It is that time of the year again when most of us will be gearing up for that much-deserved end of year break.
Knowing that a great many of us will be holidaying over this period, leaving our homes for some well-deserved rest elsewhere, you cannot afford to be complacent about securing your homes, particularly over the festive season when incidents of crime usually increase.
There is nothing as painful as coming from a rejuvenating holiday only to find your house broken into and all your belongings that you had struggled to buy having been stolen.
Haydn Marchant, executive head of sales at Lion of Africa Insurance Company, says it is crucial that you take proactive steps to protect your belongings that you leave behind when you go away on holiday.
Equally important, he says, is to ensure that you have financial protection against any loss of household possessions that may occur when you are away.
Even though such losses can't be wished away, they can be mitigated to an extent, he says.
Here are some of the precautionary measures you could take before going on holiday:
l If you have a security company that you are contracted to, inform them about your holiday plans, or alternatively, inform some of your neighbours that you trust about your going away;
l Stop deliveries like papers or ask a neighbour to collect your mail and fit a lights timer so that your lights could automatically be turned on at night;
l It is important that you have adequate household insurance because, despite all the security measures you'd have put in place, the high crime rate in South Africa means that there is still a distinct possibility that your house will be robbed while you are away;
l Make sure that you familiarise yourself with the conditions of your cover and the claims procedures;
l Always report incidences of damages or loss to your insurer even if you will not be claiming for them;
l Always ensure that the information on your policy is up to date. The value of your household goods may increase with time or you may purchase additional household items;
l Inform your insurance company if you plan on being away from home for extended periods of time;
l Collect and keep the receipts, or copies thereof, of your larger possessions like your TV, DVD player, fridge, microwave and so forth, not forgetting those that are small in size but big in price such as cameras and jewellery;
l If for example an alarm system is a condition of your burglary or theft cover, ensure that it is in a working condition at all times and armed when there is no one at home;
Remember, insurers will reject your claim if your policy conditions are not being adhered to in terms of your alarm system.
According to the Ombudsman for short-term insurance, the office had experienced an increase in the number of claims being rejected by insurers because no signal was received by the alarm monitoring service at the time the burglary took place.