Staying On Top Of Your Household Insurance Policy

Household insurance – just like everything else in life – needs to be maintained. And this maintenance doesn’t only apply to your premiums. To ensure that your household insurance continues doing what it is supposed to do, namely protect you from the financial risk associated with having to replace some or all of your household contents, you would be well advised to undertake the following bits of maintenance at regular intervals: inventory updates, security measures and sanity checking.

We take a look at each of these.

Inventory Updates

When you initially took out your household insurance policy, you will have completed an inventory that comprised of a list of the contents in and around your home, together with an estimated replacement value for each of the items listed.

It is surprising by how much both the specified and the general items on your inventory could change without you noticing. To illustrate: consider what you have thrown out, replaced or added to your home, garage and garden since you bought your policy. Perhaps you threw out your mother’s old occasional table, replaced your lawn mower, bought some kitchenware or added a small Persian carpet to your hallway. Each of these items thrown out, replaced or added, will have made a difference to your household insurance inventory, not only in terms of what is listed, but also in terms of the values reflected.

Another element to consider is that the replacement values of the items on your household inventory are likely to change over time. Although some items, such as flat screen television sets, will reduce in replacement value over time, most of your inventory will have increased in value. These need to be updated if you want to continue enjoying sufficient cover. Trying to shave off a meagre forty Rand or so from your household insurance premium every month by keeping to the original replacement values simply is not worth it. If anything had to happen, the R480 you may have saved over the course of a year will pale next to what you will need to fork out to make up the difference.

To keep your inventory current, get into the habit of updating it every time you buy or get rid of something. Every year, during the birthday month of your household insurance policy, reassess the values you assigned to the big ticket items and, once in two years, perform an end-to-end valuation to make sure that the small foxes don’t end up destroying your vineyards.

Security Measures

In determining your household insurance premium, your insurer will have taken the security measures implemented on your property into consideration. This makes these security measures both the minimum security requirement and a condition for cover.

Needless to say, meticulously maintaining these measures is crucial. Something as simple as a broken burglar bar could see your claim being rejected. If anything malfunctions or falls into disrepair, take immediate remedial action. In addition, make a point of checking your security precautions on an ongoing basis. Look for loose burglar bars, check the batteries on your alarm system and arrange with your armed response provider to test your panic buttons and alarms.

Should you have cranked up your security measures since taking out your household insurance policy, don’t forget to let your insurer know. Sufficiently improved physical security usually translates into lower risks and lower premiums.

Sanity Checking

Over time, your insurer will make changes to their policies. Just because yours is an existing policy, does not mean that you will not be affected. When you receive amendment notices or updates, be sure to read it. It is important that you maintain your knowledge of your policy’s inclusions, exclusions, terms and minimum requirements.

Another point to bear in mind is that the age of consumerism has long dawned. As a household insurance consumer, nothing prevents you from going to the market once in a while to see what is being offered by the other insurers.

When you receive quotations, take good care to compare the terms and conditions item by item and line by line. Taking into account your no claim bonuses, see whether the differences in price and benefits will make changing insurers worth your while. If it does, moving your household insurance policy could be worth your while.