Business & Economy

Thursday, 05 September 2019 15:31

Top tips to Spring clean your insurance

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Spring has sprung and with it comes the time-honoured ritual of cleaning out the cobwebs and getting ready for a new season.  It’s also the perfect opportunity to divert some of that enthusiasm into tidying up your home and motor insurance policies, ensuring that you have the best cover in place for your specific needs.

Insurance brokerage and risk advisors Aon South Africa, provides these top tips to spring clean your motor and household insurance cover: 

At home:

#1 – Update your inventory/asset register:  An asset register is an invaluable tool to keep track of all your valuable items, and where applicable, record the serial numbers, make, model and purchase price. You may even find you’re still paying to insure items you no longer own.

#2 – Security checks: Make sure that your home complies with the minimum security requirements on your policy.  If you have done renovations, you may need to add burglar bars and gates to all opening windows and doors or have your alarm system updated to cover any new areas. 

#3 – Maintenance:  Remember that insurance is there to cover sudden unforeseen circumstances which result in loss and/or damage to the property and does not cover damage as a result of negligence or wear and tear.

#5 – Jewellery Valuations:  Update your jewellery valuation certificates at least every two years and specify any new items on your policy. Insurers will use the last valuation certificate as proof of value and ownership should you need to claim.  Certain insurers also specify that jewellery over a certain value must be stored in a safe when not worn, so check your policy terms in this regard.  

#6 – Update your all risks cover:  Make sure that any items that you take out of your home with you, such as laptops, smart phones, cameras and tablets and the like are appropriately covered and specified if necessary.

#7 – Prepare for Severe weather:  Over the last few years, the months between October and February have seen severe storms, floods and tornados to raging fires.  Make sure you weather-proof your home as far as possible – clear the gutters, remove debris, branches and other flammable matter around your home, replace any broken roof tiles and tend to waterproofing/flashing issues. 

#8 - Avoid Underinsurance:  thanks to the rise in property replacement costs, your home could be significantly under-insured at today’s prices in the event of a major catastrophe such as a fire, earthquake, a flood and the like.  Make sure that you know what it would cost to replace the actual structure of your home including additional costs such as demolition, rubble removal and architectural fees and insure your home for that value.  Your Aon broker can put you in touch with a professional valuation service to do a full audit on your home and contents to ensure that you are properly covered. 

#9 - Review the fine print Make sure that you thoroughly check the terms and conditions of cover and ensure that you’re are properly covered for perils that apply directly to you. Are there any exclusions or special conditions attached to your cover, and if so, are you compliant with these?

#10 - Renting out your property? Renting out your home or holiday property has a material impact on your insurance cover.  Many insurance policies exclude any liability arising out of the letting or hiring out of any immovable or movable property for a fee, or if your property is unoccupied. 

On the road: 

#1 - Avoid driving in heavy rainfalls and storms: Many car accident claims are due to slippery roads and treacherous potholes. Heavy rainfall also causes potholes to appear where there weren’t any previously.

#2 - Don’t assume that you are covered for everything: Check whether there is anything that you need to add into your standard motor vehicle insurance agreement such as scratch and dent cover, tyre cover, hail damage cover and so on.  

#3 - Check your tyre tread and replace worn tyres: An accident claim could be repudiated if the tread is deemed insufficient - the minimum legally required tread depth is 1.6mm. 

#4 - Following distance and slow down: roads can become particularly slippery when wet as any oil and pollutants on the road surface wash free, creating an accident hazard. 

#5 - Replace the wiper blades:  The middle of a downpour is certainly not the time to discover that wipers are perished are not working as they should.

#6 - Insure for the retail value of the car.  Ideally, you want to be in a situation where your insurance can replace like for like and avoid being forced to compromise on the quality of your vehicle. 

#7 - Who is driving your vehicle? Make sure that any individual that could potentially use the vehicle is listed as a driver on your insurance policy.   

Use your spring energy to review your policy to make sure the values and conditions are up to date and that the statements you have made to the insurers are still correct. The advice and guidance of an independent and professional Aon broker is invaluable in doing a thorough needs analysis to make sure your policy provisions meet all your needs as they evolve. Spring is the perfect time to assess your policy and make sure that it still meets the need of your evolving needs and regional weather risks.

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