The festive season is upon us and as we prepare to head off for some well-deserved rest and relaxation, take some time out from the shopping, travel arrangements and last minute work wrap-ups to secure your home, assets and loved ones before you head off for the holidays.

“We know criminals never take a break, usually targeting the holiday season to ply their trade, so here’s a handy checklist based on the 12 days of Christmas to help keep your risks to a minimum and your holidays joyful,” said Mandy Barrett of insurance brokerage and risk advisers, Aon South Africa.

On the 1st day of Riskmas:

Pay attention to security. Test your alarm and armed response if you have one, replace batteries in all passive alarm sensors, make sure door magnets are working, check your electric fence for any broken or faulty strands and clear any branches or plants that could set it off in error. Ensure that opening doors and windows are properly secured.

On the 2nd day of Riskmas:

If you’re travelling abroad or to neighbouring countries, ensure that driver’s licences are valid. Check the territorial limits of your insurance cover regarding cross-border requirements.

On the 3rd day of Riskmas:

Appoint a reputable house-sitting service to switch on lights, feed and take care of pets, clear post boxes, water plants and put out rubbish bins on collection day – and inform you of any problems. Leave a spare set of keys, as well as a contact address and phone number in case of an emergency, such as a power failure, fire, burglary, burst geyser or resetting your alarm.

On the 4th day or Riskmas:

Do a vehicle and trailer inspection, check that cars and trailers are roadworthy and properly licenced. Test your vehicle’s tracking device.

On the 5th day or Riskmas:

Lock the mains box outside the property (burglars may trip this in the hope that your alarm and fence batteries run flat), lock away garden implements and tools that can be used to force doors or windows open.

On the 6th day of Riskmas:

Pay attention to outside lighting by including day-night sensors or motion sensor lights and replacing any blown bulbs.

On the 7th day of Riskmas:

Pay the water and lights bill to avoid power or water cuts while on holiday. Immobilise any vehicles that are left behind and place any weapons, valuables and important documents in a safe or a bank safety deposit box.

On the 8th day of Riskmas:

Arrange insurance cover on your expensive Christmas gifts such as jewellery, tech gadgets, appliances and so on – inform your broker before you purchase the gifts so that you know when you leave the store, your items are covered.

On the 9th Day of Riskmas:

Check that all the items travelling with you on holiday such as tablets, cellphones, cameras, designer sunglasses, luggage and so on are covered under your all risks insurance on your household contents policy.

On the 10th day of Riskmas:

Cancel subscriptions to newspapers and other regular deliveries and arrange with a house-sitter to clear your post box every day.

On the 11th day of Riskmas:

Take the number of a 24-hour incident management centre with you and leave details with a neighbour. Check that insurance details and premiums are up to date. Take medical aid details/card with and save the number of your insurance broker on your phone.

On the 12th day or Riskmas: Disconnect computers, TVs and other lightning sensitive equipment including TV aerials.

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