claim rejected or the settlement dramatically reduced if you should be unfortunate enough to be burgled.
  • Get involved - Join your local Whatsapp community group to keep a finger on the pulse of goings on in your suburb.
  • Update your insurance policy - use the time to check that your insurance policy is updated with any new assets or building alterations done during the year, as well as any gifts and purchases. With our frenetic lifestyles, it’s easy to overlook the importance of keeping your cover relevant with your changing asset portfolio.
  • Get Handyit’s a perfect time to get those important home maintenance jobs done that you never have time for during the year. Remember that all homeowner’s insurance policies require that property owners maintain their homes in good condition and secondly that they take reasonable measures to prevent loss in the first place.

Make sure your holiday checks are done and your insurance policies are current and up to date so that the only thing you need to worry about this holiday is to rest, relax and refresh.

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Tom Hatcher 7 Jun 2014 14:58 Comments Policy
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