By: Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution at PSG Insure
A new year often brings about a sense of a fresh start, or clean slate. Many of us set resolutions to maintain, or goals to reach but should also prioritise tasks that might not be as ‘fun’ or motivating as others. Checking these off your list, however, will set you up for a great 2020 (and beyond).
According to Stats SA, house break-ins are the most reported crime affecting our country (5.8% of households across the country to be exact as at October 2019). This may sound like a small percentage, but it equates to 1.3 million reported incidents. As the economy continues to impact many pockets, crime prevention needs to be a priority.
Consider what might be needed
If you’ve been on the fence about adding one (sometimes a fence or wall spoils the appearance of a property and if you’ve not been impacted by crime at home, why make a change?), it may be best to reconsider. You may also need more than a fence to be safe. It’s better to act sooner than later and many security features are available for many different budgets.
Follow your policy conditions
Short-term insurance on your property is essential. It is there should a crime affect you, but can only work if you follow your terms and conditions. Any security measures in place need to be noted and enacted to stay covered. For example, stating you have armed response linked to your alarm means you need to have it active, always.
Check what your insurer recommends
Keep in mind that any security upgrades should be run by your insurer too, as some properties require less security than others. It would be a shame to overcapitalise on security measures, leaving you out of pocket and with no change to the cost of your insurance premium. In other cases, it can be the best decision from both a safety- and cost perspective to install enhanced security features.
You of course have the right to add any security features you wish, but to enjoy their full benefit within your insurance policy too, is worthwhile especially when it comes to keeping your budget on track (possibly one of your other resolutions for the year).
Expect the unexpected
While worrying won’t help anyone, putting in as many proactive measures as possible will provide some ease. Short-term insurance not only combats crime when it can, but also acts as a safety net against events you aren’t anticipating. One summer dinner could turn into fire damage, while a leaking sprinkler could spring a much bigger flooding issue. Provided you keep your maintenance up to scratch, your insurance should cover you (within the terms of your policy).
The structure needs cover
Your building sum insured needs to match the true replacement cost of your property. Remember that enhanced security features can also increase the value of your home – so your sum insured may need to be adjusted. You need to consider the full cost of your home being destroyed, the rubble cleared, and a new structure built, as well as the costs to stay somewhere while this is fixed. Do you have enough for all of that? A professional valuation of your home can help to make this amount more tangible.
If you’re a tenant and not a homeowner, this impacts you too. Your belongings have value beyond sentimentality and enough insurance (for all your belongings) needs to be factored in. Should some items be stolen, you may not be able to recover the full replacement cost if you have not insured all your contents correctly, and collectively. If there are any items you carry with you away from home that you need insurance for, they need to be included into your All Risk cover appropriately.
Working with an adviser is often the best way to ensure you consider all the angles of insurance you might need to protect your home, belongings, and your plans for the year. It’s always best to be prepared. The day may well come when you will be glad to be.