Your other holiday planning

23 November 2017

Car service – booked. Leave – approved. Holiday accommodation – booked. Pets – kennel reservations made. Kids’ travel entertainment – sorted. Insurance – always on.

But hang on. Does your everyday insurance cover give you peace of mind that should anything unforeseen happen while on holiday you are in good hands? Holidays are times of heightened risk. For example, holiday travelling increases your vehicle exposure on the roads. In addition your home is unoccupied, which increases your risk of burglaries. Another consideration is that your geyser can burst while you are on holiday and the possible amount of damage in your absence might have a huge financial impact.

We still have some time before the holiday season really kicks off. Part of your tick box should be checking your policies for what’s covered and what’s not, and to make sure your policies are up to date. That’s your best chance for a care-free holiday!

There are a number of factors to consider on your existing cover:

  • Being underinsured (for example, estimating the contents of your house at R800 000, when in fact replacing it might cost you closer to R1,2 million). In this instance your insurer is liable only for the percentage you’ve paid, which in this example equals two thirds of the claim.
  • Not abiding by the terms and conditions of your policy For example, a client is required to maintain his or her vehicle so that it is in an efficient and roadworthy condition that complies with the Road Traffic Act. The condition and tread depth of the vehicle’s tyres must also comply with the requirements of the Act, If the aforementioned conditions are not complied with, your insurer can repudiate your claim.

It is also important to know and be aware of what you are not covered for, and if that’s a risk you don’t want to take, now’s the time to ensure that all is in order with your insurance cover.

On the home front

Building Insurance: This relates to an immovable structure, including your private home. It covers you following loss or damage to the insured property following an insured event. Building Insurance is not something many of us look at very often, but with the cost of property escalating, it’s easy to find yourself underinsured.

To ensure that the buildings are covered in case of a catastrophic event that renders your house uninhabitable, like a fire or flood, check whether your policy covers your accommodation costs somewhere else while your house is being repaired or replaced.

Household Contents Insurance (HOC): This refers to the movable contents of your home, e.g. clothes, books, paintings, TV and so on. Inflation is a reality in our lives. If you bought an item a while ago, the prices of the same item might not be the same at time of replacement. Therefore it is important to also take that into consideration. If your home is going to be unoccupied for a while, ensure that you’ve checked and ticked all the conditional clauses in your policy. For instance, if your alarm system is a condition of your insurance, get your security company to check that your alarm is in a working condition and it is armed whenever the building is unoccupied. If your alarm is not in a working condition and not armed at the time of break in, your insurer is entitled to repudiate your claim.

Also, since you could be carrying high-value items with you while you’re holidaying, check the all-risks or portable possessions aspect of your policy. Items like tablets, cameras and expensive handbags are easily stolen. Please check if they are covered in your policy.

While you’re travelling

By air: If you’re flying and you paid for your tickets with your credit card, you’ll probably benefit from automatic travel insurance cover, which covers you against cancellations and other travel issues. You might also benefit from embedded medical insurance; or your own medical aid might insure you while you’re abroad. But take the guess-work out of it: look at what you have and get the paperwork in order. Assess the gaps, and if you’re out of your comfort zone, buy travel insurance to cover the gaps.

By road: There are various risks while travelling on the road, like accidents and a vehicle breakdown. Your vehicle insurance may offer you value-added services like roadside assistance. So, look at your policy to familiarise yourself with the benefits.

If you want to speak to your insurance company

Call Absa Insurance (AIC) on 0860 111 555, HOC on 0860 100 876 or idirect on 0860 109 693.

They are wholly owned subsidiaries of Absa Financial Services; and have solutions for all your personal insurance needs: from motor, household contents, travel, legal and building insurance. They have some highly innovative and thoughtful options, protecting what you care about most.

  • More on vehicle insurance: There are various options of vehicle insurance cover to choose from – comprehensive cover; third-party, fire and theft; and third-party cover. There is also a mechanical breakdown warranty that covers mechanical failure and related costs.
  • Absa also offers extended cover, which includes, among other benefits, a shortfall benefit. If your car is stolen or written off, your insurer will settle the claim – but there may be a gap between that and what you still owe the bank on the car. This insurance product will pay that, minus the excess.

Prevention is better than cure

And, of course, prevention is better than cure. Before you leave for your holiday, turn off the gas, if you have a gas cooker. Unplug electrical appliances and the geyser. Double check that all taps are turned off, even those connecting the dishwasher and washing machine. Alert your alarm company to the dates of your absence, and set up a friend or neighbour as their contact in case the alarm goes off. Install a timer to switch lights on and off – that won’t fool a determined, watchful burglar, but it will deter the opportunistic one. Ask a neighbour to bring in the mail. And don’t put your movements all over social media – nobody’s Facebook profile is really private to a hacker; and social media is a fruitful hunting ground for crooks.

Be safe!

Disclaimer: The advice contained on this blog is for general purposes only and does not take into account individual circumstances, objectives or financial needs. Accordingly, readers are advised to seek appropriate advice from licensed professionals prior to making any investment, or taking up a financial product or service.