Ensuring a favourable festive season

Bertus Visser

By Bertus Visser, Chief Executive of Distribution, PSG Insure.

The end of the year sees many of us venturing off on holiday – be it locally or abroad. Perhaps you are even renting out your home – or part of it – on popular vacation sites like Airbnb. There are various considerations when it comes to your insurance cover. So before you settle into holiday mode, check that you can safely put up your feet.

Going overseas? Read the Ts and Cs

For those of you lucky enough to be heading out for a special ski trip or wintery Christmas treat, make sure you know exactly what you are covered for.

An unfortunate incident that was brought to our attention serves as good example. A local couple was overseas on a romantic ski holiday, when one of the pair fell out of the ski swing while heading to the top of the mountain. This was a serious accident that required intense medical treatment and hospitalisation, as well as airlifting to the hospital. The couple thought they were fully covered for these expenses, having taken out basic travel insurance via their travel agent. This was not the case, and plans of a fun-filled holiday soon turned into financial disaster. The lesson here is to check with your adviser that you have the right cover. Understand the terms and conditions, and any limitations.

In addition to medical cover, consider complications that may be caused by bad or unusual weather (unexpected storms, for example, can wreak havoc) or the unfortunate reality of terrorism. Both can have devastating consequences. Not knowing for sure if you are covered for such eventualities can lead to your dream holiday turning into your worst nightmare.

Taking a drive? Ensure you arrive

Whether you are taking a road trip around the country or just heading out for several long drives, it’s important to stay in line with your insurer’s requirements and to make the journey as safe and manageable as possible.

Only set off if you have checked all your tyres and your spare – as well as those on your caravan, if you are travelling with one. Travel with a car cellphone charger, some water and snacks, as well as a warm blanket or change of clothing. If you break down and are stranded waiting for assistance, you will be very pleased to have this emergency kit with you. You might also consider packing a few extra comforts, depending on your personal preferences or who you are travelling with.

If you do break down, be sure to only use a reputable tow truck company as stipulated in your insurance contract. If you don’t, your insurer might not cover the expense. Also keep both your adviser’s and insurer’s contact details on hand – if your adviser is away on his or her own holiday and you need to report an incident or road accident, it will be tricky without an alternative contact.

Renting out your space? Don’t let it go to waste

Airbnb has been a popular source of additional income for many people, but it doesn’t come without insurance risk. It is not guaranteed that your insurer will cover losses such as theft or damage to your property if they occur because of people staying in your home. Generally, you (as the policyholder) are the only one covered, so it would be wise to get in touch with your adviser to find out if your insurer will cover rental risks. It is also a good idea to have guests pay a breakage deposit and sign a disclaimer for any losses they might suffer while staying at your home. This will at least protect you from third-party claims that might be repudiated due to the circumstances.

It is important to enjoy your holiday, to ready yourself for another busy year. Taking these precautions will help ensure that the holiday you have planned pans out as hoped – or at least won’t break your budget. Wishing you all a safe festive season.

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