South Africa’s 2019 crime statistics revealed more than 21.2-million crimes were reported since 2010 and 2-million of these were between April 2018 and March 2019. Marius Neethling, Underwriting manager at Santam says, “Positively, there was a decrease in property-related crimes, however, we urge South Africans to remain vigilant and to put simple methods in place to proactively protect themselves and their homes.”
New home, new protection against theft
Robberies at residential properties increased in Gauteng by 3.7% and in North West Province by 12.8%. Nationally, there were 113 089 reported cases of malicious injury to property.
- Consider burglar bars: Burglar bars and safety gates protect the entrance points of your home and act as a deterrent due to the effort of breaking through them.
- Invest in a security system: A home security system is important for your peace of mind. Consider one that allows for home automation, particularly if you travel often. This enables you to control your security system easily using your mobile device.
Protecting your home while you travel
It is common to forget to lock your doors or windows when you’re excited about an international holiday. This makes it easy for criminals to commit burglaries, a crime reported more than 71 000 this financial year.
- Keep up appearances: To make people think you’re home, you may want to consider asking a friend or neighbor to periodically pop by, check the doors, get the mail, open the curtains and switch the lights on for a while. They could even wheel out the wheelie bin on collection day to really hammer home the fact that you’re on-hand.
- Check the geyser: Have your geyser inspected by a registered plumber. A burst or leaking geyser can cause major damage and has the potential to wreck a room, particularly if the water is left untouched, so keep it in tip-top condition. Alternatively, when travelling, you can also consider switching off your geyser as hot water won’t be needed for this period. This would nullify the possibility of a geyser burst while you’re away.
Fireproof your home
More than 4 000 cases of arson were reported between April 2018 and March 2019 - protection is vital.
- Make sure you have fire extinguishers in good working order, located close to any places where fires might be expected to break out: the kitchen, near fireplaces and braai areas. Remember using water on fires caused by flammable liquids could make the fire worse.
- The use of gas for both cooking and heating has become more common. It is vital that these gas installations and connections are regularly serviced and cleaned.
Protect your home and its contents
Underinsurance remains a persistent problem; recent statistics show over 60% of South Africans underinsure their assets.
- Many people are unaware that they are underinsured: Make sure your home contents are adequately insured to reflect their current replacement values. Remember, you will need to provide reasonable proof of ownership to substantiate your claim, either in the form of a proof of purchase, valuation certificates or photographs, as specified by your insurer.
- Comply with the security requirements of your policy: If your insurance policy has a requirement that stipulates that you need burglar bars, this will be compulsory. The material circumstances to loss or damage in every situation is individually assessed so always make sure that you adhere to the requirements stipulated in your policy.
First-time homeowners or those who have recently upgraded can calculate the value of their home using the online inventory calculator or hire a qualified evaluator. Remember to reappraise the items annually.