As the festive season approaches, the shopping malls become busier with consumers filling their shopping carts with the latest gadgets and toys for their loved ones. However, in light of the rising crime levels over the holiday period in South Africa, consumers must be vigilant of the risk of financial loss should these items not be included in their insurance policies.

This is according to Christelle Fourie, Managing Director of MUA Insurance Acceptances, who says that South Africans need to ensure that all newly obtained expensive items are added to their insurance policies as soon as possible, in order to avoid the financial consequences should the items be lost, stolen or damaged.

She says that as soon as new technologies become available, such as the Oculus Drift and 3D printing machines, “early-adopting” consumers are desperate to get their hands on these items either for themselves or as gits for their loved ones. “As these devices are generally not commercially available to the everyman, it is crucial that consumers make sure they consult with their insurance company to ensure that these items are covered.”

Fourie says that consumers who do purchase items such as Google Glass or 3D printers will have to inform their insurance provider immediately of the new purchase in order to ensure that proper insurance is in place for these devices.  “As it may not always be easy to simply replace the items, insurers will have to agree on a value with the policyholder that will be paid out to them in the event that the device gets lost, stolen or damaged.”

It isn’t just hard-to-come-by tech gadgets that consumers are clamouring to get their hands on this festive season. According to statistics from Statisa, healthcare electronic wearables worldwide will reach about 13.45 million units in 2016, with a greater focus being placed on the expanded range of smart watches, pedometers, cardiac monitoring devices and other healthcare gadgets.

“The last thing anyone wants is to have their holidays spoilt by being left out of pocket for uninsured items, such as these,” points out Fourie.

She says that it is therefore vital for consumers to review and update their insurance policies on a regular basis, especially after buying or receiving valuable gifts. “As soon as valuable items are obtained, consumers should contact their insurance broker or company and inform themof the new items and their value, to ensure full coverage.”

It is also very important for policyholders to review any coverage limitations for certain types of losses in their insurance policy, for example accidental breakage may not be included in the policy, says Fourie. “While some insurers do automatically increase the cover of home contents’ insurance policies during the festive season, this is not the case for all providers and there may be certain limitations imposed.”

Fourie advises consumers to always keep the receipt of any gifts or valuable items purchased. “It is also a good idea to forward a copy of the receipts to the insurance provider, so that there is a record of the retail value of all the items. Getting into the habit of keeping a record of all personal possessions, will help speed up the claims process.”

“When consumers understand the importance of regularly updating their insurance policy, they will have the peace of mind in knowing that their valuable gifts are adequately covered this festive season,” concludes Fourie.

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