The Insurance & Financial Services Ombudsman (IFSO) is reminding Easter travellers to check their homes, cars and insurance policies before hitting the road.
“Doing a few things before you leave could make the difference between having insurance cover or not,” IFSO Karen Stevens said.
Stevens said taking “reasonable care” is a standard obligation. Here are some tips, outlined by IFSO, brokers can give clients on home and contents care:
- Check your insurance policies – Make sure they’re up to date. Check to see what you are and are not covered for, and check that you’ve paid your premiums. If you haven’t paid, your policy can lapse and you won’t be covered for anything after that date.
- Lock your house and garage, close the windows – Most policies exclude cover for theft from unlocked premises.
- Let neighbours know you’re going away, but don’t advertise to others – Let your neighbours know you’re away and leave sensor lights on. Don’t advertise you’re away, including social media and phone messages.
- Lock your valuables away, including if people are staying in your house – Take care if you have people staying or renting your home on Airbnb or other platforms.
“Theft by people lawfully in your house won’t be covered,” she noted. “We’ve seen cases involving open homes, trades people, and house guests, where claims for theft have been declined.”
Other tips on how to effectively check on cars:
- Check your vehicle, warrant, tyres – Check the general safety and road-worthiness of your car. Claims can be declined after accidents, if the car is deemed un-roadworthy – even if it had a current warrant of fitness.
- Drive carefully and safely, and comply with your licence conditions – Driving “in breach” of your licence is grounds to decline a claim. Parents often end up paying for the damage, not only to their own car, but to another car, if they allow their son or daughter to drive outside their learner or restricted licence conditions and an accident occurs.
- Take note of alcohol limits – There are insurance, as well as legal, consequences for driving over the limit. If you’re over the alcohol limit and an accident happens, you won’t be covered.
- ‘Lock it or lose it’ on your road trip – Leaving your car unlocked, windows down, or your belongings visible are grounds for insurers to decline a claim due to the insured failing to take reasonable care.