The festive season is a time when many people pack up their homes and head to a holiday destination. This is, unfortunately, also a time when there is a spike in accidents and crime.
JustMoney spoke to Johan van Greuning, head of Standard Insurance Limited about an insurance checklist that will help you ensure that your claims are not rejected in case something goes wrong while on holiday.
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Greunig says part of making sure that holidaymakers don't get blindsided by events that may occur at home, on the road, or at a destination is checking that that their insurance coverage is adequate.
"At this time of year, there is a rise in accident statistics due to driver negligence, vehicles that are not roadworthy as well as drinking and driving," says Van Greuning
He goes on to explain that driver negligence could lead to claims being rejected.
"This means that the driver will be responsible for the damage and legal costs arising from an accident. Make sure that your vehicle is checked, serviced and roadworthy before you depart," says Van Greuning.
Reasons for a rejected claim
The most common reasons as to why a claim might be rejected, according to Van Greuning, are:
- If the vehicle is not roadworthy. For example if tyres were badly worn, vehicle lights were not working and windscreen wipers were not working properly when it was raining, the insurance company could reject the claim.
- If the vehicle is overloaded to the point where steering, road-holding or braking is compromised.
- If the driver of the vehicle is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an accident.
- If the policyholder acted negligently or in a criminal manner.
Household and home insurance
Before going away take note of which fittings (such as geysers, walls, pool pumps and other equipment) are covered in your policy. Van Greuning says it's important to list key items (with serial numbers) in the house and photograph them on site.
"This should be supplied to the insurance company and will prove invaluable when claiming in the event of a break-in," says van Greuning.
If you are using house-sitters, make sure they understand who to contact if an emergency occurs, such as an 'insurance-approved' plumber or electrician.
Nothing could be worse than having a holiday cut because of a strike or cancellation. Lufthansa pilots are, for example, on strike at the moment and lots of people both locally and abroad have had to cancel their holiday arrangements as a result.
Travel insurance is vital but often people are keener on booking flights and accommodation.
If you are in a situation where there is an airline strike, and your flight has been cancelled due to it, you are entitled to be offered the choice between reimbursement and re-routing, according to Lufthansa spokesperson.
Make sure you call the airline you are flying with if there has been a strike, to make all the proper arrangements.
Besides getting travel insurance for your flights, and luggage, also speak to your medical aid about cover if you are planning to travel abroad, says van Greuning.
If necessary, purchase additional health insurance so that if something does happen, treatment is guaranteed.
Make sure you are covered for emergency breakdowns, accommodation expenses; roadside assistance and car hire. If you are not covered, then speak to your insurance and upgrade your cover if necessary.
If you are using a trailer, make sure it is insured. Van Greuning explains that if you intend crossing a border into a neighbouring country, confirm that you meet the following requirements:
- A letter from your insurance company stating that the vehicle is covered for cross-border travel.
- If you received financing from a bank for your trailer or car (and it is not yet paid off), you will need a letter of authorisation from the bank stating that the car may be driven across the border, as it is the property of the bank until it is paid off.
Coverage for personal possessions
"Most policies cover the loss of personal belongings, such as jewellery, spectacles and other personal items. This limit reflects everyday requirements and is fairly low. To avoid finding yourself in a position where losses far exceed this limit, provide your insurer with a detailed list of the personal items you intend to take with you, including serial numbers, so they can be insured," says van Greuning.
If you are planning on play some tennis while on holiday, then all sporting equipment taken on holiday should also be insured. Van Greuning explains that the nature of the equipment will dictate the level and type of cover offered by the insurance company.
For tips on how you can financially survive the festive season, watch this video.