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Home insurance must-dos this festive season

The festive season is one of the most expensive periods of the year. If you do not ensure that you have the correct insurance cover in place, or that your monthly premiums are paid up, you could be left destitute and out of pocket during an unforeseen event as insurers have the right to decline a claim.

Young says homeowners should take care not to under insure their properties and contents.

This is according to Craig Young, managing executive for oobainsure, who says while the extra paperwork may not be high on your festive priority list, it is an important precaution, as no one likes coming home to a burst geyser or a damaged property as a result of bad renters.

“Where a claim occurs and the property or its contents are not insured correctly, the insurer will apply an ‘average’ to the claim, which is based on what they believe to be the true replacement cost of the property at the time of the claim,” says Young.

“This means that if you are underinsured, you could end up having to pay for a significant portion of the claimed value yourself.”

Before going on holiday, he says to ensure that your house insurance premium is paid and that you are familiar with your policy so that you have sufficient cover in place, whether for accidents or theft.

“If you are going away for an extended period of time, leave a spare set of keys with a trusted person, such as a family member or neighbour, with your contact details,” says Young.

“They can assist you to switch on lights, feed pets, clear post boxes, water plants and keep the lawn cut while you’re away. In case of an emergency such as a burst geyser, power failure or resetting your alarm, that person can be there to assist.”

Young says if you’re renting out your property during the festive period, there is a genuine chance of damage to the house or its contents, which may only be discoverable upon your return.

In addition, he says your risk profile increases as soon as the property starts earning income, and this could affect your insurance.

“As a property owner, ensure that you have sufficient liability cover, as well as cover for accidental breakage. Obtain a healthy deposit from the renter as well as all of their personal details,” says Young.

 “Most importantly, inform your insurance company that you will be renting out your property. The insurer will review the policy for the duration of the tenant’s stay and underwrite the risk appropriately.”

To be on the safe side, he says to take the necessary precautions before handing over the keys to renters, such as locking away valuables, securing the mains box outside your property and making sure that vehicles left behind are immobilised and keys are hidden away.

Young shares a few tips on what you should make sure you are covered for before the festive season starts:

1. Buildings insurance

This is one of the most important policies you will purchase. It covers the structure of your home and its permanent fixtures and fittings in case of unexpected events, such as fire, floods and lightning. If your geyser bursts, whether you are at home or away, this policy will cover the costs of repair and damages.

2. Content insurance

Valuable assets inside your home, such as TVs, Hi-Fis, DVD players and computers are covered in the event of theft, water or fire damage. Do a realistic valuation when you request an insurance quote because if you undervalue the contents, there will be a shortfall in your pay-out.

3. Liability insurance

If your friends or family are visiting or you’re entertaining at home and an unforeseen incident occurs, this type of cover indemnifies you up to the amount insured, provided you are found legally liable in a South African court of law.

Young says he also recommends additional cover such as power surge, which covers the fridge, freezer and other electrical items such as electric gate motors and electric fencing while you are away.

“Lastly, if you’re outsourcing services such as entertainment, catering, waiting staff or cleaning, it is crucial that homeowners take the time to ensure that the supplier is licensed and insured,” he says.

“If possible, use a service provider that has the required workers’ compensation insurance that covers their staff during an event so that you don’t have to worry about this responsibility.”


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