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Community living on the up - Auto & General responds by launching insurance product

10 November 2008 Auto & General

With house robbery up 14.5% nationally – according to 2007/2008 police statistics – and with around 60% of car hijackings occurring in driveways to residential homes, it’s no wonder that – according to a survey conducted for the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in 2007 – being robbed at home is the crime feared most by South Africans.

This fear of being attacked and robbed in the sanctuary of their homes is prompting South Africans to take up arms and do everything within their means to protect themselves – even if it means moving.

Over the last decade, high-security complexes and residential estates have mushroomed across the country and homeowners pay a premium price to live in them.

Although housebreakings and robberies can still occur in gated estates and secure complexes, these residential settings are generally perceived as safer because they usually offer higher levels of security. A higher density of houses per square kilometre is also characteristic of secure complexes and people typically feel safer in numbers.

“There’s no doubt that people who have chosen this lifestyle pay handsomely for it, this is evident not only by the price tags on homes in up-market, high-security complexes but, also in the princely sum residents pay on levies and other such costs. Then, the close proximity of the houses in some complexes compromises privacy.

“So, there are pros and cons to living in a gated, secure community. It’s a different kind of life,” says Auto & General’s director, Angelo Haggiyannes (pictured), adding that the burgeoning number of South Africans living in secure residential estates have specific insurance needs.

“Recognising this, we have launched a new product tailored just for them. Our solution is designed to meet the unique insurance requirements of residential estate homeowners. The new solution also rewards homeowners in secure complexes with lower insurance premiums and other value-added benefits.”

Haggiyannes explains that short-term insurance premiums are calculated based on the risk profile of the policyholder and this is affected by a number of things, including the risk profile of the neighbourhood and the security interventions on the property, which is why people living in secure complexes should qualify for lower insurance premiums.

“Living in a secured estate could mean that your risk profile is lower, depending on the neighbourhood, and you should be paying less for household insurance. And, the more security interventions you have at your home, the cheaper your monthly insurance premium should be.

“With car insurance, insurers classify clients according to various characteristics, including details such as where the vehicle is stored overnight and the make, model and age of the vehicle. The cost to repair or replace the vehicle is also taken into account.

“So, if your car is stored in a lock-up garage within a secured estate, you should be getting a discount on your car insurance premium,” he says.

Haggiyannes concludes with a caution to people living in secure complexes to remain alert and employ basic security tactics at all times.

“Secure complexes and estates might be less prone to robbery and housebreaking but they are not immune so it is important not to neglect basic security principles no matter how safe you think you are. Stay on guard and don’t be lulled into a false sense of security.”

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