The festive season is upon us again and it’s a great time to get away to the mountains or the coast for a bit of R&R. But equally, it would be nice to return to a secure home with all your belongings in place and your home intact.

Problem is, any number of things can go wrong and the proverbial Murphy’s Law suggests they will – precisely when you’re enjoying that much-deserved break! It’s all about insurance peace of mind and taking some sensible precautions says Vic Field of By Design, the personal insurance arm of Glenrand MIB brokers who suggests you work through the following pre-holiday check list:

  Leave a spare set of keys, as well as a contact address and phone number, with a trusted neighbour in case of an emergency such as a fire, a burglary or resetting your alarm.

  Take a list of contact numbers for plumbers and electricians with you and leave a copy with your neighbour.

  Test the response of your security company to your alarm and notify them or your neighbourhood watch that you are going away.

  Place any weapons, valuables and important documents in a safe or a bank safety deposit box.

  Lock the mains box outside your property.

  Check that your insurance details and premiums are up to date.

  Pay your lights and water bill – you don’t need a power or water cut while you are away.

  Add cover for the cost of water leakage if it’s not already in your policy – water damage is already included in standard policies.

  Make sure your All Risks cover includes valuables you are taking on holiday.

“…what can go wrong, will go wrong…”

 Take your medical aid details or card with you.

  Appoint a reputable house sitting service to keep tabs on your property and to switch on lights, feed pets, clear post boxes of mail, water plants and put out rubbish bins on collection day – and to let you or your neighbour know if there’s a problem.

  Cancel deliveries of milk and newspapers for the period.

  Place sufficient funds in your bank account to pay for any urgent problem.

  Disconnect computers, TVs and other lightning sensitive equipment, including TV aerials.

  Immobilise any vehicles you leave behind.

  Check that any trailers and cars you use on holiday are roadworthy, properly licensed and that insurance premiums are up to date.

  Make sure your tracker or similar device is working. If you had it serviced recently the device may have been disabled and your insurance cover could be void.

  Check that you have towing cover.

  Pay any outstanding traffic fines – the cops are all too eager to arrest you while driving through their town.

“Security-wise” is also the name of the game and you should already have the likes of automatic exterior light switch mechanisms, alarm sensors on easily accessible windows, expanding security gates in doorways, a secure gate motor, movement sensor lights near doors, barred windows, securely fitted air conditioners and house numbers that are clearly visible from the street – and roof for that matter!

A few other tips: credit card drivers’ licences need renewal every five years. Check if yours is due. Also, if you are traveling outside of South Africa check the territorial limits of your cover and the AA regarding cross border requirements; some countries insist on licence papers or proof of insurance.

Adds Field: “It’s a truism that what can go wrong, will go wrong and the sensible homeowner will take simple precautions to avoid the worst eventuality – or at least minimise any financial implications.”

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