Going on a last-minute trip these school holidays? What you need to think about

|Article by Riana Wiese, PSG’s Insure Adviser of the year, and Insurance Adviser at PSG Meesterplan

The middle-of-the-year school holidays are almost behind us, but for some may still include going away on a short road trip or travelling upcountry. If you’re on that journey, have you considered whether your property is adequately insured while you are away, or what it will cost if it isn’t? Underinsurance can greatly affect your holiday plans, impacting you negatively for the rest of the year.

Checking your insurance policy before you set off could save you a lot of money. If you are short on cover, the time to change that is now and it would be in your best interest to get advice from your insurance adviser as soon as possible, or contact your insurer directly to get your insurance holiday-proofed. The good news is that these adjustments are usually quick to make.   

Avoid the average adjustment

Perhaps you think you are covered because you have insurance in place, but is it to the right value? If you are underinsured and need to claim, you may be disappointed by how little money your insurer will pay out.

For example, if the total replacement value of your household content is R100,000 and you decide to insure only up to R80,000, it will mean that only 80% (being R80,000 divided by R100,000) of your claim will be settled. So practically this means that if you have a burglary over the holidays while you are away, and your loss is R50,000 (as assessed by the assessor of the insurer), then the insurer will only pay you 80% of the R50,000, (which works out to R40,000) and you will incur a loss of R10,000.

These are low figures too as many households are worth considerably more than R100 000. Many items will have increased in value due to the economy, so being adequately insured for their fair replacement value is crucial.

It is easy to avoid falling in to the trap of underinsuring, or to only do selective insurance, just to save on an insurance premium, but it could end up costing you more in the end.

Don’t forget as well that your contents cover for All Risk must be adequate. This will cover items such as cellphones or laptops – any items you might take with you when you leave the house.

Safety tips

Leaving your home unattended, be it just for a few hours or a few days, makes it essential to ensure that your security features - as stipulated in your insurance policy - are all in working order and in use as well. If your security gate isn’t locked, your claim will not be settled, for example. Where possible, have someone occupy your home, or at least have a trusted friend or neighbour pick up your mail for you to avoid having your home look empty.

Lock away expensive items if they are insured accordingly, making sure your windows are closed, and your doors are locked. If your insurer requires that you have an alarm, make sure it is armed before leaving. Whatever you can do to deter criminals is best practice, but most importantly make sure you comply with all the security requirements in accordance with your policy. Not doing so could mean your holiday ends up being much more expensive than you planned.

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