Leaving home this festive season? Top tips to keep your possessions safe

DECEMBER 14, 2016

In all the holiday excitement, many South Africans fail to consider the adequate protection of their household items and their personal belongings.

Insurance statistics show that criminal activity is at its peak in South Africa during the December/January festive season period. Criminals are savvy – they are prone to surveillance and can spot vulnerabilities when a house has been left vacant.

As the South African summer holiday period approaches, make sure that you are not one of the many South Africans who fail to consider the adequate protection of their household and their belongings.

According to Carolyn Thompson, Head of Personal Lines at Mutual & Federal, “While a holiday is the time to let down your guard and relax, it is also a time to ensure that your property and belongings are safeguarded – especially if you are travelling for extended periods of time. There are fairly simple guidelines that will help you to mitigate the risks associated with criminal activity that can affect you this holiday period.”

Mutual & Federal advises consumers to follow these guidelines before travelling this holiday season:

Safeguard your valuable assets

Valuable assets like your smartphones, tablets and jewellery are easy targets for theft, not only when they are in your home, but also when they are with you when you are travelling. Ensure that you are insured should a theft occur - but also ensure that you are covered if you lose or break something while away, so that you can claim back from your insurance provider.

It is important to ensure all items are specified including cellphones, that jewellery valuations are up to date and that your insurance limits are up to date.

Unplug everything

This is not only good for the environment, and helps you save on electricity, but will also protect against electrical surges, burst geysers and electrical fires. Before leaving on your holiday, unplug all of your electrical equipment, turn off your geyser and turn off the main tap to cut the water supply.

Be visible even when you are not present

Criminals are constantly vigilant – and are especially aware that individuals and families are going on holiday and leaving their homes for extended periods.  This automatically equates to an increase in crime. According to Mutual & Federal, last year this time saw an increase of 8% in claims for house break-ins during December 2015 and January 2016 compared to the rest of 2015.

To minimize your risk, there are a few steps to take to help steer criminals away from your premises including:

  • Get a friend or family member to house sit, or ask a family member to visit daily. This shows that there is some movement at your home. Make sure that the person looking after your home has all of your contact details should an emergency arise.
  • Leave a light on inside your house and set a timer, if possible, on your outside light that switches on when the sun sets.
  • Ask someone to remove dated newspapers if they get delivered to your home, and collect your post.

Insure your moveable assets

Make sure that the insurance on any vehicles remaining behind during your holiday period is up to date and that the vehicle is parked in a secure area on your premises (in the garage or car port). It is also a good idea to make sure that you have updated roadside assistance for your car should you need this service on your road trip.

If you are a Mutual & Federal customer, road-side assistance is offered and can be arranged by calling 0860 247 365.

Thompson concludes, “While the prospect of winding down and getting to relax this holiday season is exciting and much needed, we need to ensure that all aspects of risk are mitigated. Following these holiday insurance tips will give you the peace of mind you need to really help you enjoy your time away from home.”

image: www.shutterway.co.za