Ask anyone whose luggage has gone AWOL at an airport or who have fallen victim to car jamming on route to their holiday destination, what an absolute frustration it is – beyond the significant monetary loss – to spend the first days of the holiday in crowded shopping centres, trying to replace gear, Christmas gifts and a shattered holiday mojo.
Mandy Barrett of insurance brokers and risk advisors, Aon South Africa, says “It is easy to overlook the importance of insurance cover for your goods that you take out of the home on vacation. When travelling with clothing, handbags, luggage, jewellery, watches, cell phones, cameras, iPods, laptops and the like, take the time to check that your valuable possessions are covered against theft, loss or damage outside the home. Perhaps even include it in your household and motor insurance review, paying special attention to the difference between household contents cover and All Risks items.”
“Remember that household contents cover means just that – contents that stay within the home,” warns Mandy. “The minute an item is removed from your home, it ceases to be covered under household contents unless it is specified under the All Risks section of your insurance policy. All Risks cover is different, even though it may apply to the same items. Should a camera be lost in a burglary, for example, it would be covered under your household contents insurance. But that very same item, removed from your home and taken along on summer vacation, ceases to be covered unless it is specified under the all risks section of your policy.”
It is also important that all risks items such as jewellery or watches are regularly re-valuated by a professional valuator. With the current Rand/Dollar exchange rate, such items can easily cost up to 25% or more to replace than when it was originally purchased. Take the time to review these covers in order to avoid being significantly under-insured.
“Keep valuation certificates in a safe place as these are required by your insurer at claims stage in the event of loss or damage. It’s always a good idea to retain documentation such as purchase invoices or user manuals that would facilitate proof of purchase and ownership and simplify your claims experience,” Mandy suggests. “In the case of electronics such as phones, iPods and tablets, it’s always handy to photocopy or take photographs of the items as well as the packaging detailing serial numbers, models and so on. Don’t forget to update an insurance policy with any new items or upgrades,” she adds.
Some tips to keep your items secure this holiday season:
– Check whether the ‘All Risks’ section of your policy covers items on a worldwide basis if travelling abroad.
– Check whether the policy offers an unspecified ‘All Risks’ section for smaller items, such as the contents of a handbag. But remember that a R100 000 diamond ring does not qualify as handbag contents.
– Keep your valuable jewellery in a locked safe when not worn. If travelling, confirm that the hotel/accommodation has safe-keeping facilities available in the room.
– It’s always advisable to keep valuables on your person when you travel. If this is impossible, spread valuables out amongst bags to reduce the loss in the event of a bag being stolen or lost.
– The same goes for credit cards and cash. Keep wallets on your person or in hand luggage, but also have emergency cash and some other cards spread out over other bags.
– If you are staying in a hotel room, pack important items such as jewellery, electronic items and wallets away in luggage and place it in a lockable cupboard.
– Padlocks can also be really useful to keep your belongings safe.
– Be diligent and observant of surroundings and people, don’t flash valuable items around.
– Notify your broker or insurer of any incident as soon as possible, within 60 days of the event.
– When travelling abroad it is important to have proper travel insurance in place to cover you for medical emergencies, luggage cover in addition to cancellation and curtailment cover.
The services of a professional broker are invaluable in evaluating your insurance policy – sometimes knowing exactly what you are not covered for is as valuable as knowing what is covered. A broker is adept at assessing gaps or pitfalls in your cover and ensuring that you get a well-conceived insurance programme that accounts for your unique needs and risk profile, while matching your available budget. Your broker will also assess whether any exclusions or special conditions exist on your policy and that you are not unknowingly compromised. Now is the perfect time to plan ahead and to ensure that there are no surprises waiting for you come claims time,” concludes Mandy.