Advice and Opinion

Going on holiday? What about your home insurance?


You probably already know (or have some idea) as to what your holiday is going to (or should) cost you. However, have you considered whether your property is adequately insured for the holidays, or what it will cost if it isn’t? Under insurance can be an unwanted additional cost over the holiday period.

“Checking your insurance policy before you set off on holiday could save you a lot of money,” says Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure.

There are some policies that automatically increase contents cover over the festive season as many people receive or buy expensive gifts at this time, and tend to be away from home. “However, it is not wise to assume you have this clause in your policy, just as it isn’t wise to think you can simply raise your cover only temporarily at this time of year,” Visser says.

Some insurers may not even take on new business around this time to prevent having clients who only want cover over the festive season. 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 broker as soon as possible, or contact your insurer directly if you do not have a broker.

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 under insured and need to claim, you may be disappointed by how little money your insurer will pay out,” Visser adds.

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 December holidays, 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, (R40,000) and you will incur a loss of R10,000.

“So, don’t fall in to the trap of under insuring, or to only do selective insurance, just to save on an insurance premium. It will end up costing you more when it matters,” Visser says.

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 take with you when you leave the house.

Safety tips

If you are leaving your home unattended, be it just for a few hours or a few days, make sure that your security features as stipulated in your insurance policy are all in working order and in use. “If your security gate isn’t locked, your claim will not be settled,” Visser says. “Where possible, have someone occupy your home, or at least have a trusted neighbour pick up your mail for you.”

“Lock away expensive items if they are insured accordingly, make 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 as stipulated in your policy. Not doing so could mean your holiday ends up being more expensive than you planned,” Visser concludes.