Theft during an open house not covered by most insurers

Recent CCTV footage captured a theft that took place at a house while the house was on show to potential buyers.

This footage highlights how important it is for sellers to ensure that their belongings are properly insured against theft which may occur during an open house day, says Christelle Colman, chief executive of MUA Insurance Acceptances.

She says sellers who plans to have their house made open to members of the public on a show day must inform their insurance provider or broker about the arrangement.

“While show days are part of the key process of selling your property, there are various insurance risks associated with them.”

“If an expensive item goes missing from the home during the show day, most insurance policies won’t pay out, as they generally require signs of forcible or violent entry and/ or exit – unless there is actual CCTV footage that captures the crime,” she says.

“When you open your home for potential buyers, you also face the risk of criminals pretending to be interested buyers entering the home who then investigate the house in search of valuable items to steal or to cause intentional damage to the home. It is also very hard to recognise signs of suspect behaviour among the house visitors on the day as the home is open for all members of the public to view and can become quite crowded at stages,” says Colman.

In addition to theft, you also face increased risk of accidental damage to your possessions during a show day. Colman says that accidents happen easily and a visitor can knock over an expensive artwork or drop a cellphone and damage the floor tiles.

“When the insurance broker is aware of the open day, the broker will ensure that the correct level of cover is in place. If the broker is not able to apply the cover due at short notice, you will at least be made aware of all the potential risks associated with an open day and can implement stringent entry measures on the day,” she says.

As a precautionary measure, it is advisable to lock all valuable items away in a safe when you know a group of strangers will enter your home, says Colman.

“When it comes to expensive possessions such as jewellery, most insurers require that items worth more than a certain amount should be locked away in a safe when not on the owner’s person. Items such as laptops and cell phones should also not be left unattended in the house and cupboards and drawers should be locked while potential buyers are roaming around the house.”

She says sellers should only deal with reputable estate agents to arrange open days, as the agents may have their own insurance cover in place to protect their clients against the risks of hosting an open house.

“You should also instruct the agent to get a full profile of each person they let into the home, as the best precaution is to take great care of who is allowed inside the property. If CCTV cameras are installed in the property, it is vital to ensure that these are switched on and are in a proper working order on the day of showing house to safeguard against any criminal activity.

“You need to be aware of any limitations in your insurance policy to be better prepared ahead of the show day and prevent or minimise personal financial losses. Most insurance policies require you to take all reasonable steps to avoid, minimise or prevent loss as the insurer could repudiate your insurance claim due to negligence,” says Colman.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 20 Feb 2018
      Owning a home is a milestone that most South Africans aspire to. Becoming a homeowner is a step towards growing personal wealth and owning an asset that appreciates in value over time, provided of course that the correct principles are applied during the buying stage of the process, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      A major shift in the ageing paradigm has precipitated an equally dramatic transformation in the retirement sector, with modern accommodation options worlds away from the conventional model.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Possibly one of the biggest sources of contention between landlords and tenants surrounds the rental deposit. “Most tenants rely on getting their rental deposits back when moving, so that they can use it to pay a deposit on their new home. Having it withheld or even having large amounts deducted can lead to a lot of distress,” explains Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      Situated approximately halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria, Midrand was established in 1981 and forms part of the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality. It has become one of the major business hubs in the country with major pharmaceutical, textile, telecommunication and motoring giants situated within its boundaries.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      The PayProp Rental Index Annual Review of 2017 shows that the rental market suffered from much volatility during the year. It kicked off with rental growth spiking in January with weighted year-on-year growth (YoY) growth peaking at 8.3% before dropping to 6.34% in July, dipping down to less than 5% in November and then experiencing a slight uptick at 5.75% in December.
    • 19 Feb 2018
      While most homes in cluster complexes, estates and other gated communities come with at least one garage or carport, residents would often like additional permanent parking or storage areas for things like trailers, bikes, boats and caravans.
    • 16 Feb 2018
      Whether you own a property in a sectional title complex or are looking to invest in one, the financial standing of the body corporate is the single most important thing that can affect your investment or your buying decision.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us