After the easing of travel and lockdown restrictions, we will all be looking forward to going away for a much-needed break this holiday season. With the lifting of travel bans imposed on the country by places like the UK and US, there are even more options for holidaymakers and travel is expected to increase to the highest levels since early 2020.
While those of us who are gearing up to go on holiday may be excited about a change in scenery after being homebound for so many months, it’s important to make necessary provisions to ensure that our homes and their contents will stay safe while away. This is especially true if when going out of town for an extended period of time.
A vacant home without security measures in place could be a target for potential opportunists, who are particularly active over the December/January period. According to a 2019/2020 report released by Stats SA, housebreaking or burglary remains the most common crime experienced by households in South Africa. The report states that an estimated 169 000 incidences of home robberies occurred during the period, affecting 139 000 households with incidents peaking in June and December.
With that in mind, many of us are uneasy about our spaces remaining unoccupied for the duration of their time away from home. For peace of mind while on holiday, homeowners and renters alike should consider the following:
Make sure you have insurance cover in place
It may seem like a grudge purchase, but the benefits of home insurance cannot be overstated. Should something unfortunate happen to your home while you’re away, whether it be a break-in or burst geyser, the impact on your finances could be significant. This is where insurance plays a critical role – it shields your finances from the impact of theft or damage to your home. Generally, if you own a home, you are likely to have homeowner’s insurance in place as it is often a prerequisite when taking out a bond. This covers physical structures like your garage, walls and roof and protects you in the event of damage caused by lightning, explosions, or fire.
Many people make the mistake of thinking that their household contents are covered by their homeowner’s insurance when in fact, this is seldom the case. Home contents insurance, on the other hand, covers everything inside your home including furniture, appliances and art or jewellery against theft, loss or damage. This type of insurance cover is also appropriate for renters who want to cover their personal belongings and household contents. So, if you wish to leave your laptop at home to properly disconnect while on holiday, for example, and the item is covered under household contents, it can potentially save you a lot of valuable time, money and energy in the unfortunate event you suffer a loss.
Check that you are not underinsured
Before heading off on your travels, always check in with your insurer to make sure that the values of all your household contents are reflected accurately. It can take years to furnish your home, and you don’t want to face a situation where these items are not accounted for properly in your cover and thus, cannot be replaced.
While in contact with your insurer to check that you are not underinsured, it is worth notifying them that you will be away for a certain period of time. They will be able to tell you if there are any conditions that you need to comply with to make sure that you will be correctly insured while on holiday.
Secure your home
Ensure that all doors and windows are securely locked and that there are no weak points for easy entry into the home. Ladders, hosepipes, and other items which are normally stored outside could assist criminals in gaining access to homes.
If you don’t already have an alarm system in place and have the funds to do so, consider investing in this security measure. If anything happens while you’re not there, the relevant security company will be able to conduct a check.
Befriend a neighbour
Ask a neighbour to regularly check on the property and report anything suspicious. They may also be able to assist with uncollected mail or tend to the garden to limit any signs that you’re away.
Avoid sharing on social media
As tempting as it may be to post pictures of yourself navigating busy airports and relaxing at the poolside, insurers are increasingly warning against this practice.
If you have to claim for insurance, download the Standard Bank Insurance App. IOS or Android
Standard Insurance Limited (Reg. No. 1993/007593/06) (“SIL”) is a short-term insurance company and an authorised financial services provider (FSP 33348). SIL is part of the Standard Bank Group.