It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, it’s South Africa’s annual shutdown (except for retailers, restaurateurs, emergency services and insurers that really care about their clients..) But just because it’s called the silly season doesn’t mean we have to start taking silly pills when it comes to our personal safety, and that of our families.
Courtesy of insurer King Price, here are 8 top tips to make the most of the holidays, and get through them unscathed.
If you’re heading for the hills (or the beaches)…
- Keep the home fires burning. Or, at least, install a timer to put some lights on every now and again, so that it looks like someone’s home. Or get a house sitter. Just to be sure, check that your buildings and home contents insurance is on point. You may be thankful later.
- Batten down the hatches. Put your geyser and appliances into hibernation. Make sure your security system is working 100%. Think layers of security: electric fence, beams, outside lighting, burglar bars. And if you’re tech-savvy, you can even keep an eye on things through web-linked cameras that let you know the moment someone moves.
- Easy on the selfie game, tiger. We know your colleagues and family can’t wait to see a picture of your feet on the beach. Just make sure your settings aren’t public, or you may as well put a banner outside your house that says: WE’RE NOT HERE!
- Make sure the royal chariot is in tip-top condition. Tyres, fluids, brakes, service… you know the drill. Nothing puts a damper on a holiday faster than sitting on the side of the road waiting for a breakdown truck while your buddies are lounging on the beach with a cold one. And that goes for the caravan and the Ventertjie too, bokkie. Remember: an unroadworthy vehicle will invalidate any insurance claims if something goes wrong. Don’t do it.
If you’ll be home for Christmas…
- Stay safe out there. When you’re out shopping and carousing, stay alert. Update your portable possessions cover, and even then still be careful with your valuables in public. Don’t carry your wallet in your back pocket. Don’t leave your Christmas shopping on the back seat. Check your car door. The only jamming we want to be doing this Christmas is mince pies into our faces.
- Use your home security like it’s January-November. Just because it’s the festive season doesn’t mean the baddies go on holiday. In fact, this is prime time for criminals as people relax and let down their guard after a long year. Set the alarm. Don’t let your guests park on the pavement. Common sense, people.
- Don’t drink and drive. Thanks, Captain Obvious, I hear you say. A quick look at drunk-driving stats every December shows that it’s advice worth repeating. The king’s cab is your friend. Or Designated Dave.
- Do something for others. The real meaning of Christmas is not the bling under the tree. It’s about spending time with family and loved ones. It’s about doing something for those who have less than us. Give someone a gift. Help out at a feeding scheme. Pack a shoebox for needy kids. It’s about #MakingADifference, which means giving, not receiving.