According to Statistics South Africa’s 2016/17 Victims of Crime Survey, 50.9% of households polled said they were most afraid of burglaries. 61.7% believed it was the most common type of crime perpetrated in South Africa, and a further 10.8% indicated that they had signed up with private security to protect their homes from burglars.
Plans can be put in place to mitigate financial losses when belongings are stolen or damaged during a burglary. This includes the purchase of household insurance to cover all, or some contents of a home in the event of a burglary or other incidents such as vandalism, a fire or a natural disaster.
The monthly premiums payable are calculated based on certain criteria, over-and-above the estimated value of the household contents to be insured, says Vera Nagtegaal, Executive Head of Hippo.co.za.
Measures that are taken to secure the home and its contents do also impact on charges.
“It is important that the insurer knows exactly what precautions are in place,” says Nagtegaal. “Lower monthly instalments are possible, and more likely, if for example the insured customer resides in an estate with access control and on-site guards. Or, if a standalone home is protected by an alarm system coupled with other security products.”
Security systems to enhance safety
The installation of an alarm system is a good start to protecting property, says Fidelity ADT Managing Executive, Stuart Clarkson. He says additional components will vary from home to home, because they are dependent on individual needs.
“For some, this can simply entail an alarm system coupled with monitoring and Armed Response. For others, it can mean that the alarm is supported by more sophisticated technology – such as infrared sensors; beams and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV).”
Historically, he says, physical barriers used to deter perpetrators were quite bulky and unattractive, and impacted on the outward appearance of the home. Over time, these have been refined aesthetically, and are – in some cases – nearly unnoticeable.
“Outdoor beams and electric-fencing turn gardens and backyards into no-go zones for intruders. Beams are pet-friendly and can be programmed to only detect movement above a certain height; while electric-fencing provides 24-hour security and can withstand harsh weather conditions.”
Clarkson says that CCTV has become increasingly more affordable and therefore more popular.
“Basic camera systems are customisable and can be integrated to view footage on-site via a television; or remotely via smartphone, laptop or tablet. An added benefit of CCTV is that recorded footage can be used as evidence in legal proceedings.”
When considering or updating household insurance, home security, or both, it is a good idea to keep the following in mind:
Many private security providers do have contingency plans in place to ensure that their services are minimally impacted during power cuts. They can also advise consumers on back-up measures to ensure that homes remain secured when the power is out; and on how to protect equipment against surges when electricity supply returns.
Additionally, it is a good idea to find out from the insurer if extra or alternative insurance is required to cover household contents when power outages and surges do occur.