December is the month when, like you, millions of South Africans take to the nation’s roads on the way to holiday destinations or to visit relatives and friends. However, often this exposes you to risks: risks to an empty home, risks on the roads, as well as risks to your life and valuables.
How can you ensure that you manage the additional risks you and your family face over the festive season, when accidents and crime rates tend to increase?
Your first responsibility should be to ensure your home is safe and secure, especially if you’re going away on holiday. Remember, house break-ins and robberies increase during December.
- If you have a home alarm, make sure it’s in working order. Alarms have moving parts that require regular servicing.
- Try to find someone to look after your home, or at least keep an eye on it, and:
- Make sure they know to keep doors and windows closed and locked even if they’re away from your home for just a few moments
- If your house-sitter is going out for an evening, insist they leave a light and the TV on in your home
- Teach them how to use your alarm, if you have one
- If you don’t have a house sitter, be discreet about leaving on vacation and address anything which is an obvious giveaway that the home is vacant. Have a neighbour collect mail or any deliveries: a bulging post box is a dead giveaway that you are not at home.
- Make sure your home contents insurance is up to date.
Now it’s time to consider the additional risks on the road during December, with busier than usual traffic, potentially wet roads and many motorists that are tired from driving long hours.
Before setting out, you should:
- Make sure your car has been serviced and is in good working order
- Make sure your tyres have sufficient tread
- Store emergency numbers such as your insurer and emergency rescue service on your phone
- If friends or family members will be driving your car while on holiday, add them to your insurance policy so that your car is covered while they are driving.
While driving you should:
- Buckle up, drive safely and observe all the rules of the road
- Make sure that all your passengers are wearing their seatbelts and that young children are in car seats
- Avoid all alcoholic beverages
- Avoid carrying cash as far as possible – rather use a debit or credit card. You might want to invest in a security belt.
- Be aware of the risk of identity theft. Avoid cards that display your personal details and keep a close eye on your driver’s licence and identity documents
- Don’t stand out from the crowd by flashing cash, jewellery or high value cell phones.
- Don’t drink and drive, or drive with someone who has been drinking. If out at night, get an Uber ride home and make sure your youngsters do the same.
- Check that your portable possessions insurance is up to date and keep a close eye on your cell phone, camera, tablet etc. while you’re relaxing at the beach or other public areas.
Make sure that your life, dread disease and disability insurance policies are up to date. Contact your insurer to update your policies and check your list of beneficiaries, cover amount, occupation, hobbies and contact details.
And now, enjoy your holiday secure in the knowledge that your home, possessions and family are taken care of!