Burglaries are an all-too-common occurrence in South Africa, with 228 094 house burglaries reported in the 2017/2018 crime statistics; an average of 625 houses per day.
Yet many South Africans are entirely unprepared for such an eventuality, with inadequate insurance often resulting in denied claims and significant expenses, says Nthabiseng Moloi, MiWay Insurance Head of Marketing & Brand.
So how do you know you are appropriately covered in the event of a break-in?
Here are a few key pointers to bear in mind, says Moloi:
Check your policy
While homeowner’s insurance might sound like a catch-all type of cover, it is in fact limited to the structure of your home, rather than its contents. So if a thief breaks a window or causes structural damage during the course of a break-in, your homeowner’s policy should kick in and enable you to repair these using materials of a similar quality.
Home contents insurance is a separate type of cover that offers reimbursement for items stolen from within your home. Contents should be insured for their current replacement value, so make sure you check the terms of your policy and the insured value noted or you might not be sufficiently compensated to replace your stolen items.
Remember, too, that Home Contents Insurance does not cover you against theft that takes place outside of your home. If you travel with your valuables on a regular basis, you might want to consider taking up an All Risk Insurance policy.
Keep an inventory
When it comes to claiming, it is extremely important that both you and your insurer know what you are claiming for and that you have proof of ownership of the goods in question. As such, it is a good idea to keep an up-to-date asset registry, as this will help you to accurately assess your losses in the event of a burglary.
Equally, it is vital that you keep at hand receipts or proof of purchase, as you will need these when you make your claim, says Moloi. By keeping tabs on your belongings, you will also help to expedite the claim process and facilitate a seamless and speedy reimbursement.
Know your limits
There are limits with regards to values covered. If a client insures items at the correct replacement value, they will be paid out the value if all the terms have been adhered to. However, if a high value item is not specified, it will only be covered for a limited amount.
Where a TV is damaged due to accidental breakage, it will only be covered up to a limited amount. Clients might have the option to increase their limit. As such, it is very important that you understand the limits of your policy and speak to your insurer should you need additional cover for your most valued possessions, Moloi explains.
When filing a claim, it is vital that you only look to seek reimbursement for items you actually own. Should you choose to claim for items that were not in fact stolen, this could result in the entire claim being denied and your future insurance cover is likely to be affected.* Sign up to Fin24's top news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO FIN24 NEWSLETTER