Are your portable possessions correctly insured?

Private Property South Africa

Home contents insurance covers your possessions while they are at home but this ceases when they leave the property. So, what’s the solution?

When it comes to protecting your most treasured possessions against loss, damage or theft, there’s nothing like a well-scoped insurance plan for peace of mind. Chances are if you own a home, then the building and everything in it are likely to be your biggest financial investment, so having building and home contents insurance to take care of any nasties that can and do go wrong from time to time is an absolute must.

In getting to grips with what each one covers, Hollard provides some helpful insights into the difference between buildings and home contents insurance.
Buildings insurance covers the bricks and mortar structure and all the fixtures attached to it, like geysers, gate motors, swimming pool, windows and so on. Home contents insurance covers all the items inside and outside the building – furniture, appliances, artworks, tech gadgets, jewellery, crockery, tools, clothing and all your gear.

This is where we come to a really important topic. According to Hollard, home contents insurance covers all your possessions while they are in your home, but the minute they leave the property, they cease to be covered under your home contents insurance. This is why it’s important to have ‘Portable Possessions’ cover – think of it as insurance for all your portable, high risk items that may travel outside your home and with you from time to time.

Your Hollard Portable Possessions cover allows you to cover your items in several ways:

  • Unspecified cover – you don’t have to specify the details and value of each item, but rather the total value of all the items. This cover is generally more expensive than specified cover.

  • Specified value – you don’t have to specify the details and value of each item, but you need to specify what category of cover it falls in, for example cell phones and tablets, or sports equipment.

  • Specified items – you have to specify the details and value of every item, including make, model and serial number. You may not realise it at first, but those seemingly small gadgets that most of us cannot live without, like your smart phone, tablet, iPod and laptop can quickly add up to R40k or more, and if stolen or accidently damaged, leave a serious dent in your budget and your demeanour. If you don’t have such valuable items correctly insured under Portable Possessions, you may find that you’re not covered for them come claims time, so it’s worth checking out the terms of your insurance.

Yes we know, reviewing your insurance policy isn’t exactly riveting reading, but it’s certainly going to get riveting when you find yourself unable to finish that annual report layout on time because your laptop was liberated along with your backpack and cell phone in a smash and grab incident – and you realise with horror it wasn’t insured and you can’t afford to replace it out of your own pocket.

Also remember to specify any modifications that would increase the replacement value of the item, for example, the addition of a solid state hard-drive instead of the standard hard drive that comes with a laptop or additional memory – if you don’t, your claim will only settle on the replacement cost of an equivalent, standard machine. If you have portable possessions cover, then your items are covered for anywhere, including inside your home, so you won’t need to ensure them under your home contents cover as well.

Keeping track of all the items you need to specify under Portable possessions cover is best done with the help of an asset register – it can be as simple as a spread sheet that documents all your items, the make, model and serial number and if you really want to be savvy about it, a photo of each item along with the serial numbers.

Remember that you need to present proof of purchase come claims time. A register helps to keep track of any new assets so that you can easily update your policy, and at the same time, ensures that you’re not paying to insure items you no longer own.

Being prepared and understanding and complying with the terms of your insurance cover is the first step to peace of mind and a smooth claims experience. So the next time Bob Marley’s “Don’t worry” pops up on your iPod or radio, you really can rest easy knowing that “every little thing is going to be alright,” no matter what life may throw at you.

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