Christmas is a time of sharing and giving. It is also a time of wanton taking by criminals hellbent on unburdening South Africans of their worldly possessions while they frolic on the beaches.
The Vehicle Security Association of South Africa and consumer and insurance ombudsmen have the following tips to protect yourself, your family and your assets:
l Make sure that your home and your car security complies with your insurance requirements.
l If you are travelling abroad, think about taking out travel insurance to cover unforeseen circumstances.
l If you are travelling by car, ensure that it is roadworthy and the tyres are in a good condition to avoid being stranded. Remember the golden rule is to immediately drive to the nearest police station or a public place if you think you are being followed.
l Keep the contact numbers of the police, your broker or insurer on hand so that you have the pertinent information in the event of a mishap.
l Make sure that all your belongings are adequately insured. Under-insurance is a primary reason people don't get paid out enough when they claim if something is lost or stolen.
l If you have recently bought a digital camera or cellphone, it is best to insure it under the "all risks"'" section of your policy.
l Be safety conscious at all times. Keep your belongings in a safe place.
l Make arrangements with family, friends or a neighbour you trust to check your house regularly.
l Cancel any home deliveries.
l Household appliances such as geysers and fridges should be checked thoroughly. Be sure that plugs are not left in sinks with leaking taps. This is a major cause of flooding.
l Make sure gutters and drains are clear. Summer rains and blocked gutters can cause leaking roofs and interior damage.