The Easter holidays always offer a great opportunity to travel to another part of the country to reconnect with family and friends or join a community celebration. Enjoy the bliss of being on the open road and make the most of your free time, but don’t leave town before taking steps to protect yourself and your precious assets.
“Leaving your home unattended, and travelling on the roads unprepared increase the risk of unforeseen events that could cost you money. Your holiday planning therefore needs to include reassessing your safety measures and your insurance,” says John Manyike, Head of Financial Education at Old Mutual.
Manyike offers the following important tips when considering any kind of insurance:
- Understand the benefits of the insurance, as well as the terms and conditions of any policy. These usually include a clause stating that you need to take all reasonable precautions to prevent or minimise loss, damage, death, injury or liability.
- Do an affordability calculation and needs analysis to help you decide if you really need the insurance cover and whether you can afford the monthly premium.
- In the case of short-term insurance, know what your excess is. (This is the amount the claim won’t cover and which you will have to pay yourself.)
Manyike also answers a few frequently asked questions on how best to protect your assets.
What must I check before I leave home?
- Don’t even consider embarking on a road trip if your car is not 100% roadworthy. As a motorist you are responsible for the safety of your vehicle. Service your car regularly and ensure your tyres’ tread is deep enough for a long trip. Insurers will only consider a vehicle roadworthy if its tyres provide safe protection on the road!
- Pack the necessary tools in your boot to change a tyre.
- Save the telephone number for roadside assistance on your phone, as well as your insurance company’s after-hours emergency number and your insurance policy number.
- Check that your car licence is valid and has not expired.
- If you’re going to share driving with another driver, make sure your insurance policy covers a second driver.
- When planning your trip, allow enough time for regular breaks so that you can stretch your legs, rehydrate and refresh your mind before taking the wheel again. Never drive when you’re feeling exhausted.
What are the hidden holiday costs I should be aware of?
- Remember South Africans will be expected to pay more for their petrol from April onwards. The cost of petrol often consumes a considerable chunk of our budget and needs to be factored in accordingly.
- Avoid any behaviour that could result in inefficient fuel consumption, such as speeding and overloading. Driving with tyres that have the incorrect pressure also makes your car heavier on petrol.
- Don’t forget to factor in tollgate and cellphone data costs.
- Takeaways en route to your destination can eat a hole in your wallet. Pack your own ‘padkos’ instead of buying over-priced takeaway food. Find a picturesque spot next to the road that you can safely pull into to enjoy your home-packed treats.
- If you’re staying at a hotel or guesthouse, rule out the mini fridge with its tempting but expensive treats.
What must I do in the case of an accident?
- The basics are easily forgotten when involved in an accident, so take as many photographs as you can of the accident scene, as well as the other driver’s licence and vehicle registration.
- When you have collected all the information you need, notify your insurance company and report the incident to the nearest police station within 48 hours.
What should I do about insuring my household contents?
- Make sure your home is protected and properly insured.
- Update your contents if you think you may be under-insured.
- Make sure the details regarding your home protection (alarms, burglar bars etc.) are up to date.