Make sure your holiday is a happy one

THE holiday season is full of parties, travel and gift-giving. Studies have shown that nine out of 10 people plan to travel at least once a year.

THE holiday season is full of parties, travel and gift-giving. Studies have shown that nine out of 10 people plan to travel at least once a year.

But the holidays are also a time when thieves and con artists are on the prowl. It's never fun to think of crime, fire or other misfortunes during the holidays, but such things happen more more often now than at other times of the year.

Gari Dombo, managing director at Alexander Forbes Insurance, says there is much to think about and do if you are to enjoy a well-earned break without aggravation.l Ensure that all the security arrangements required by your insurer are installed at your home. For example, your house alarm, armed response and doors must be working and secure.

l Valuables such as jewellery should be stored in a safe or deposited in a bank vault.

l Inform family, friends or a trustworthy neighbour of your holiday plans. Ask them to switch your lights on and off, cut the lawn, feed pets and remove the newspaper from the driveway.

l If you do not have a person staying on the premises it is a good idea to empty the fridge and freezer, check the geyser for leaks, ensure that plugs are not left in sinks with leaking taps and switch off geysers and stoves at the main power distribution box.

l Make sure all gutters and drains are clear. Blocked drains often lead to leaking roofs, causing damage to the interior of your house while you are away.

l Ensure that all the possessions in your home are insured, taking into account additional purchases you have made during the year.

l Make sure any vehicles left on the property are locked up in a secure garage. Removing the battery, wheels or distributor from your car is advisable.

Dombo adds that you should also consider the security of any property that you take on holiday with you.

"If your vehicle or the cabana you have hired on the South Coast is broken into you could lose possessions," says Dombo, who suggests that people take out an All Risks insurance package "covering everything you take with you on holiday, 24/7 and worldwide".

In the event of taking out All Risks cover, Dombo advises that you:

l Make sure that the description of the property you have insured is accurate and that you are insured for the full replacement value.

Consider increasing your general unspecified cover for clothing, personal effects and any portable property like a caravan or camping equipment.

lMake provision for any new portable items that you might buy over the holiday period. This includes digital cameras, cellphones and sporting equipment.

l Ensure that valuations of these items are on file before you leave. This will ensure that claimants experience no delay in settlement for valuables.

"While this seems like rather a long checklist, getting the right cover in place and ensuring that your maintenance, security and valuations match your cover can make the difference between an undisturbed break and a holiday you'd rather not remember," Dombo says.