Check your insurance

HAVING your luggage nicked at the airport is only one of the increased risks travellers attending World Cup matches face this year.

HAVING your luggage nicked at the airport is only one of the increased risks travellers attending World Cup matches face this year.

Chances are that Airport Company South Africa (Acsa) will decline your claim on the basis that it has disclaimers displayed exonerating them from liability.

Take the case of Nkhangweleni Netshisaulu whose spare wheel, costing R6500, was stolen from his vehicle in February.

Netshisaulu was flying to Mpumalanga and parked his Toyota Hilux 3.0D4D in the parking area at OR Tambo International.

On his return he did not realise that his spare wheel had been stolen.

"When I drove over the humps I heard the chains under the vehicle rattle against them," Netshisaulu said.

He could not stop to check because he would have blocked the vehicles following him. He stopped as soon as he was able to and that was when he discovered that his spare wheel had been stolen.

He reported his loss to Acsa and gave a statement to the police at the airport.

Netshisaulu was allowed to view surveillance footage with Bosasa Security and Acsa and discovered that there was no camera surveillance where his car has been parked.

"We could only see my car being driven into the parking area, nothing more," he said.

He lodged a claim with Acsa and was referred to Alexander Forbes, the airport company's insurers. He did not hear from themuntil last week, when Sowetan stepped in.

Priscilla Moloi of Alexander Forbes said they could not find any wrongdoing on the part of Acsa or their employees. Moloi said they had a disclaimer exonerating them from liability.

"Vehicles are parked at owners' risk and our client has disclaimer notices displayed at their parking facilities," Moloi's response said.

"What did I pay for if my vehicle was parked at my own risk?" a frustrated Netshiaulu wants to know.

"Why do they have security if my vehicle was parked at my own risk and why do they have surveillance camera at selected places and not where my car was parked?"

Gari Dombo, managing director of Alexander Forbes Insurance, advised consumers to take out or update their existing all-risk policies, which provides complete and worldwide cover for any possessions that they might take with them when they travel.

Dombo said it was inevitable that as more people moved around the country during the 2010 soccer tournament, more possessions would be lost, stolen or left behind.

"People are often not aware of how much stuff they carry with them and what it is worth when it is all added up," he said.

"For example, if a couple with two teenage kids fly to Durban for a match they are likely to take four mobile phones, at least two iPods, two laptops, jewellery, watches, clothing as up if lost or stolen," he said.

Dombo said many people do not realise that most general household insurance policies are premises-based and will not cover loss when a client is away from home.

"With anywhere between 300000 and 450000 foreign tourists coming to the country soon and adding to what will anyway be a domestic travel bonanza, there is a higher risk of luggage disappearing at airports, bed and breakfasts, holiday homes, flats, hotels and stadiums," Dombo said

He advises football fans and travelers to have all-risk policies for their own peace of mind.