Easter is around the corner and you’re probably looking forward to a well-deserved break. However, if you’re doing a road-trip and leaving your home unattended there are a few things that you need to do to ensure that you get to your destination safely and your home and its contents are protected while you away.
Protecting your home
There are few things more stressful than coming home to a burgled home, but unfortunately this is a reality that South African households have to deal with. Homes are left vulnerable when their owners are away on holiday and thieves capitalise on the lack of vigilance and presence in the home.
While you may be covered in the event of a burglary you should still try and do all you can to prevent this from happening or at least make it difficult for the would be thieves to make off with your precious contents.
To prevent a housebreaking, you should go through a security and insurance checklist before you go on holiday. It should include:
- Ensuring your alarm is tested and in working order. “If the requirement is a linked alarm, they must ensure that the alarm is always activated and ensure with their alarm provider that all is working,” says Santie Stevens, a manager of Insurance Busters.
- Giving the impression that somebody is home constantly even when they are not. Get a neighbour to switch on your lights in your home at certain times to make thieves believe that there is somebody home. These days you can also purchase and install a light switch timer that could do the job for you.
- Don’t leave any spare keys in obvious places.
- Ask your neighbour to remove accumulated fliers and post. Uncollected postal items will give thieves a clue that nobody is home.
- Abide by any terms and conditions within your policy. Read the document carefully and make any adjusted fixes or additions. This will ensure you are compliant and any break in claims are approved. “Customers must abide by the terms and conditions they agreed with when taking up the insurance cover. This could be any of the following, depending on the specific requirements set out by the insurer: Burglar bars on all opening windows, safety gates on all external doors and outer buildings,” adds Stevens.
Reaching your destination safely
Before heading out on the road make sure your car is roadworthy. “And make sure that you have your roadside assistance contact number added to your cell phone,” adds Stevens.
Besides adhering to this advice there are a number of other tips to follow to ensure that you get to your destination safely. According to Datsun South Africa, these include:
- Adhere to posted speed limits and do not exceed the national limit of 120km/h on the open road. “Doing this will relieve the stress that comes with exceeding the speed limit and constantly monitoring traffic and help you avoid spending holiday money on speeding fines,” says Des Fenner, general manager of Datsun South Africa. It will also prevent you from falling victim to the increased number of ‘average speed’ car tracking installations that track car speeds over several kilometres. Speeding can be dangerous but it will also make you spend money unnecessarily as you will just increase the fuel consumption and wear and tear on the vehicle.
- Don’t overload your vehicle. While packing everything you need and more may be tempting to do for your holiday this could put you in danger because you need to increase your braking distance, which will make it harder to stop in an emergency. It will also make steering imprecise and more difficult.
- It’s important to take regular, short breaks - especially if you are travelling with children. “This will help avoid the squabbling by kids which can distract a driver, keep you fresher and more alert when driving long distances. While this will add a little time to your journey, it will ensure that the drive is more enjoyable and less tiring,” says Fenner.
- Check the load factor and speed rating displayed on the sidewall of tyres: “These two limits should not be exceeded. Exceeding speed limits and load factors on tyres for long periods could cause tyre damage and result in an accident,” says Fenner.
- Pack a healthy snack box: “Keeping a cooler box loaded with fruit, sandwiches, nuts and fresh water and drinks makes a short break enjoyable and helps keep you alert,” says Fenner. He advises drivers to lay off the junk food. “Hamburgers and other fast foods are heavier and can make you tired - think about what happens after that long Sunday lunch.”
Handy tip: If you need a competitive quote on your car and home insurance you can do so through Justmoney’s partners.