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Beware of “invitations” to criminals

06 December 2004 Arnold van der Linde

A post box crammed with junk mail, a dark house with curtains drawn, an uncut lawn, and a number of other signs pointing to an unoccupied home, once again serve as an open invitation to criminals to have a ball this holiday season.

In the meantime the blissfully unaware householders enjoy a wonderful holiday – until they are faced with chaos on their return.  

The advice from short-term insurers is to avoid this invitation. “There are numerous hints one can give prospective holidaymakers and travellers to help them enjoy carefree relaxation this season, but by far the most important ones are to apply good old common sense and to execute proper planning,” says Arnold van der Linde, Managing Director of IntegriSure. “Getting someone to empty the post box or switch the lights on and off can prevent huge losses.”

People can do a lot to safeguard their homes, but adequate insurance is of overriding importance. One should act as one’s own risk manager whenever a new purchase or change to the property is made and adapt one’s short-term insurance accordingly. Very few people do this and whenever a claim is not recognised or only partially met, consumers are often upset and angry. However, they most probably failed to include new appliances in their policies or did not specify expensive cellular phones according to make and serial number.

“In view of the imminent holiday period it is of the utmost importance to make sure you are insured at the correct replacement value,” says Van der Linde, “Remember, in the case of household loss we replace old with new. On the other hand the value of vehicles that are not replaced depreciate over the years and one should see to it that the insurance policy reflects this to avoid paying too high a premium.”

The crucial aspect of an untroubled journey to one’s holiday destination is a roadworthy vehicle. Make sure you have the car’s tyres, brakes, lights, and other vital components checked, as it can be extremely dangerous to suffer a breakdown along the way.

Be prepared for such occurrences by having a fully charged cellular phone with you to immediately call for help. Apart from the Automobile Association’s well-known roadside assistance service, there are other organisations that will render assistance, especially in the event of an accident. IntegriSure, e.g., offers its policyholders a 24-hour standby service that provides an immediate solution to roadside dilemmas.

It is also highly important to ensure that one has one’s ID document, driver’s licence and medical scheme membership card at hand. Not only is it illegal to drive without a valid driver’s licence, but it can also lead to a waste of good holiday money if you’re caught without one. Stop at frequent intervals to remain sharp at the wheel; don’t drink and drive; and arrive safely.

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