Christmas is probably one of the key events in the year when people are most likely to either purchase or receive expensive gifts. For anyone who’d like to make the most of enjoying these prized items, finding the right insurance cover to ensure they are adequately protected is crucial.
“Many people don’t think to insure gifts at the time of purchase. While most items are usually offered insurance cover in-store, many people don’t feel that it is necessary to insure the items immediately often thinking that it is already covered in household insurance – especially if they’re electronics such as phones, televisions or laptops,” explains Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of Hippo.co.za.
“Insuring your items is about a lot more than protecting them in case they’re stolen from your house. It also applies to accidental damage and theft outside of your home,” she adds.
Nagtegaal suggests the following considerations for protecting items of value:
What should you cover: Look to insure anything you consider valuable. Phones, laptops, TVs and decoders are very common. However, you should also think beyond electronic devices. Do you have a watch that you value? What about engagement or wedding rings? Because loss isn’t limited to theft, you’ll want to insure everything and many of these items may need to be listed separately on an insurance policy in order to be covered, especially if you use them when you are away from home.
Do a household stock-take: New appliances and gifts may call for an annual household insurance review. Is everything adequately covered and are there items that shouldn’t be covered? What about items that were added during the year – are they covered?
Think about unexpected accidents: Care shouldn’t be limited only to your gifts. If you’re putting up decorations and lighting candles, make sure you blow all candles out and that any lights you put up aren’t faulty. Check on the oven frequently and don’t leave anything on your stove or in your oven unattended. Fires can start very easily, so be cautious.
Be meticulous with your filing: You should also keep all receipts, especially for items that are still under warranty and can be fixed or replaced by the manufacturer.
If you’re the kind to keep the boxes your items came in, stapling receipts to the boxes is a good idea. Otherwise, you should have a flip-file, plastic folder, or a single box where you keep all your receipts. Have a system in place to categorise the different types of slips. This will help you maintain some order and make it easier for you to gather your evidence for the insurance company or appliance manufacturer.
Keep the excess payable in mind when insuring your goods. Sometimes what you must pay in excess can in fact cover the entire cost of the goods. Nagtegaal says, “Holding back on claims can work to your advantage, especially if your insurer offers a ‘no-claim bonus. Weigh the cost up carefully before you claim from your insurance.”
One aspect that confuses people when it comes to insurance is how much you should insure your item for. People unknowingly insure their items for their current cost. The problem with that is the current cost won’t be the same in a few months’ time.
“You want to insure your items for their replacement value. That way you’ll be able to get them replaced at the same or a similar value,” adds Nagtegaal.
Lastly, make sure you don’t attract unwanted attention when you get rid of your gift packaging, Nagtegaal explains.
“Avoid leaving the packaging in a visible place near your bin or when you take your trash out for collection – that will turn you into an easy target for criminals. Dispose of boxes or obvious packaging over a period of time, or find other ways to reuse these materials,” she concludes.