How to ensure peace of mind when taking a break this festive season

Enjoy your holiday by making sure you are covered against any mishaps to your car, home and personal belongings. Picture: 123RF/CATHY YEULET
Enjoy your holiday by making sure you are covered against any mishaps to your car, home and personal belongings. Picture: 123RF/CATHY YEULET

The festive season is rapidly approaching, and whether you are planning a road trip or to jet off to your annual holiday spot, it pays to be prepared. 

Besides checking your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition and your home is secured, make sure too that your vehicle, household and all risk insurance is in place before you hit the road.

Sumarie Greybe, co-founder at Naked, the AI-driven car insurance provider, advises you get your paperwork up to date to ensure your short-term insurer will pay out should anything happen while you’re on holiday. 

This paperwork includes your car and household policy documents, an up-to-date vehicle licence disc, valid driving licence for all the potential drivers of your vehicle and a roadworthy certificate for your vehicle, Greybe says.

When you check the paperwork, make sure your insurance premiums are up to date, Christelle Colman, managing director of Elite Risk Acceptances, says. If you skip your premium for a month you forfeit your cover for that month. So regular and timeous payment of premiums is very important to ensure you aren’t left without cover when you need it most. 

Greybe also suggests you make sure you have insured expensive accessories and extras you have added to your car – such as a roof-rack, bulbar, xenon lights, or extra sound equipment.

Greybe says if you’re planning to visit neighbouring countries or drive further north, you should check whether your policy covers you outside South Africa’s borders and get a letter from your insurer that you can present at the border.

Most South African policies will only cover you for damage to your own car while you are outside of our borders and you must take out separate third-party liability insurance cover when you travel outside South Africa, she says. 

Both Greybe and Colman say that beyond the roadworthy certificate, you should check that your vehicle is indeed roadworthy. 

Greybe suggests you ask a tyre fitment centre to check that your tread isn’t worn out, check that your indicators and brake lights are working and get your brake pads checked. 

Colman says broken windscreen wipers, missing mirrors and tyre treads below the legal limit of 1.6mm, can significantly increase the likelihood of an accident occurring. If you are involved in an accident and your insurer finds your vehicle was not roadworthy, your claim may be rejected.

Colman says unroadworthy vehicles is among one of the most common reasons insurers reject motor vehicle claims.

Another common reason for rejected claims that is relevant as you let your hair down in the holidays is driving recklessly or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. 

This is a criminal offence and puts you at risk of having your cover immediately nullified. Your claim can also be rejected if your insurer finds your reckless behavior caused the damage or destruction of your vehicle, Colman says.

During the holidays you may be tempted to let friends and family drive your car, but remember if your policy stipulates that cover is only for a specific named driver, you will only be able to claim if that driver was behind the wheel at the time of the incident, Colman says. Your claim will also be rejected if that driver was not in possession of a valid driver’s license at the time of the incident.