Take simple precautions before leaving your home this Christmas, advises FNB Insurance Brokers.
"Vulnerability to burglary and other forms of loss rises at year-end," says Debbie Donaldson, personal lines managing director.
She says increased vulnerability is inevitable because people go away for several weeks.
"A house that is well secured is less at risk than one where security is obviously lax.
"Householders can help to contain rising premiums by actively managing their risk. In the long run, those with the best claims history pay the best rates."
Donaldson says burglary victims not only suffer financial loss, they also face emotional trauma when they return to a ransacked home.
"Yet common-sense precautions can keep trouble at bay," she says.
Put the following check list in place:
l Make sure your insurance is up-to-date and that valuations are realistic. Under-insurance can be a problem.
l Check the security in and around your home. Usually, you need security gates and burglar bars in front of all doors and windows that open to the outside. Consider installing more sophisticated security features.
l Shrubbery and vegetation provide cover for intruders. Cut bushes back before departure.
l If you have an alarm system, make sure it is working. Carry out regular tests, especially after power outages and storms. The guarantee and your insurance cover may be compromised if you neglect the alarm system.
l Always activate the alarm when leaving home or an insurer may repudiate a claim.
l Designate someone to respond in the event of an alarm.
l Ask a friend, relative or neighbour to check for storm damage, burst pipes or other problems as well as security.
l Make sure possessions are safely packed away. Outbuildings and the garage should be locked.